This is it! It is do or die for Bayern Munich when they host Spanish giants Real Madrid in the return leg of the Champions League semi finals with hopes to overcome the advantage of Real Madrid’s 1-0 win in the first leg at Madrid and turn it to their favor and advance into their third consecutive final.
Bayern München vs Real Madrid
Champions League Semi Final 2nd Leg
18:45 GMT – Tues, April 29, 2014 Allianz Arena, Munich
There is no room for a slump, no second chances, this IS the chance for either Bayern to prove why they are the world’s best team and continue their title defense or for Real Madrid to show why their first leg win wasn’t just a coincidence or a strike of luck.
Bayern will enter this match with an attacking minded approach, maybe more attacking than usual as they will need at least 2 goals in order to advance into the final without the need to go into extra time. Pep Guardiola will rely on his side’s possession domination style and work on scoring an early goal in order to put fear in the Madrid camp and then build up for another goal to strengthen their position. It won’t be an easy task for the Bavarians to attack and high press without facing the threat of the Madrid counter attacks. Therefore, Guardiola should’ve learned by now to find the right balance to avoid what happened in Madrid as Karim Benzema put Madrid in the lead from their first real attack, which resulted from a fast counter.
Speculation surrounds the lineup that Pep will be fielding on Tuesday night, will he bench Rafinha and play with Lahm as right back? Will Martinez start in center midfield? Will Müller start? Many questions storm the heads of Bayern supporters trying to read the right starting 11 for Bayern, but if there’s someone that really knows what the right lineup it’ll be only Pep the perfectionist himself and nobody else.
As for the visitors Real Madrid, they will most probably spend the opening first 10 to 15 minutes of the game trying to contain the Bayern enthusiasm that will be influenced by a 71,000 full-packed Allianz Arena crowd. Madrid will also look out to sting from the least of chances and score an away goal that might be their ticket to the final in Lisbon. Spectators expect Carlo Ancelotti to start with both Cristiano and Bale this time, meaning that there will be more threat on the Bayern defense and specially from counter attacks.
Arjen Robben: Arjen was tireless in the first leg, he seemed to not give up and kept trying to get that away goal until the last minute, however this time around he will need the support of his teammates in order to help them turn it around.
Bastian Schweinsteiger: Despite him being substituted in the 2nd half against Madrid, Basti showed a lot of heart and leadership. He will be very important to motivate the team and be the pivot in midfield for the Bavarians.
Franck Ribery: After his poor display in the first leg, all eyes will be on the player who was battling for the Ballon d’Or earlier this year. But now he has to put it all behind his back and play for his team and show why he was nominated for that honor.
Pepe: We will be expecting Madrid to defend throughout the pressure that Bayern will produce in order to overcome the first leg result. Pepe and Ramos will be in the center of action, and an errorless display will be expected from them if they want to make the final.
Cristiano Ronaldo: Coming back from an injury, in the first leg Ronaldo wasn’t as good as he usually is. He missed a sitter that could’ve decided the match and in Munich the team will rely on him as the match decider that he usually is.
Iker Casillas: The captain remains as the first goalie in Champions League despite Diego Lopez playing in La Liga all the time. With Madrid facing Bayern at their home, it will be expected for Bayern to attack, attack and attack. Casillas will be very vital to keep his team in the tournament.
Neuer – Lahm (C), Boateng, Dante, Alaba – Schweinsteiger, Martinez, Robben, Kroos, Ribery – Mandzukic
Casillas (C) – Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos , Coentrao – Alonso, Di Maria, Modric, Bale, Ronaldo – Benzema