Real Madrid face Bayern Munich for final ticket

This will be a real humdinger of a match. Bayern are poised to reach the final which will take place at their home stadium, Allianz Arena and Real Madrid want to win the ‘decima’ – tenth Champions League trophy. Bayern were finalists in 2010, and lost to Inter Milan at the Santiago Bernebeu, venue of the return leg next Wednesday.

The man that orchestrated the Inter victory, Jose Mourinho, is now the Real coach and he is chasing a personal record – the first man to win the Champions League with three different clubs. The ‘Special One’ has already won with Porto and Inter Milan.

But in Bayern, they have a worthy adversary. One given is that both sides are set up to play positively. What is in contention is whether stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Mesut Ozil and Kaka will perform for Madrid while Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Gomez will be itching to test their mettle against the better seeded side.

Strategy

Madrid will play a fluid 4-2-1-2-1, where Ronaldo is given free rein on the pitch, while Bayern will play a straight forward 4-3-3. Real have conceded in four of their last five consecutive matches but Bayern have scored a paltry six goals in their last five matches in the league and Europe and now lag behind Borussia Dortmund by eight points in the Bundesliga. Madrid lead the La Liga with four points over Barcelona, whom they play in the ‘Classico’ on Saturday, a match which may make or mar Mourinho’s season.

Head to head

Bayern and Madrid have met 18 times in Europe’s elite club competition; with Bayern having the upper hand in 10.

Former Madrid coach, Jupp Heynckes, will be heartened by the fact that three of Bayern’s ten victories against Madrid have come in semi-final ties.

The last time Madrid won the title in 2000, they beat Bayern on the way to the final where they beat Valencia. Bayern also knocked out Madrid at this stage on the way to their 1976 and 2001 trophy wins. So there it is – the extra motivation!

Jide Alaka

Jide, formerly a professional footballer, is now a sports writer.

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