Game in a sentence

A classic European tie sees Bayern Munich come from 2-0 down to win on penalties, knocking out Real Madrid and booking a spot in the final at home on May 19th.

Observations

  • It wasn’t going to be easy to live up to Tuesday’s semi final but for overall entertainment and talking points this game came very close.
  • As so often in these matches memories will shift to the penalty shootout and what a dramatic one it was. Kicking first Bayern Munich led 1-0 through the magnificent David Alaba who at 19 showed remarkable composure.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo, scorer of two early goals in the first half and of 25 straight penalties, then stepped up and saw his effort brilliantly saved by Manuel Neuer. Memories of the 2008 Champions League final returned for Ronaldo. Mario Gomez made it 2-0 and when Neuer denied Kaka it appeared all over. After all, no way a German team can surrender a two goal lead in a penalty shootout, right?
  • Toni Kroos missed, Xabi Alonso scored and Philipp Lahm missed and suddenly Real were back in it as two German internationals failed to score from the spot. Sergio Ramos had the chance to gain back the momentum but blazed over the bar, leaving it at 2-1.
  • Bastian Schweinsteiger, the face of German football, who’d played such a massive part in bringing Bayern back into the game, then stepped up and placed the ball past Iker Casillas to send Bayern into the final. It was a fitting moment for Germany’s best player of this era and one he deserved after struggling with injuries this season.
  • The goal put an end to all of the Jose Mourinho talk, chatter of records, old enemies and supposed special men. Instead, those covering the final will have to work a little harder to preview this most unexpected mathup, which will surely be a tasty one, without the lazy cliches that would have come with other characters involved.
  • Remarkably, Real and Barcelona are not in Munich after both teams, in back-to-back days, gave up 2-0 leads at home. Take that in, folks. You won’t see that very often. Like Barcelona on Tuesday, Real will be stunned at how they let it slip away.
  • The first half was as good as any half you will have seen all season. Incredibly wide open, both of these European giants went toe-to-toe with reckless abandon almost forgetting what was on the line for the winner.
  • Real Madrid took the lead after just five minutes and were more than just a little fortunate. Left back David Alaba was adjudged to handle the ball when Angel Di Maria’s volley hit his hand and Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up to hit home his 25th consecutive penalty.
  • Less than 10 minutes later, and still inside 15 minutes, Real doubled their lead when Bayern lost the ball inside their own half and the home side immediately punished them, Mesut Ozil once again putting through a fantastic ball for Ronaldo to score comfortably passed Manuel Neuer. It was a terrible goal to concede for the Germans as they’d allowed Real’s best player far too much space, but it’s important to point out Marcelo’s presence on the left was enough to pull Philipp Lahm out and give Ronaldo just enough space to punish the visitors.
  • At 2-0, Real failed to close the game up and were far too open enabling Bayern’s midfield three, led by the superb Toni Kroos, to take over the game. Arjen Robben and Mario Gomez both missed chances at 2-0 but that lead soon narrowed on 34 minutes when Kroos played in Gomez, who was rugby tackled by Pepe in the box. Unlike at the other end, this was a clear penalty and former Madrid man Arjen Robben calmly stepped up to level the tie 3-3 on aggregate.
  • The second half had no chance living up to the first and was a far more tense affair after the players had 15 minutes with their managers to calm down. By the 47th minute it was clear that extra time was on the cards and only a moment of brilliance or a mistake could prevent it from going to penalties. Bayern definitely had the best of the second half and should have booked their place in the final after 85 minutes when Gomez was all alone inside his office but took too long to finish the best moment of the second half.
  • Instead it was penalties that was left to decide this match. Remarkably, Bayern progressed through the shootout without using their penalty taker (Robben) who also scored from the spot in the match. That may be a first. Remember, Xabi Alonso missed his penalty for Liverpool in 2005.  It is not the Champions League but @jonoblain on twitter informs me: Kassoum Ouedraogo scored and then did not take in Burk. Faso’s 1998 ANC quarter v Tunisia (and it ended 8-7!)
  • Bayern certainly were the story in this game for me, although Jose Mourinho will of course dominate many of the headlines. I have to say there was something quite different about this Jose Mourinho team in Europe. The ‘Special One’ in the past has almost had such an influence on the discipline and structure of his Porto, Chelsea and Inter teams you’d think he was actually controlling them on the sidelines like a video game player. This Real is different. Careless in possession, slow to adapt to vital situations and wildly spontaneous I am sure they are a team Mourinho hates to love. They got by on individual brilliance early in the game but lack of cohesion over two legs cost them their place in the final.

Six Super Stats

  • Bayern become the first club to play the European Cup final on their home ground since AS Roma in 1984 (1-1, lost 2-4 penalties vs Liverpool).
  • Bayern can become the 3rd team to win the final in their own stadium, following Real Madrid in 1957 and Internazionale in 1965.
  • Bayern have now reached the final of this competition 9 times (4 wins). Only AC Milan (11) and Real Madrid (12) have played more finals in the competition, while Liverpool (5), Milan (7) and Real (9) have won the competition more often. Ajax and FC Barcelona are also on four.
  • Real Madrid had not been involved in a penalty shootout in European competition since knocking out Juventus in the second round of the 1986/1987 Champions Cup.Arjen Robben has now scored his last 8 CL goals in the KO phase.
  • Ronaldo scored twice to reach 10 CL goals this season and 38th overall, equal to Chelsea’s Didier Drogba.
  • Only once in his professional career, Cristiano Ronaldo needed fewer minutes to score 1-0 and 2-0 than the 14 he needed today. He scored 1-0 and 2-0 in 13 minutes for Manchester United when facing Portsmouth on 30 Jan 2008.

Three Stars

  1. Bastian Schweinsteiger
  2. Toni Kroos
  3. David Alaba

Match Stats

Kristian Jack