Spanish giants Real Madrid hammered European champions Bayern Munich 4-0 at the Allianz Arena in the Champions League semi-final second leg, to win their tie 5-0 on aggregate.
Real were just too good for the Bavarians, who looked lacklustre.
Pace and power
Carlo Ancelotti’s side just had too much pace and power for Pep Guardiola’s European champions.
However, ironically Real’s first two goals came from set-pieces from the head of unlikely source Sergio Ramos.
The third goal did however show Real’s pace and power, as Gareth Bale strode forward and laid the ball off to Cristiano Ronaldo for an easy finish.
Every time Real came forward they looked dangerous with Bale, Ronaldo and Karim Benzema looking dangerous. The Spanish side’s ability to counter-attack on their hosts was outstanding and the likes of Ronaldo and Bale are perfect to play a counter-attacking style of play.
On the other hand the home side looked very pedestrian going forward. At their best Bayern’s attack involve quick, precise passing, but in last night’s game the European champions build-up play was just not quick enough to cause their Spanish opponents any problems at the back.
Pep Guardiola is without doubt a top boss, but since he joined Bayern the European champions have not moved forward and some would claim they have moved backwards. The club from Bavaria were European champions last season and it was hard to argue with their tag of best team in Europe.
Guardiola is attempting to change the culture at Bayern to a more Latin way, which has worked well in the Bundesliga, but unfortunately Bayern’s shortcomings were ruthlessly exposed by the vibrant Real attack.
Just like in the first leg, the German side had far more possession, but possession is no good when there is absolutely no cutting edge to go with it. Against most teams Bayern would find a breakthrough, but Real were outstanding in defence, which has not always been the case for the Spaniards in the competition in recent years.
Guardiola has not completely failed at Bayern this season, but everybody connected with the Bavarian club will be disappointed by the 5-0 aggregate defeat against the Spanish champions. Guardiola has tried to adapt his tactics in recent months, but the two games against Real showed that the Catalan is still attempting to instil his ideas into his team.
He has been and will most likely be criticised for his team’s performances against Real. However, Guardiola still has to be regarded as one of the top bosses in European football. The former-Barcelona midfielder will be back and will adapt his team, without losing his football philosophy.
Real Madrid made it into the last four of the Champions League for four consecutive seasons. However, this season will be the first time that Los Blancos has made it to the Champions League final since 2002, when they last claimed the trophy.
That wait has been made worse for Madridista’s by arch-rivals Barcelona having so much success in the competition in the last decade. Real now have a chance to claim la decima (their tenth European cup), next month in Lisbon.
Last season the balance of power in European football seemed to shift to Germany, after Bayern Munich thumped Barcelona and Dortmund defeated Real Madrid in the semi-finals to get to the Champions League final.
Bayern were expected to have a period of dominance in European football, but this season the Champions League final could be contested by two teams from Spain. In fact history could be made if Atletico Madrid overcome Chelsea in tonight’s clash, as two teams from the same city have never met in a European cup final.
Real Madrid has spent a lot of money assembling a squad capable of competing at home and abroad. They possess the two most expensive players in the world in Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, Real have spent big money in the past and not achieved European success, so Real boss Carlo Ancelotti deserves credit, if the team from the Spanish capital claim the trophy. The Italian has been linked with the managerial vacancy at Manchester United.
It would be difficult for Real to prise the former-Chelsea boss away from Madrid, especially if Los Blancos finish the season with the treble of La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League. United have to be realistic about their targets and unless Real part-company with Ancelotti, he looks unlikely to be heading to Old Trafford this summer.
Real Madrid beating the European champions with such ease shows what a force they are. However, they face a challenge in the final, whether they face Chelsea or neighbours Atletico.
Chelsea’s former-Real boss Jose Mourinho seems to be a master of counteracting teams with fluent attacks, just ask Liverpool. His Chelsea side is set up to play on the counter-attack, so Real would not have the same space against the Blues as they did against Bayern.
Atletico Madrid have very much lived in the shadows of their city rivals Real in recent years, until this season that is. Diego Simeone’s side have taken four points off Los Blancos in La Liga and are currently leading the table with just a few games to remaining.
Neither opposition will be a pushover in the final, but after last night’s display I do not think many people will be writing off Real’s hopes of claiming their tenth European cup.
Will Real Madrid now go on to win the Champions League?