Only four days after the Madrid derby, Zidane’s squad will be gearing up for a champions league duel worthy of the final, taking on Bayern Munich. The first leg takes place in Munich and Real Madrid will be looking to secure a good result to bring back to the Bernabeau. The team put in a solid performance over the weekend, if not for Jan Oblak’s impressive saves against two of Benzema’s shots and a goal-line headed clearance from Stefan Savic, the game may have been out of Atléti’s reach. Lessons should be taken from Zidane and his men after the Atlético performance and corrected against Bayern. Zidane set the team up in a defensive 4-4-2 too early in the match, about 12 minutes from time thus conceding control and allowing Atletico to gain momentum. Madrid lost concentration and was unable to absorb the pressure Atléti put on them at the final stages, ultimately conceding an 85th-minute equalizer.
If Pepe was still on the field, the game may have ended 1-0. Madrid will be without the Portuguese power house as he will be sidelined for at least a month with broken ribs after a collision with Toni Kroos. Varane also remains on the sideline, likely for another 3- 4 weeks, with a hamstring injury. It will be a big test for Nacho, who has come of age this season, arguably the most improved player. His recent performances have been solid, and he has been a fixture in the Spanish National team squad since Julen Lopetegui’s inception. He has played and was kept by Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Rafa Benitez, Zinedine Zidane, Del Bosque, and Julen Lopetegui ; a list of coaches that certainly know quality. It will be up to Nacho and Ramos to form a formidable pair if Madrid are to get through the tie. Sergio Ramos in particular will need to be disciplined as he is one yellow card away from suspension and missing the return leg at the Bernabeau.
Bayern come into this first match feeling confident after thrashing Borussia Dortmund 4-1 over the weekend. Ancelotti has built his team around a 4-2-3-1 formation. The key relies in the performance of his midfield three, Xabi Alonso & Arturo Vidal providing the defensive stability with Thiago given a bit more freedom to connect and roam with the attack. Thiago, now 26-years-old, is beginning to hit his full potential and has become a key player in Ancelotti’s system. Casemiro will likely be tasked with keeping the Spanish playmaker quiet. On the flanks, Bayern have Robben and Ribery who are rolling back the years, both are putting in top performances, with Robben scoring his classic left-footed in swinger goal over the weekend. Leading the line will likely be Robert Lewandowski, despite a shoulder injury, reports are that he will play. The striker has been formidable against Madrid in the past, scoring 4 goals for Dortmund back in in the 2013 semi-final tie against Madrid. Zidane may use Bayern’s recent loss against Hoffenheim on April 4th to help build his game-plan. There are questions at the back for Bayern, as they often leave spaces behind them which Madrid can exploit with the likes of Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo. The season ending injury to Mats Hummels will affect the Bavarians quality in the backline. Like Madrid, they are losing a world-class defender. For the BBC to have success in this game, they should look to attack and draw-out Bayern’s center-backs.
The series is deadlocked as Bayern Munich and Real Madrid are level in their European Cup/Champions League knockout ties, each team has progressed 5 times. Real Madrid will be hoping they can put together a similar performance to the semi-final tie in 2014 which saw them run out as 4-0 winners in Germany, which was Bayern Munich’s last home loss in the Champions League. Ramos and Ronaldo each had two goals that day, and will have good memories of their last visit. Expect to see Bayern Munich dominate possession, they have averaged 70% possession, the highest ratio in the Champions League this season. Madrid will look to use that in their favor and sit in a low block looking to break out on the counter, making Gareth Bale, Toni Kroos, and Luke Modrić crucial players within Zidane’s set-up. The midfield battle in this encounter will be mouth-watering and definitely something not to miss.
How to watch Bayern vs Real Madrid
Kick-off time: 20:45 CET, 02:45pm EST.
Venue: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-2 Real Madrid
Available streaming: FOX Sports 2GO (USA), Fubo.TV (EVERY Real Madrid game with a high-quality and legal stream, click here to sign up and benefit from a huge offer for new members and Managing Madrid readers).
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.
Projected Line Ups:
Real Madrid: Keylor Navas; Dani Carvajal; Nacho; Marcelo; Sergio Ramos; Casemiro; Toni Kroos; Luka Modric; Gareth Bale; Karim Benzema; Cristiano Ronaldo
Bayern Munich: Manuel Neur; Lahm; Boateng; Javi Martinez; Alaba; Xabi Alonso; Vidal; Thiago; Robben; Lewandowski; Ribery
|Goal Scorers (3)
|Goal Scorers (3)
|CR7, Ramos; Higuaín
|Benz, CR7, Asensio; Pjanic
|2-1 (RM win extra time)
|CR7, Ramos; Dybala
|CR7; Higuaín, Dybala
|-CR7x2, Bale, Morata; Higuain, Dybala
|Benz; Higuaín, Mandzukic
|2-2 (RM win on pk's 4-3)
|CR7, Ramos; Dybala x2
|CR7 x2, Morata; Mandzukic
Who will win?
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