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Three things we learned from Real Madrid’s win vs. Bayern Munich

Apr 23, 2014, 4:51 PM EDT

arjen_robben_xabi_alonso Getty Images

Following Real Madrid’s 1-0 win over Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League semifinal on Wednesday, some key factors shaped the game.

Real, reluctant to breakout from their ultra-defensive approach, did a job on Bayern, as the reigning European champions were frustrated and locked out in and around the box.

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Bayern are lucky to still be in with a shout of making the UCL final, as both Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria missed gilt-edged chances in the first half to add to the Spanish giants’ lead.

Here are three things which stood out as Real take a slender advantage to the Allianz Arena with them next Tuesday.

Real too quick on the counter for Bayern

In the last few rounds of this competition, Manchester United and Arsenal both exposed Bayern Munich’s Achilles heel: pace on the counter. Danny Welbeck tore Bayern apart at Old Trafford, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Yaya Sanogo had a good go at it for the Gunners. On Wednesday night Bayern were again left exposed on the break, as Real pounced with impressive speed on the transition to take the lead. In the 18th minute Karim Benzema won the ball, held it up and played it to the left, where Cristiano Ronaldo slotted an inch-perfect pass forward to the onrushing Fabio Coentrao who crossed to the back post for Benzema to tap home. As simple as that. Despite Bayern dominating possession for the opening stages, Real hit them square between the eyes early on as Carlo Ancelotti had clearly done his homework. Time and time again Real broke with efficiency on the break and they should have Gareth Bale at their disposal from the start in the return leg to further bolster their speedy breakaways. Be afraid Bayern, very afraid.

Tiki-Taka tedious when nobody wants to get in the box

The possession stats were ugly for Real Madrid fans for most of the match (Bayern had 72 percent possession on the night) yet if you’re a Bayern supporter and your team had that much of the ball, how do you not carve out a clear cut opportunity until the 83rd minute? Predictable, tentative and at times repetitive, Pep Guardiola’s Bayern side were too easy to predict at the Santiago Bernabeu. With Toni Kroos allowed to spray the ball on a sixpence out to Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben at will, what happened next was the issue. Robben and Ribery were shackled superbly by Real’s full backs Daniel Carvajal and Coentrao, as the wingers were either shown the outside and unable to get around their marker, or shown inside where Xabi Alonso or Luka Modric would slide over and break up the play and Bayern’s momentum. There was no panache, devilment or ingenuity about Bayern’s play on Wednesday as Mario Mandzukic was often the only man in the box. The only time they got in behind was when Muller cut the ball back to Mario Gotze in the 83rd minute, but the German youngster fluffed his lines as Iker Casillas saved well.

Madrid could’ve been home and dry

Real Madrid will take a 1-0 win at home against the reigning European championship all day long. No doubt. Yet it could’ve been so much better for Los Blancos. Real are the top scorers in the UCL, with 33 goals to their name at an average of over 3.2 per game. They should have had three on Wednesday, as Carlo Ancelotti’s scythed their way through Bayern’s defense with ease. Superstar attacker Ronaldo, returning from injury, missed a massive chance just after Real took the lead as a bouncing ball found him unmarked in the center of the goal, 10-yards out, but the FIFA World Player of the Year side-footed his effort over. Then later in the second half Di Maria rifled an effort over the bar from close range as Real may live to rue their wastefulness. Surely in less than a week in Bavaria Real will not miss chances like that? That is the worrying factor for Bayern Munich, as they know Real will always create chances, especially away from hom where their counter-attacking style.

  1. adroste13 - Apr 23, 2014 at 5:21 PM

    Despite being a huge Bayern fan here is what I learned.
    1- double and triple teaming Robben definitely slowed him and the Bayern offense down.
    2- Great Real game plan especially in the first half. Bayern dominated ball control but couldn’t break through Madrid’s defense. If Real did a better job of finishing their counter attacks have time score could have been 3-0.
    3- Very disappointing to see Real players faking injuries during the game, but I guess that’s soccer…they just did it way too much for my liking.
    4- that wasn’t a penalty on Muller.
    5- need to start Gotze and Muller in Munich.
    6- it’s still anyone’s game.

    • homeschoolartmama - Apr 23, 2014 at 8:55 PM

      Wow Real players feigning injury???? Robben and Ribery were diving every ten minutes. You guys are so boring to watch now, Guardiola’s tiki taka has caged your best players. you were so much better under Jupp Heysneck.

  2. lostintransocean - Apr 23, 2014 at 5:25 PM

    Not putting in those two easy chances is going to bite Real in the ass next week at Allianz. Bayern knows how to score there.

  3. mikeevergreen - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    Real and Chelsea in Lisbon.

  4. tusharraghuvanshi - Apr 29, 2014 at 1:47 AM

    Reblogged this on Impressions and Jottings.

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