The hosts saw little of the ball over the course of the game but were a persistent menace on the break, and it was on such a raid Karim Benzema scored the only goal of the match in the first half.
The Portugal star was replaced by Gareth Bale, who had been suffering with flu, after 73 minutes having often been required to operate in a deeper role than usual due to Bayern’s pressing and dominance of the ball.
“I had already decided that Ronaldo wouldn’t play 90 minutes because he was out for a while, Ronaldo was playing at only 50%” said Ancelotti in his post-match press conference.
“Bale and Cristiano will both be totally fit for the second leg in Germany. What is important is sacrifice. Di María and Isco made sacrifices and that helped the team a lot.
“Ronaldo wasn’t in his best shape, but it was important for us that he played. We are happy.
“Ronaldo sacrificed a lot by playing in a central and defensive position. The whole team has sacrificed a lot.”
For the Italian coach, it was an evening that went according to plan, even though he was frustrated at the nervous opening from his side.
“When they slowed their pace we were better,” he admitted to Canal + after the game. “We made some great counterattacks. Teamwork was so important, and [Fabio] Coentrao and [Dani] Carvajal were helped by Isco and [Angel] Di Maria.
“I’m happy about everything, even if the game was hard. Sometimes we suffered but we played well on the attack.”
Immediately from kick-off, Bayern controlled possession of the ball and looked to assert their dominance on the game, while Madrid’s biggest threat came on the counter attack.
Ancelotti admitted that his side made a slow start but was pleased with the quality they showed to take the advantage to Germany.
“We were a bit shy in the beginning of the match. We needed more intensity,” he said.
“We worked well together. We had a lot of desire to win. The atmosphere is positive.
“Football is not just about controlling the ball, it’s about defending, counter-attacking, but I like to have the ball.
“The fans helped the team a lot. The atmosphere was spectacular. We want to do everything we can to take them to Lisbon.
“We need everything in the second leg – sacrifice, courage, quality. We have a small advantage but nobody knows what will happen.”
In the end, Los Blancos did what few teams have done during the season in keeping a clean sheet against the Champions League holders and now Ancelotti knows his team can take another step forward to ‘La Décima’ with a result next week in Germany.