Bayern Munich’s fortress was breached yet again by Real Madrid as they succumbed to a 1-2 loss at the Allianz Arena.
Final Score: Bayern Munich 1-2 Real Madrid
Scorers: Bayern Munich – Kimmich 28′; Real Madrid – Marcelo 44′, Asensio 57′
Allianz Arena has been an absolute fortress for Die Roten, whose dominant stature at their home in Munich has withered many-a-sides. But if there’s one side that has had no quandaries in breaching the Bavarian keep, it is Los Blancos.
The first leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinals between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid was the 25th game to be played between the two sides, making it the most played fixture in the history of European competitions.
Real Madrid have really taken a liking to Bayern as they recorded their sixth-consecutive victory against the Bundesliga winners in a streak that dates back to April 2014.
It was by no means the best of performances for the Galacticos as Bayern dominated the majority of the match but the defending and record champions were clinical enough to seal the deal on the night.
Bayern managed to do several things properly. Cristiano Ronaldo was rendered ineffective throughout the game and Franck Ribery played out of his skins and was the best player on the pitch today. But it just wasn’t enough.
So without much further ado, let us look at the three things that went against Bayern in the game.
#3 Injuries early on in the game
It’s just fair to say that Bayern Munich have not had their share of luck when it comes to player fitness. From losing Manuel Neuer for most of the season to missing David Alaba and Kingsley Coman for this game due to the duo nursing thigh and ankle injuries respectively, the Bavarians were anyway short of a full-strength squad to pick from for this tie.
Things just went from bad to worse in the game, as veteran winger Arjen Robben was made to exit the game with what looked to be a foot injury in as early as the eighth minute of the game.
Lady luck wasn’t satisfied done yet as she cursed the home side to another injury in the 34th minute when Jerome Boateng suffered a groin pull while trying to run forward with the ball in the attempt to create an attack for Bayern.
While Bayern did have the bench strength to replace these players, they obviously missed the dexterity that the two bring to the table. Robben’s pace was amiss on the right flank for Bayern which was taken over by Muller after the former’s injury, and on a night where the latter bottled many chances, the Dutchman’s presence could have definitely made a difference.
While Niklas Sule is certainly not a massive downgrade on Boateng, he certainly does not match the World Cup winner’s pace and flexibility while his ball playing capabilities are also rather inferior.
#2 A sluggish night for Mats Hummels
If you look at all the performances that Bayern have turned up throughout this season, it is rather easy to single out one defender as the best of the lot and it is none other than the former Borussia Dortmund man, Mats Hummels.
The German tower has been clinical for Bayern when it comes to protecting their goal and also for putting in incisive long balls to open up the opposition. He was utterly sub-par in both categories today.
In the absence of Jerome Boateng, the onus was on Hummels to organise the back line to prevent Bayern from conceding away goals and he was found short of fulfilling his duties.
It was pretty evident that Bayern were playing a low block in situations where Madrid were seeing more of the ball. But easing off the ball was a tad too much as Marcelo made the Bavarians pay from the edge of the penalty box to level things up. Absolutely no player was interested in closing down the Brazilian as he hit a sumptuous volley and the result was disastrous.
Hummels was terrible in making his decisive long balls as well as he was only successful 4 times out of the 9 occasions that he tried to advance the ball up the field. He also missed a rather close chance in the 41st minute when a James Rodriguez cross was helped on by Robert Lewandowski and Hummels could only hit his volley over the bar from close distance.
#1 Not taking their chances
To say that Bayern were wasteful on the night is an understatement. The only team chasing a treble this season, Bayern were creative enough to produce a huge chunk of chances but hapless enough to miss even the easiest of them.
Die Roten had a total of 17 shots on the night but only 5 of them were on target. The nature of the misses were appalling as well. For starters, a poor touch from Ribery blew a clear-cut opportunity after he was put through in goal by Thiago Alcantara.
Then later on in the game, Lewandowski headed a beautifully curled cross into the penalty box straight at Keylor Navas in goal for Real Madrid. This chance came just moments before the half-time whistle and Los Blancos were already level by that time. Either side of the goalie and the Polish striker would’ve scored and changed the tempo of the game going into the break.
If this wasn’t enough, Bayern missed a couple of chances as close as 2 yards out of the goal and the duo of Muller and Lewandowski was at it again.
You simply cannot bottle so many chances against a side as potent as Real Madrid and the Spanish side, despite being rather unconvincing throughout the game, racked up two goals with clinical finishes which were just enough for them to secure an away win.