Preview: Tonight two of the biggest names in European football will play one of the ugliest fixture in the history of European football. Bayern and Real Madrid, two giants in their respective countries have met each other in this competition numerous times and more often than not, it has turned out to be quite ugly. From the 70s, when Bayern rolled out 3 successive European title, widely regarded as one of the greatest sides to play
football, to the late 2000s when die Roten eliminated Real in another fiery encounter. This fixture has seen a lot of red cards, stomps, punches and handbags at times. Earlier in 2000s the glacticos eliminated Bayern narrowly via a Zinedine Zidane strike. I quite clearly remember Roberto Carlos punching a Bayern player in the face (I think it was Lizarazu). Bayern got the better of them in 2007 in an extremely heated affair, when they progressed on away goals. Roy Makaay scored the fastest goal in CL history and Van Bommel made the most provocative celebration in CL history.
Both these teams haven’t tasted European glory for more than a decade, even though Real still remain the most successful club in Europe with 9 trophies and Bayern considered an elite club as well with 4 trophies. Both clubs have record league titles to their names in their respective homelands, hence, their fans judge the season on European success more than anything else. Real Madrid are in control of their own destiny in the league, with a 4 point cushion at the top against European Champions Barcelona. While Bayern have all but dusted their hands off with any hopes of league title. Dortmund hold an 8 point lead on them with 3 games to go. Bayern are coming from a demoralizing draw against a lowly Mainz team, while Real will arrive in Munich with a hard fought victory against Gijon.
Team News: No major injuries for either team for tonight’s game, however, some major concerns for Bayern with possible suspensions for the 2nd leg. 5 of the regular first team players are a yellow card away from suspension, these include, Boateng, Alaba, Gustavo, Muller and Kroos. Real have no worries on this front with none of their players in danger of suspension. This fixture may be won or lost in the central midfield, hence, I am expecting Heynckes to opt for both Kroos and Bastian to start instead of Muller behind the striker. To be honest, Muller hasn’t had the best of runs in recent games, so he could use some time on the bench. He could be a good impact player and with him in danger of a suspension, it may be wise to keep him reserved for the return leg, in case Kroos picks up a booking.
Key Battle: Bastian vs Alonso
Two of the top passers in European and indeed world football, will go head to head in this fixture. Both prefer dictating the tempo of the game from deep lying positions and both have fantastic range of passes. Their off the ball movement will be key in this fixture and each could single-handedly determine the outcome of this fixture.
Stats Zone: (www.whoscored.com)
Prediction: This being one of the most fierce rivalry among two clubs from different countries, promises to be a very exciting affair. Both these teams play attacking, free-flowing football and have scored plenty of goals this season. However, this may turn out to be a very cagey affair. Neither team will want to concede early and risk losing the tie in the first leg. Bayern can match Real in every area of the pitch, the only weakness I suspect in this current squad is the centre of defense. Boateng is playing his first season in Munich and has had some communication problems with the rest of the back 4. I am expecting this to be a draw (possibly 0-0) to favor Real in the return leg at home.
Bayern Coach Heynckes was in charge of the Spanish giants when they ended their 30 year drought for European glory in the late 90s. Although it came at a cost of finishing 4th in the league, conceding the title to newly emerging Barcelona. He was let go at the end of the season despite bringing European success.
- Real Madrid have won 9 of their last 10 matches in UEFA Champions League.
- Real Madrid have been winning at both half time and full time in 7 of their last 9 matches in UEFA Champions League
- Real Madrid have scored at least 3 goals in 5 of their last 6 matches in UEFA Champions League.
- Bayern Munich have been winning at both half time and full time in 5 of their last 7 matches in UEFA Champions League.
- Bayern Munich have kept a clean sheet in their last 3 matches in UEFA Champions League.
- Bayern Munich have won their last 3 matches in UEFA Champions League.
- There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 5 of Real Madrid’s last 6 games in UEFA Champions League.
- Bayern Munich are undefeated in their last 7 home matches against Real Madrid in all competitions.