El Centrocampista

German poise too much for Mourinho – Real Madrid 2-1 Bayern Munich: Tactical Analysis

Paul White/AP

Team News

Bayern began the match with the same starting eleven as the first leg. This was only slightly surprising since Jupp Hynckes’ side were more effective when Thomas Muller came in for Bastian Schweinsteiger during the encounter last week. Hynckes may have felt Schweinsteiger’s fitness was now improved are recent injury issues. Jose Mourinho made one change; electing for a like for like swap of Marcelo for Fabio Coentrao. The Portuguese left back had a rough night defending in Bavaria, so the change was no surprise.

Keys From the First Leg

1. Will Bayern once again control the centre?

In the Allianz Arena, Toni Kroos dropped deep into midfield to give Bayern a 3v2 advantage. Mesut Ozil did not track back so Mourinho put Angel Di Maria in the centre for a large chunk of the first half. Strangely, he did not use this tactic in the second half.

-Result:  A slight edge for Bayern. The Germans led the way in possession again but Real defended deeper. Also, the Germans were able to run at the centre backs; getting behind Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira in midfield. Ozil was quite after the first 15 minutes.

2. Who will win the battle on the Madrid left/ Bayern right?

Since the decisive goal last Tuesday came from a Phillip Lahm cross from the right, their was no surprise Marcelo was swapped for a poor performing Coentrao (who did have a good el clásico incidently). With Cristiano Ronaldo starved for touches, Marcelo was used to try and provide an overlapping threat to pin back Lahm and make Robben defend.

-Result: A slight edge for Madrid. The dynamic duo down the left for Madrid was heavily involved in the first two goals but the hesitant approach of Mourinho negated the threat for the remainder of the match. For Bayern, Lahm rarely got forward but Arjen Robben looked most dangerous for the Germans.

The Match

Real Madrid provided early pressure to try and overwhelm Bayern. This paid off in the sixth minute when a long cross field ball by Marcelo found Di Maria and his volley hit the arm of Alaba who was sliding in. Ronaldo buried the penalty.

Going behind in the tie did not faze the visitors. Alaba overlapped down the left and crossed for Robben who sent it over from four yards. The brace from Ronaldo in the 15th minute came from a brilliant move. Ronaldo and Marcelo started it on the left. It went back to the right then Khedira evaded a crowd and found Ozil who played an unmarked Ronaldo through. The space between Boateng and Lahm was much too great and Neuer had no prayer.

Surprisingly, after the two goals, Bayern controlled possession as Madrid dropped off. The home side remained dangerous on the counter-attack however. Interestingly, it was Bayern who hit on the break ten minutes later. Robben won the ball deep in his own half and linked with Ribèry on the left. Mario Gomez picked up the ball and found Kroos who crossed back to the German international, who was then bundled over by Pepe. Fittingly, the former Madrid player Robben leveled the tie from the spot.

For the remainder of the half, Mourinho’s side looked stunned and vulnerable. Bayern were allowed increased amounts of space to run at the defence with both Pepe and Sergio Ramos losing their positioning on a number of occasions. Fortunately for their side, the score remained 2-1.

Second Half and Extra Time

The first half was wide open and full of chances. It also saw a lack of urgency from both defences in closing down spaces. Conversely, the second 45 and extra time was much more tactical. Mourinho was not willing to allow free license for Real to attack and most importantly, for Marcelo to get forward. The combination with Ronaldo was lethal in the first half but the cautious approach hurt Real’s threat towards goal.

In my opinion, Mourinho should have attacked Bayern more after the first two goals, to try to run them off the park. However, he is known for his cautiousness and with so much at stake and the away goals counting as double,  I don’t blame him for playing conservatively.

With Madridl defending deep and looking to hit on the counter, Bayern were careful to not push numbers forward and get caught out. Without much overlapping out wide, they relied on Robben to create or Kroos to supply Gomez. Luis Gustavo provided cover to stop the break by tactically fouling and eventually got booked and will miss the final.


The introduction of Kaka, Esteban Granero and Gonzalo Higuain fell flat. Kaka had a couple of decent moments but was one touch short of creating something and seemed to lack sharpness. Heynckes brought on Muller for Ribèry. The Frenchman had a quiet game compared to last week as it was Robben’s match to shine. Muller provided more energy and crosses to the side but his performance was not memorable.


With the away goals rule carrying to extra time, the match grew stale and tired. The miss firing of Ronaldo and Kaka set the tone before Casillas nearly willed Real back in. Personally, I knew Ramos was going to choke when he hesitated in the run up and Neuer did not dive early. Both keepers were great in the shoot out. Real Madrid crashing out on penalties was cruel but the tie overall was quite even and as we all know, penalties are a cruel way to decide a match.

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