Can Bayern stop Real's march to a Champions League three-peat?

Doug Mendoza
April 25, 2018

Neither Bayern nor Madrid - who were beaten six times in the first knock-out round between 2007 and 2010 - were anywhere near the best clubs from Italy and England at the time.

The Spanish League campaigners have a better record over their German side in recent times, with the Galacticos winning all five of last meetings, and also eliminated the Bundesliga side in last year's quarterfinals and the 2014 semis.

In fact Heynckes has reached the final in his last three Champions League campaigns and coached Real to their triumph in 1998 which was an all the more remarkable feat because it was the first time they had won it in 32 years.

Bayern Munich players were put through their paces in training on Tuesday ahead of their Uefa Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid.

Given how Juventus wilted in the last 16 against Tottenham's press, that physical advantage Premier League teams perhaps have over Italian sides, could be a major factor - particularly given the likelihood that Roma will start with the 34-year-old Daniele De Rossi as a fairly static playmaker behind Kevin Strootman and Radja Nainggolan.

Bayern will have to find a way to stop Cristiano Ronaldo, who has plundered 15 goals in the defending champions' run to the last four of football's elite club competition. Others were beginning to question whether manager Zinedine Zidane - he of the two Champions League titles and a Liga crown in 18 months - was being exposed as a guy who was handed the keys to the Bernabeu without the requisite experience. The first leg will take place at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday. There are big players and it will be an open game. "There's a reason they've won two Champions Leagues in a row", he said.

If football is about guts and glory, about matches that linger in the mind long after the final whistle has blown, the Champions League fulfils a curious role. The legendary Jupp Heynckes is managing in an interim basis but he doesn't want to coach beyond this season, leaving Bayern looking for a new manager.

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Bayern Munich are set to block any move for Robert Lewandowski from Real Madrid this summer despite the striker's desire to leave the Allianz Arena.

Interest in Lewandowski makes sense as a result, although it would be a odd decision on Bayern's part to cash in on such an important member of their side.

David Alaba and Corentin Tolisso's fate will be decided before the game. "He'll say 'let's keep it really tight and not concede if possible".

"We'll make a decision about them both early tomorrow (Wednesday) as to whether they will be in the squad", said Bayern head coach Heynckes. For me there are no favourites, but I have a good feeling.

"We are in a similar vein of form to 2013 and we work exceptionally hard as a team".

"The players like matches like this, even if we know we will have to suffer to get a win here".

Other reports by GizPress

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