Real Madrid is looking to add another chapter to its Champions League legacy. Los Blancos are the most decorated team in European history with an incredible 12 titles since the competition began in the mid-1950s. They have won three of the last four titles and are looking to make it four of five this year.
Bayern Munich has won five Champions League titles, and they are the last club from a league other than La Liga to win it all. It feels like forever at this point, but five years ago Bayern was the top team in Europe. Since that point there have been some near misses, and Spanish clubs have given them fits. They have been eliminated by Spanish clubs in each of the past four years, with Real Madrid doing the deed twice.
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Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid
Date and Time: April 25, 2018, 2:45 p.m. ET
Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Television Coverage: FS1
Betting Line: Bayern Munich -0.5, O/U 3
How they got here
These two powerhouses have followed similar paths to reach the Champions League Semifinals. Both Bayern Munich and Real Madrid finished runners-up in their groups before the knockout rounds got underway. While Bayern wasn’t punished by this, Real was by the luck of the draw. Bayern drew Besiktas, while Real drew Paris Saint-Germain, yet both clubs were able to easily advance.
Things changed in the quarterfinals. Bayern again had a nicer draw, facing Sevilla while Real had to deal with Juventus, but both teams had their share of issues. Each side won the first game on the road, yet got an unexpected scare at home. For Real Madrid, it almost proved fatal as Juventus almost forced an extra frame.
There is one person listed on the injury report for Real Madrid. Center back Nacho Fernandez has been out since the beginning of the month and will not be able to play in this match either. His absence will hurt Real Madrid’s depth in central defense.
The injury news is much worse on the side of Bayern Munich. Bayern got some bad news earlier in the week when it was announced that midfielder Arturo Vidal would be out for the rest of the season after re-injuring his knee. Vidal is one of the team’s leaders and not having him for this match is huge.
Additionally, Bayern will not have Manuel Neuer and Kingsley Coman. Both players have been out for months, so not having them is nothing major at this point. Midfielder Fabian Benko may or may not be available.
What to watch for
Cristiano Ronaldo is having a phenomenal campaign in the Champions League. Ronaldo has showed us why he is still the best forward in the world with some great performances, and he has already won the goal scoring battle this year. He has found the back of the net an incredible 15 times in 10 Champions League matches and has a seven-goal lead on the next closest player.
Ronaldo was the difference maker when these teams met last season too. He scored five times in the clubs’ quarterfinal tie, almost single-handedly pushing Real Madrid through to the semifinals. No matter who is around him, he always finds a way to make a difference and Bayern has to find a way to slow him down.
Champions League Semifinals Free Picks
Sven Ulreich has been great in relief of Neuer this season. His play has helped lead Bayern Munich to its sixth straight Bundesliga title, and he has racked up 11 clean sheets in league play. Ulreich will come up big as Bayern Munich notch a draw and look to hold in the Bernabeu.
Champions League Semifinals Prediction: Bayern Munich 1, Real Madrid 1
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