Clinical Real end Bayern’s dream
Bayern’s dream of becoming the first team to retain the Champions League was painfully extinguished on Tuesday night as Real Madrid powered to a 4-0 victory in the decisive semi-final second leg, handing the Spaniards the tie 5-0 on aggregate. It was not how the proud Bavarians wanted their 400th match in European competition to end as they were clinically denied a third final appearance in a row by the better team on the night and were forced to relinquish their grip on Europe’s elite club trophy - for this season at least.
Pep Guardiola’s men began brightly enough but the boisterous and passionate 68,000 full house at the Allianz Arena fell eerily silent when Spain hard man Sergio Ramos handed the visitors a two-goal lead with only 20 minutes played. World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo made it three before the break, meaning the Reds needed five second-half goals to progress. It was always a remote prospect and an ultimately futile task against the disciplined and iron-willed visitors, who twisted the knife at the end when Ronaldo slid a last-minute free-kick under the Bayern wall and over the line.
FCB will now conclude their championship-winning campaign with one last highlight, the DFB Cup final against Borussia Dortmund in Berlin on 17 May. The Bavarians are back in action on Saturday afternoon in the penultimate Bundesliga fixture of the season away to crisis club Hamburg.
Müller in for Rafinha
Guardiola made just one change to the team beaten 1-0 at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu last week, but it signified all-out attack with captain Philipp Lahm reverting to right-back and Thomas Müller coming in for Rafinha. The FCB bench featured plenty of firepower in reserve with the likes of Mario Götze and veteran marksman Claudio Pizarro
The Champions League holders began with Neuer in goal, Lahm, Jerome Boateng, Dante and David Alaba in defence, Toni Kroos and Bastian Schweinsteiger in central midfield, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben on the flanks, and Müller in a roving role behind centre-forward Mario Mandzukic.
Real boss Ancelotti, who indicated in the build-up he saw no reason to tinker with his counter-attacking tactics from the first leg, also made just a single change: fit-again Gareth Bale replaced Isco and joined World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo and last Tuesday’s goalscorer Karim Benzema in a potent attacking trident.
Ramos and Ronaldo break FCB hearts
Following a breathtaking mosaic display by the crowd and a minute’s silence for deceased greats Tito Vilanova and Vujadin Boskov, the atmosphere built to a frenzy before Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca whistled the match underway. The pace was high and FCB saw most of the ball, but the early half-chances fell to di Maria and Bale, Neuer saving the first and then watching relieved as the Welshman lofted his shot over the bar.
Di Maria’s floated effort ended in the south terrace, but disaster struck after 16 minutes when the unmarked Ramos powered home a header from a Luka Modric corner – an award that should never have been given as Dante’s clearance in fact went out of play off the sole of Benzema’s boot. Munich were still reeling when Ramos made it two four minutes later with another header after Pepe flicked on a Di Maria free-kick, also a controversial award as Bale went down very easily against Alaba.
The home side struggled to regain their composure but flickered back into life with Ribery’s cross-shot and a good spell of pressure, although Real were caustically dangerous on the break and Ronaldo steered a shot only just wide of Neuer’s far post.
Madrid’s pace was causing all kinds of bother and the situation went from bad to worse after 34 minutes when Benzema and Bale combined to hand Ronaldo the simplest of chances, the Portugal superstar moving onto a new record 15 goals for a Champions League season and stretching his side’s lead to 3-0. The men in red tried to raise their game, Robben clearing the bar with a free-kick and Alaba and Robben seeing drives deflected, but the last shot of the half was Ronaldo’s ballooned free-kick.
Impossible task in second half
With Martinez on for Mandzukic, the first chance after the restart fell to Alaba but Ramos blocked the Austrian’s close-range effort. After a long spell of possession, Robben curled a shot just wide of the post on 56 minutes, Ribery finally warmed Iker Casillas’ gloves with a near-post drive and Kroos tried his luck from distance, but the visitors were by and large not allowing the Reds any space at all near their own box.
Martinez earned a round of applause for an important tackle to halt the charging Bale, before Götze and Pizarro took over from Ribery and Müller for the last 20 minutes.
Götze’s cunning juggle in the box from Robben’s flick ended with the Germany man volleying wide and Kroos rasped a drive past the angle of post and bar, but with the clock ticking down the task turned from near-impossible to hopeless and the only option for FCB was to see an evening to forget through to the end without further damage – although even that was ruined by Ronaldo in the last minute with his cheeky free-kick dribbled Ronaldinho-style under the Reds’ defensive wall.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley
|FC Bayern||Neuer - Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Alaba - Schweinsteiger, Kroos - Robben, Müller (Pizarro 72), Ribery (Götze 72) – Mandzukic (Martinez 46)|
|Substitute||Raeder, Van Buyten, Rafinha, Hojbjerg|
|Real Madrid||Casillas - Carvajal, Pepe, Sergio Ramos (Varane 75), Fabio Coentrao - Modric, Xabi Alonso, di Maria (Casemiro 84) - Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo – Benzema (Isco 80)|
|Substitute||Diego López, Marcelo, Morata, Illarramendi|
|Referee||Pedro Proenca (Portugal)|
|Goals||0-1 Ramos (16), 0-2 Ramos (20), 0-3 Ronaldo (34), 0-4 Ronaldo (90)|
|Yellow card||Dante / Xabi Alonso|
|69,30 %||Possession||30,70 %|
|41,30 %||Duels||58,70 %|
|5 Robben5 Alaba2 Müller||Ronaldo 7Ramos 2Varane 1|
|6 Lahm3 Robben2 Alaba||Modric 1Di María 1Bale 1|
|100% Neuer100% Javi Martínez58% Robben||Ramos 100%Isco 100%Pepe 90%|
|3 Schweinsteiger2 Javi Martínez1 Kroos||Ronaldo 4Modric 2Carvajal 2|
|139 Kroos99 Schweinsteiger98 Robben||Carvajal 52Bale 50Di María 49|