Bayern München vs Real Madrid – Wednesday 19:45 BT / 20:45 CET Allianz Arena – Munich, Germany.
Before der Klassiker is after der Klassiker. In less than a week, Bayern München had to face not only their biggest domestic rival, but also their biggest international rival.
The two heavyweights of European football will meet for the 23rd time on Wednesday, and it is the Bavarians who hold the winning record against Real. Known as La Bestia Negra among Real supporters, Bayern have won 11 games, drawn two, and lost nine. Bayern’s home record against Real is even more impressive with nine wins, one draw, and one defeat.
Real Madrid, however, recorded a victory the last time they travelled to Munich, defeating a Bayern side coached by Pep Guardiola 4-1. Current Bayern head coach Carlo Ancelotti was the mastermind behind Real Madrid’s victory in Munich, and the Italian then moved on to guide Real to a Champions League trophy.
Carlo Ancelotti is now the bench boss at Bayern, but many of his players will remember the heavy defeat suffered by Cristiano Ronaldo and Company. Bayern will, therefore, be out for revenge, and the Bavarians have shown in the past that they are at their most dangerous when they have a point to prove.
Borussia Dortmund was the latest victim of this Bayern München attitude. Borussia had beaten Bayern in the Hinrunde 1-0 at Signal Iduna Park. There was no way that Bayern was going to let that result sit, and the Bavarians dismantled Thomas Tuchel’s inexperienced Borussia Dortmund side, winning the match 4-1.
The German media quickly pointed out that the game against Dortmund was eine Machtdemonstration (demonstration of strength) directed toward the rest of German football, as well as a Kampfansage (a challenge) to Real Madrid. Bayern indeed appear to be on a mission to replicate their 2012-13 campaign, which ended with the famous treble.
That mission is fuelled especially by the fact that key players have already announced their retirement for the end of the season (Xabi Alonso and Philipp Lahm), and others have developed an awareness that they may only have one or two more seasons left to win the Champions League (Frank Ribéry and Arjen Robben). With all of this in mind, Bayern München will go into the first leg against Real Madrid on Wednesday night with plenty of confidence.
Real Madrid, in the meantime, have firmly established themselves at the top of La Liga. Three points ahead of FC Barcelona, with one game in hand, Madrid now seem to be the favourites for the league title. At the same time, there has been criticism directed toward head coach Zinédine Zidane’s style of play. Real Madrid are often considered too clinical and too result oriented. At the same time, it is exactly that sort of approach that wins clubs trophies at the end of the season.
Bayern München vs Real Madrid – Players to look out for:
Arjen Robben #10 – Bayern München
Arjen Robben is one of the players listed above, who seem to be on a mission. The 33-year-old Dutch winger recently extended his contract with Bayern for one more season and, with Robben in the autumn of his career, there seems to be a bit of urgency added to his game. Mostly injury free this season, Robben has now featured in 21 Bundesliga and six Champions League games for Bayern. In those 27 games, Robben has accumulated 12 goals and eight assists. But most impressive was his performance on the weekend against Borussia Dortmund. Here, the Dutch winger was a constant threat from the right side and he was able to cut in on several occasions in order to go for a goal. Robben should have had several goals that evening but, as it stood, he only recorded one. His goal, which made it 3-1 in the 47th minute was vital, however, as it essentially took away all hope from Borussia Dortmund.
Cristiano Ronaldo #7 – Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo remains Real Madrid’s best player. At the same time, however, there are signs that the now 32-year-old striker is aging. Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 16 goals in 24 La Liga matches, and remains one of the best strikers in the competition. But his two goals in eight Champions League matches show that the Portuguese forward is now easier to shutdown by Europe’s top teams. Some of this could be due to an injury that Cristiano Ronaldo received at the 2016 Euro Final in France. Cristiano Ronaldo had to leave the field with a knee injury and, ever since, has lacked the sort of explosiveness, which is essential for his game.
Bayern München vs Real Madrid – Match Stats
- This is Bayern’s 28th European Cup quarter-final, and their sixth in succession.
- Bayern have reached the semi-finals in each of the last five campaigns. Overall, their last-eight record is W18 L9, with victories in their last six ties.
- Unbeaten in this season’s competition, Madrid have made the quarterfinals for the seventh successive year.
- Madrid are making their 34th appearance in the European Cup quarter-finals, losing only six of those previous ties.
- Madrid’s record in two-legged ties with German clubs in UEFA competition is W13 L8.
- Madrid have won each of their last five ties against German opposition, scoring 25 goals in the process.
- Boateng will incur a suspension with his next booking.
- Luka Modrić and Ramos are a booking away from a ban.
Prediction: Bayern München vs Real Madrid 2-0
Neuer – Alaba, Boateng, Martinez, Lahm – Vidal, Alonso, Thiago – Ribéry, Lewandowski, Robben
Coach: Carlo Ancelotti
Navas – Marcelo, Pepe, Ramos, Carvajal – Modric, Casemiro, Kroos – Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Bale
Coach: Zinedine Zidane