On Wednesday night, Real Madrid recorded a 2-1 win at Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final first leg. The win could prove crucial, but it was by no means an easy one. In fact, Bayern would have won the game with better finishing and a touch more luck in the final third.
Failed to create much
Apart from the two goals, the Spanish side failed to create many other goalscoring opportunities. On another night, the result could have been a very different one to the positive one they achieved at the Allianz Arena.
Real Madrid’s talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo endured a very rare quiet night. The 33-year-old showed that he is human after all. The veteran Portuguese star had broken a Champions League record last time out against Juventus, by becoming the first player ever to score in ten consecutive games in the competition.
However, in Munich, he was like the invisible man apart from a disallowed goal in the 71st minute. Wednesday’s game shows what effect that a quiet game from Ronaldo has on his team. No doubt Ronaldo is the most influential player in that Madrid attack, so when he has an off-night his teammates are rather thrown.
Allowed Bayern chances
I have to be honest I was surprised at the number of opportunities the home side had against the European champions. The German giants will cause any team problems at the Allianz Arena, but they failed to make the chances count.
The likes of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane are very good defenders. However, Bayern were just not as ruthless as the visitors were in front of goal. If Los Blancos come up against Liverpool in the final, then the likes of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane will not be as generous.
The European champions are not having a great season in La Liga, but their experience and know how in the Champions League has seen them progress this far in the competition.
It was not a rare game this season where the team from the Spanish capital have given the opposition so many chances to score. The fact that the European champions in La Liga are third place in the Spanish top-flight table, having conceded more goals than eighth-place Getafe tells you that they are not as solid in defence as previous seasons.
Second favourites to win the Champions League
Despite being European champions, Real Madrid are second favourites to win the Champions League at odds of 11/10 behind Liverpool.
However, those odds are probably because the Merseysiders are in a far stronger position in their tie to head through to the final than Zidane’s men. If the two teams make it into the final in Kiev, the Spaniards will be favourites to win the trophy.
Real Madrid have the sort of European pedigree and experience that money cannot buy. Los Blancos have won the trophy in the last two seasons. The occasion or the opposition will certainly not faze their players.
However, Liverpool are currently the only unbeaten team left in the competition, while also being the top scorers in Europe’s elite competition. They would certainly represent a major challenge for the Spanish giants.
If Real Madrid are to win the Champions League then they will have to lift their game for the second leg of their tie with Bayern on Tuesday night. If they play as they did against Juventus in their last European home game, then they could face an embarrassing exit considering the amount of Bayern’s key players currently sidelined.
I expect Zinedine Zidane’s team to lift their game for Tuesday’s game and make it through to the Champions League final. The Spanish giants will know that they cannot rely solely on their Champions League know how to win the trophy this season.
Will Real Madrid progress to the Champions League final?
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