The first leg of Real Madrid’s tie against Bayern Munich was Mission Accomplished for the Spanish giants. Real Madrid would have settled for a draw, but a win was what they were after and they got just that.
Although Bayern Munich lost 2-1, they can’t be too upset with how they played. They got the better of the chances, controlled possession, and outshot Real Madrid on the day. Another performance like that might lead to the club advancing, but now the venue has switched. Doing the same thing in the Bernabeu will be a challenge.
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Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich
Date and Time: May 1, 2018, 2:45 p.m. ET
Location: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain
Television Coverage: FS1
Betting Line: Real Madrid PK and -0.5, O/U 3.5
Real Madrid responded nicely after allowing the opening goal in Wednesday’s match. Joshua Kimmich put the hosts ahead midway through the first half, but Real was able to effectively counterattack and eventually punched through. After a prolonged possession, a ball squirted out of the box and Marcelo was able to navigate it home through a wall of traffic. The score came right before halftime and took the wind out of the crowd’s sails.
To start the second half, Bayern was on the attack. They were getting good pressure on Real, but then there was a major blunder at the back. Rafinha mishandled a ball and then rather than boot it out of bounds, he tried to pass it to his teammate. Instead, he gave the ball to Marco Asensio, setting off a two-on-one for Real Madrid. Asensio was able to put the ball past Sven Ulreich, giving Real Madrid the win.
Heading into Wednesday’s match, Bayern Munich was already short-handed. Arturo Vidal was recently ruled out for the season, and the team did not have David Alaba either. The list became even longer after this match was over. Arjen Robben and Jerome Boateng both succumbed to injuries in the first half and had to be taken off the pitch. Javi Martinez was also injured in the second half, furthering the problem for Bayern.
Coming into the second leg, Robben seems unlikely to play. However, the club is more optimistic about their other members. Boateng and Martinez are considered questionable, and the team is hopeful that Alaba will be able to return. Rafinha was starting in place of Alaba, so having the starter back in the line-up will certainly help matters.
There are injury concerns for Real Madrid as well. Nacho has been out for a month with an injury, and two others picked up knocks against Bayern Munich. Isco suffered a slight injury, but he is expected to be fine for the second match. However, Dani Carvajal has already been ruled out for the next two weeks. That raises the question of who will play right back, as Carvajal and Nacho split time at the position.
What to watch for
Franck Ribery did not have a good outing in the first leg. Ribery squandered a number of quality chances. He was able to get open and create good opportunities, but the finishing left a lot to be desired. There were times he held onto the ball for too long and other times were a bad touch failed him. He is going to need to be on his game in the second leg with Bayern needing two goals.
Champions League Semifinals Free Picks
Bayern has too many injuries for me to feel confident in them. Even though Real Madrid hasn’t been as great as it looks, especially at the back, there are less concerns with them. The draw looks like a good option at this price.
Champions League Semifinals Prediction: Bayern Munich 1, Real Madrid 1