Game in a sentence
An enthralling contest in Munich sees the home side gain a slight advantage in the first leg of this Champions League semi final and although many will feel Madrid should still progress, the German giants gave further evidence as to why they should not be written off.
- Bayern Munich thoroughly deserved to win this game. Despite starting quite slowly, they dominated for long stretches of this game and although they had to wait until the 89th minute they were able to find a crucial second goal that gives them an advantage into next week’s second leg.
- We have to remember the threat Madrid brought with them in this game and Bayern handled them extremely well. Very few teams frustrate Real, and Cristiano Ronaldo for that matter, the way they did and they deserve a tremendous amount of credit for this win.
- Real Madrid were far from their best and showed very little ambition in this game, particularly when the game was at 1-1. Despite this, they were still two minutes away from heading home satisfied after scoring a classic counter attack goal in the second half when Mesut Ozil bundled home the ball after Cristiano Ronaldo almost scored himself. The goal came from a free kick at the other end and the moment Madrid gathered possession their front four did the rest.
- It was a cruel time to concede for Bayern but they responded to conceding that goal far better than Real did in the first half and managed to get Mario Gomez involved, which usually always means a goal. The German striker had three great chances to score in the last 15 minutes and on the third one he grabbed his 40th goal of the season when the excellent Phillipp Lahm sent in a great cross for him to get on the end of it.
- Toni Kroos is a supremely intelligent footballer. Deployed in the hole behind Gomez for the first hour, he did exactly what that role requires him to do so, although it is often neglected by many in that position. Kroos never drifted too far away from Luis Gustavo and Bastian Schweinsteiger, who operated in slightly deeper midfield roles. He also connected well with his wide players, who deserve credit also for being married to their white lines and allowing the other three to do what they do best centrally. Occasionally, Robben, in particular, and Ribery do cut in and are very difficult to defend, allowing the full backs to advance.
- Kroos was the sole reason for Bayern taking over the game between the 10th and 45th minute after Real’s bright start in the first 10 minutes. Kroos was tracked deep by Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira, while also watching Schweinsteiger’s runs, and Real spent the rest of the half looking like two teams as their seven defensive players were far too disconnected from their front four.
- Alonso and Khedira were very disappointing, tackled poorly and gave away the ball too much. Alonso did make some key defensive stops but once again Khedira looked like a player who isn’t good enough to play at this level for Real Madrid.
- Sergio Ramos also had a poor game. On 15 minutes, Franck Ribery attacked him and got by the Spanish international before falling to the ground rather easily after Ramos pulled his shirt. Bayern wanted a penalty; Real wanted a yellow for a dive. Referee Howard Webb, correctly, did neither and although Ramos was furious with the Frenchman it was another example of his shaky nature and constant need to always pull an opponent’s shirt.
- Two minutes later, the pair were involved again and this time Ribery won the battle. From a corner, Kroos put in a superb, flat delivery that made it very difficult for the defenders to see the ball and Ramos, Pepe and Xabi Alonso all watched the ball as it bounced conveniently to Ribery who smashed the home side ahead.
- It was another example of a Spanish team struggling to defend from set pieces. In fact, Madrid were uncomfortable defending throughout this game and that is something Bayern will certainly be targeting in the second leg.
- Most will feel Real will still be big favourites to progress to the final on May 19th after scoring an away goal but if you watched this game closely you will be aware that there is a real chance that Bayern can be in that final in Munich. Tonight they were organised and connected superbly between each other, thanks in part to their brilliant midfielders.
- Toni Kroos
- Luis Gustavo
- Philipp Lahm