Bayern face tough challenge in second leg

No team has won the Uefa Champions League title in two successive seasons and perhaps this is what we have started to observe as defending champions Bayern Munich lost the first leg semi-final 1-0 against Real Madrid.
Dr. Joseph Kamugisha
Dr. Joseph Kamugisha

No team has won the Uefa Champions League title in two successive seasons and perhaps this is what we have started to observe as defending champions Bayern Munich lost the first leg semi-final 1-0 against Real Madrid.

Reigning champions Bayern face an uphill struggle to overturn a 1-0 goal deficit from the first leg as they strive to defend the title to break the record set by AC Milan in 1992.

The reigning champions have been in vibrant form this season; they have already won their domestic home title the ‘Bundesliga’, they are already in the DFB cup final and are contesting the semi-finals of Europe’s biggest club competition.

In this year’s competition, Bayern have eliminated English giants Arsenal and Manchester United in the previous two phases.

Defeat on Wednesday in Madrid  came as no surprise as Real Madrid currently boast of being one of the best all-round teams in Europe and have been tipped as favorites to win the competition alongside the Germany giants.

However, Bayern needed to score at least one goal in Spain to stand a good chance in next Tuesday’s second leg at the Alianz Arena in Munich.

They now have to work hard to score 2-0 goals in Germany so as to qualify inside the 90 minutes of the game or else the game is likely to end in extra-time and probably penalty shoot-outs.

Based on first leg statistics, Bayern are capable of scoring at least one or two goals and defend deeply to overcome Real Madrid’s quick-fire counter attacks.

Real Madrid scored after a mistake by Brazilian right back Rafinha allowed Fabio Contrao to cross into the box before Karim Benzema scored from close range.

Pep Guardoila’s team was in control of the game for most of the time with Real Madrid reliant on the counter-attacks. Bayern had 72% of ball possession compared to Real’s 28%.

Bayern will need to create more scoring opportunities in the second leg to enable them score an early goal and defend as well. This means they will have to sacrifice one of their midfield slots to introduce in Thomas Muller who is likely to partner Mario Mandzukic in the attack.

Philip Lahm will most likely slot back to his preferred right back role to give room for more attacking options. Thomas Muller, Arjen Robben, Frack Ribery and Mandzukic can unlock the Real defence.

This means also that Guardiola will rest all his first team stars for their Bundesliga game against Werder Bremen on Saturday.

Real Madrid had their Spanish La Liga tie against Real Valladolid last weekend postponed so as to prepare well for Bayern’s visit but they are unlikely to skip this weekend’s Spanish league clash against stubborn Osasuna.

During the 2012 semi-finals, real Madrid beat Bayern 2-1 in semi-final first leg in Spain before the Spanish lost by the same margin in the second leg in Germany.