El Centrocampista

Bayern late show leaves it all to play for in Madrid – Tactical Analysis



Both sides lined up in their expected 4-2-3-1 shape. These mirroring systems and similar styles that emphasize wing play did not lead to a tactically thrilling duel.

Early Key Duels

Di Maria and Ribèry were tracking back early, and a few times clashed with each other on same side of the pitch. These defensive duties restricted their attacking influence on the match. Bayern looked to attack down the right side throughout the match. Early on Xabi Alonso looked to support Coentrao because Ronaldo and defensive duties do not belong in the same sentence. The Robben-Lahm overlap was the most effective attacking combination for Munich.

Real Madrid looked to hit quickly on the counter or at times on a secondary counter to Özil from a quick delivery from Casillas.
Real started well, moving it quickly around Bayern’s half, probing the ball. In response, Bayern stayed organized and compact. A giveaway by Schweinsteiger led to a Benzema chance from Özil but Neuer saved well. Bayern were struggling to link the back six with the front four. Madrid’s front four contributed to their dysfunction by pressuring the defense.

Bayern Get Going

Fifteen minutes in Robben finally got involved. Ribèry drifted over to link up and had space to shoot, but he made the most of a Sergio Ramos shirt tug and went to ground with Howard Webb waving him up. Two minutes later Bayern struck from a corner. Ramos was unsighted and the ball deflected off of Badstuber and fell to Ribèry who smashed it past Casillas.

After the goal, Real looked out of sorts. The left hand side was over run without Ronaldo tracking back. The midfield was giving the ball away and Bayern were going forward looking likely to get a second. Ultimately, Bayern lacked the killer touch; Kroos was not the creative engine needed to totally rip apart Los Blancos defense. Also, most of Ribèry’s touches were in his own half. He worked hard winning the ball back but was not much of a threat going forward.

Second Half

Bayern dropped off around midfield and tried to defend deep as an eleven man outfit. This frustrated Los Blancos and they played unsuccessful long balls. Finally, Real fashioned a second half chance in the 52nd minute. Madrid cleared a Bayern corner and launched a counter. Benzema received on the right from DiMaria and played a precise ball across to Ronaldo who was clear on goal but stoned by Neuer.

Luckily for Real, the ball was not cleared and Benzema crossed to the back post for Cristiano who squared to Özil for the tap in. The counter attack goal was vintage Mourinho away from home; although getting two bites at the cherry was quite fortunate.

Bayern Push On

Thomas Müller came on for Bastian Schweinsteiger who perhaps is not fully recovered from an ankle injury and will be needed at full strength in the second leg. After the goal, Mourinho set his side out to hold the score line. But credit to Bayern who pushed hard for a second. Lahm cut inside and played a seeing eye through pass for Gomez in the 63rd minute but Pepe and Casillas reacted in the nick of time to spurn the chance. Gomez had a half chance on a header and snatched at loose ball after a free kick scramble.

Also of note, the pitch at the Allianz deteriorated as the night went on. Several players lost their footing in the second half trying to cut and turn.
Jose Mourinho brought on Granero, Marcelo and Higuain in hopes of holding the 1-1 result. His side sat back, soaked up pressure and did not keep the ball when winning it back. On the other hand, Bayern were relentless and the persistence paid off in the 90th minute.

Lahm beat Coentrao down the right side after the Portuguese dove in. His cross along the six yard box was met by Gomez after Casillas and Arbeloa failed to react.
Marcelo was lucky to avoid red after a nasty challenge from behind in the final minute.

Madristas will be furious over letting the result slip, but for a neutral the second leg is thrillingly poised as Real will have to win to advance.

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