Real Madrid will be looking to defend their slender first-leg lead as they host Bayern Munich in the second leg of the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
Real Madrid may have conceded the La Liga title this weekend, with Barcelona getting their hands on the domestic trophy. But, Los Blancos can yet add another feather to their illustrious trophy cap by persevering through Tuesday. Zinedine Zidane will be looking for his third final in as many years as a manager in the UEFA Champions League as they host Bayern Munich at the Bernabeu.
Jupp Heynckes is set to hang up his managerial boots again, with Niko Kovac already confirmed to succeed the veteran in the summer. Heynckes though, will be looking to add one more trophy to his managerial record. But, first, he must lead his Bayern Munich side to overturn a 2-1 deficit, that too conceded at the Allianz Arena.
Real Madrid had a similar scoreline at the Allianz Arena last season as well, before speeding to a 4-2 win at home, thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo, who will again be key to their fortunes. Ahead of their latest encounter, we take a closer look at the two sides.
Team News & Tactics
Zinedine Zidane’s problems start at the back. Dani Carvajal picked up an injury in the first leg and has been ruled out from any form of participation on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Nacho is still not 100%, neither is Raphael Varane but the latter is likely to be risked against Bayern Munich.
With Carvajal injured, we might just see Lucas Vazquez being deployed at the said position as a makeshift right-back again.
Apart from the defence, Isco is the only one doubtful for the match. The Spaniard might just make the bench but a start looks highly unlikely.
The midfield trio will remain the same but the attack could see some changes. One of Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale could start, and the latter stands in very good stead after his weekend flurry in La Liga.
Cristiano Ronaldo will be fresh after being given a rest during the weekend and will be looking to ensure another European final for Real Madrid.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Navas; Vazquez, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Ronaldo, Asensio
If the 2-1 defeat in the first-leg wasn’t enough, injuries picked up by Jerome Boateng and Arjen Robben over the course of 90 minutes ensured their absence for Tuesday, which will be a bigger blow to Bayern Munich and their hopes of overcoming the 2-1 deficit.
Kingsley Coman, Manuel Neuer and Arturo Vidal remain sidelined for the visitors while David Alaba is also a huge doubt. But, the Austrian should start even if he is not 100% fit.
Sven Ulreich will have his task cut out in goal for Bayern Munich while Niklas Sule will look to offset the absence of Jerome Boateng at the back.
In midfield, Thiago Alcantara will likely slot in for the injured Arjen Robben, which is likely to push Thomas Muller up to the right side of the 4-3-3.
James Rodriguez will be pumped to face Zidane & co. as the Colombian is likely to play in midfield alongside Thiago and Javi Martinez.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ulreich; Kimmich, Sule, Hummels, Alaba; Alcantara, Martinez, Rodriguez; Muller, Lewandowski, Ribery
1. There have been seven previous instances of a side playing the away leg with a 2-1 deficit from the home leg. None of them have managed to overturn the deficit and advance.
2. Real Madrid have scored in 41 successive home games in the Champions League so far and will be looking to make it 42 in a row against Bayern.
3. Bayern Munich have lost their last six away knockout games in the Champions League against Real Madrid.
4. Robert Lewandowski has 6 goals and 2 assists in 7 appearances against Real Madrid.
5. Cristiano Ronaldo has an imperious record of 9 goals and an assist in 7 appearances against Bayern Munich.
Player to Watch
If he indeed starts as the makeshift right-back, expect Jupp Heynckes to direct his team to attempt to exploit his side. Vazquez will have to be alert as to his positioning and the movement of the attackers around him. A good performance in the need of the hour could thrust him further into the good books of the manager and the fans.
Real Madrid 4-2 Bayern Munich
We expect a repeat of last season’s scoreline at the Bernabeu, especially with several key members of Munich’s squad absent due to injury. Real Madrid will start on the front foot looking to get the aggregate scoreline in their favour beyond any shred of doubt.
Although, with Lucas Vazquez likely to be deputised on the right side of the defence, if Bayern can exploit Vazquez’s side during the match, we might just see them create enough chances to perhaps, create a turnaround.