Guardiola had never lost as a coach at Madrid’s stadium until Wednesday, when Karim Benzema’s 19th minute goal proved to be all the scoring between these two European giants who appear to be staging another continental classic with a full 90 minutes to go next Tuesday in Munich’s Allianz Arena.
Guardiola insisted that he was proud of the way his players approached the game but acknowledged their lack of cutting edge ultimately cost them against Carlo Ancelotti’s side. Madrid had their most joy on the counter-attack and that was the route for their goal as Cristiano Ronaldo fed Fabio Coentrao down the left before his ball across goal was converted with ease by Benzema from close range.
“We lost,” Guardiola said to Sky after the match. “It was a difficult game, but there is still a second leg and we will try to get every player in shape for that.
“Madrid have always played like this. They are so quick. They let you play and wait for you to lose the ball. You have to be very neat and very organised, and we did that. I am very, very proud of my team.
“There is no better team than Madrid and we just lacked a goal. Now we have to score two or three and we will work towards that.”
There was a late shout for a penalty in Bayern’s favour from Thomas Muller when the German forward went down under a challenge from Xabi Alonso as he tried to turn inside the area in the dying minutes.
However, the former Barcelona boss responded “no, I don’t think so,” when asked if a spot kick should have been given.
For Real Madrid, Gareth Bale was not deemed fit to start, however, much to the relief of Real fans, Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo had recuperated from injury and was reinserted into the starting XI. Ronaldo was joined by Benzema up front while Isco took Bale’s place.
In midfield it was the trusted trio of Ángel di María, Luka Modric and Xabi Alonso while in the back legendary goalkeeper Iker Casillas was shielded by a back four of Dani Carvajal, Pepe, Sergio Ramos and Fabio Coentrão, who started in front of the recovering Marcelo.
Los Blancos failed to even get a whiff of the ball in the first 15 minutes as Bayern absolutely dominated possession and were camped out in Real’s half. But the Bavarians failed to capitalize on the advantage and Real would make them pay in the 19th minute when Benzema slammed in the opener.