Last week in Madrid Real weathered the attacking storm from Bayern Munich and came away with a 1-0 victory in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal matchup. Today the second leg will be held in the Allianz Arena in Munich, with the home side looking to turn the tables and come out on top. These two sides are known for their attacking minded approach and with not much being decided after the first leg tonights match will surely be an exciting one.
Bayern Munich are not used to being held scoreless like they were last week in Madrid. The attacking approach used by manager Pep Guardiola has shown to be successful, but sometimes works to the sides detriment as they can become somewhat one note and make it easy for the opposition to defend. Bayern’s philosophy is based around ball movement and getting the defense out of position with quick passes, but when a team is willing to sit back and defend with numbers, like Real Madrid did in the first leg, the Bavarians offense can become stagnant. A few of the Bayern players have come out since the first leg and talked about their surprise that Real was willing to defend so diligently because of their attacking ability, but it clearly worked to their advantage as they came away victorious.
Guardiola will have to change his tactics from the first match if he wants to guide his team to a third straight appearance in the Final of the Champions League. The manager has come under scrutiny lately for his teams poor performances in matches against big time opponents, and if his side do not turn the tables tonight against Real those questions will continue to be asked. Even though he is widely viewed as one of if not the best manager in world football Guardiola has in the past shown a stubbornness to change his tactics to adapt to the style of the other team. Tonights match will be a good measuring stick for just how well coached and tough minded this Bayern Munich side really are.
On the other side of the tie Real Madrid come into the match with a great deal of confidence after winning on their home ground 1-0. They also bring another huge advantage into Munich as one of their stars Gareth Bale is now fully healthy, he was suffering with flu like symptoms in the last match. There are, however, questions about whether or not Bale and fellow superstar Cristiano Ronaldo should both start. Conventional wisdom would say that of course the two stars should start, but in tonights match Real will be forced to defend quite a bit and the two are very much attacking minded and do not offer much in the way of defensive cover. So starting one of them on the bench, likely Bale, and having the luxury of bringing them on fresh if they are in need of a goal could be the way manager Carlo Ancelotti decides to play it.
All the talk and speculation will come to an end tonight as Bayern Munich will look to turn the tables on Real Madrid and try to win in convincing fashion. With the Bavarians in need of goals it looks to be an offensive display, however if Real does score it will put the home side in danger as Real will then have the advantage of any of their goals being away goals. However the match plays out it will surely be a night to remember as two of European football’s biggest names, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, look to make it to the final of the Champions League.
Commentary By Max Petkevicius