Champions League: Bayern Munich v Real Madrid Preview

pep guardiolaBayern Munich have a one goal deficit to overcome when they host Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday (19:45 BST, live on ITV).

Pep Guardiola’s (pictured) side dominated possession in last week’s first leg, but were unable to break down a well-organised home defence. Real Madrid regularly threatened on the counter-attack and emerged as 1-0 winners thanks to Karim Benzema’s 19th minute strike.

Bayern come into the second leg on the back of a 5-2 thrashing of Werder Bremen. They have already been crowned Bundesliga champions and have accumulated 84 points from 27 wins, three draws and two defeats.

Best Match Betting Odds
8/11 Bayern Munich (BetVictor)
16/5 Draw (Bet365SkyBetLadbrokesBetVictorBoylesports)
4/1 Real Madrid (CoralWilliam Hil)

The Champions League holders progressed to the knockout stages of this year’s competition by topping Group D ahead of Manchester City, with 15 points from five wins and one defeat. They defeated Arsenal 3-1 on aggregate in the round of 16, before overcoming another English side, Manchester United, by an aggregate score of 4-2 in the quarters.

The possession-based system of Guardiola has come under scrutiny in the wake of the defeat in Madrid, with some questioning whether Bayern remain better suited to the explosive counter-attacking style of previous coach Jupp Heynckes. While this may to an extent be true, one defeat, which can still be rectified, provides scant evidence as such.

Guardiola still has a bevy of excellent attacking players at his disposal, including six who have scored eight or more goals in the Bundesliga. Aligned in a more attacking formation, they are more than capable of reversing Bayern’s deficit. It is his defence that will be causing him greater concern, particularly in light of the pace and power of the Madrid attack.

Bayern will be without the injured Holger Badstuber (knee), Thiago Alcantara (knee) and Xherdan Shaqiri (hamstring) for this match.

Real Madrid travel to Munich on the back of a 4-0 win over Osasuna that maintained their position as the closest challengers to city rivals Atletico on the top of the Primera Division table. They have 82 points from 26 wins, four draws and four defeats.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side made it through to the knockout stages of the Champions League by winning Group B, with 16 points from five wins and one draw. Bayern are their third consecutive German opponents, with Madrid having previously seen off Schalke (9-2 on aggregate) and Borussia Dortmund (3-2 on aggregate) on route to the semi-finals.

In a season in which he has otherwise gently steered his side away from the outright counter-attacking style of his predecessor Jose Mourinho, Ancelotti elected to take a pragmatic approach during the first leg. Madrid sat deep, worked hard to limit space between the lines and broke forward swiftly and efficiently when opportunities presented themselves.

It was an game plan that suited his central defenders Pepe and Sergio Ramos, both of whom had looked ill at ease against the pace and movement of Dortmund’s forwards during the second leg of the quarter final. It also made the most of the speed of Angel Di Maria, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, all of whom were heavily involved on the counter.

Ancelotti will be without the injured Alvaro Arbeloa (knee), Jese Rodriguez (knee) and Sami Khedira (knee). Gareth Bale will return to the squad after being rested during the weekend win over Osasuna.

Bayern Munich v Real Madrid Betting Tips

Last week’s first leg was the 21st meeting between the sides in European competition, with the results split into 11 wins for Bayern, eight for Madrid and two draws. Bayern defeated Madrid on penalties in the 2011-12 semi-finals following a 3-3 aggregate draw, while Madrid were also defeated by German opposition in last year’s semi-final.

Bayern possess a multitude of highly talented players and despite some minor defensive deficiencies will feel relatively confident in their ability to overturn their deficit. Guardiola chose quite a conservative line-up for the first leg and the addition of Mario Goetze, Thomas Muller, or indeed both of them, could help Bayern get the goals they need to progress.

Real Madrid will likely be content to mimic their first leg approach of defending deep while seeking opportunities to strike on the counter-attack. One away goal would require Bayern to score three times to progress and with Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo up front, Ancelotti will be optimistic about his side’s chances of getting one.

We expect to see an entertaining match with plenty of incident. Bayern are the most likely winners on the night, but it remains open to debate whether it will be enough to see them through to a third consecutive final.

  • Back Bayern Munich to win @ 8/11 with BetVictor.
  • Ronaldo spurned one excellent chance and saw two other well-struck efforts saved during the first leg. On the back of a two-goal haul against Osasuna and with space likely to open up on the counter-attack, he can be fancied to strike a decisive blow on Tuesday. Back Cristiano Ronaldo to score at anytime @ best odds of 6/4 with Coral.
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