UEFA Champions League Preview: Real Madrid v Bayern Munich
Real Madrid play host to Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu on Wednesday, April 25.
Real enter the second leg down 2-1 on aggregate after suffering a 2-1 defeat to Bayern last week, making Wednesday’s match a must-win for Jose Mourinho’s side.
Although the headlines have been praising Bayern’s effort in the first leg, Los Blancos are a 1-0 win away from reaching the UEFA Champions League final.
“A 2-1 win in the first leg is not a good result,” said former Bayern Munich goalkeeper Oliver Kahn. “A scoreless draw is perhaps even better. But the fact that you’ve won is a confidence boost.”
Although it’s hard to agree with Kahn’s claim that a draw is perhaps even better than a win, you certainly understand where he’s coming from.
With Real in need of a win to advance to the UCL final, expect a tantalizing fixture on Wednesday.
Now then, let’s kick-off this segment with the betting odds for the second leg of this tie.
UEFA Champions League Betting Odds: Real Madrid v Bayern Munich
UCL Bet of the Day
Wednesday’s bet of the day is Real to defeat Bayern 3-1, paying 10/1 odds.
Players to Watch: Real Madrid v Bayern Munich
For Bayern, center-back pair Jerome Boateng and Holger Badstuber are surely the players to watch closely.
Can the pair close down the space and prevent Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo from getting clean looks at goal?
If so, Bayern may just fancy their chances of reaching the Champions League final, which will be played at the Allianz Arena, Bayern’s home ground, on 19 May 2012.
On the other side of the touchline, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema are the danger men for Real Madrid. Surely you saw that one coming.
Ronaldo has bagged eight goals and three assists in nine Champions League appearances in 2011-12, while Benzema has been just as clinical, netting seven goals and dishing out a UCL-leading five assists in ten matches.
The dynamic duo have also combined for 60 goals and 17 assists in La Liga this season.
Key Battles: Real Madrid v Bayern Munich
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Philipp Lahm
Ronaldo v Lahm is perhaps the highest profile key battle of this match, and rightfully so. So who will get the better of the other on Wednesday night?
Let’s just say that I back Ronaldo to get the job done.
Holger Badstuber/Jerome Boateng v Karim Benzema
Bayern don’t have many weaknesses, but center-back is certainly one of them. Can Benzema expose Bayern’s weakness?
He can, and more importantly, he will.
Prediction: Real Madrid v Bayern Munich
Advantage Real, 3-1 Los Blancos.