Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich: 5 Bold Predictions for Semifinal 2nd Leg
Wednesday night sees Bayern Munich travel to face Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League semifinal protecting a one-goal lead.
Mario Gomez's late goal gave Bayern the win on the night last week at the Allianz Arena, but Mesut Ozil's strike gives Real an away goal which might prove crucial in the final reckoning.
It's the second installment of a huge clash between two of Europe's biggest clubs, with 13 European Cup triumphs between them.
Here are five predictions for how things will unfold at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The Match Will Not End in a Draw
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This is the 14th time these two clubs have met in the Champions League, making it the most-played fixture in the competition's history.
In all, they have played each other 19 times before in European competition since they first clashed in 1976, and in all that time they have only registered two draws.
In addition to that, only one of Bayern's last 30 Champions League games has ended with honours even. A draw in Spain will be enough to send Bayern through, but the history books suggest that's not on the cards.
Benzema Will Make His Mark
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Karim Benzema has been enjoying by far his best season since joining Real from Lyon three years ago. He has scored 18 goals so far in La Liga this term, already beating his previous best mark of 15 last season.
In Europe, too, the France striker has excelled. He has been directly involved in 12 of Real's 33 goals in the competition so far (eight goals, three assists), one more than teammate Cristiano Ronaldo.
Bayern's Mario Gomez has also been involved in 12 goals (typically, he has scored all of those), but only Barcelona's Lionel Messi has been involved in more (14 goals, four assists).
Ronaldo Will Score
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Not one of the boldest calls ever made, admittedly, but it's worth making the point just to highlight his scoring record this season.
In addition to the 44 (44!) goals the Portuguese has scored domestically this season, he has also grabbed eight so far in Europe.
Those goals have come in 810 minutes across nine appearances, giving him a minutes-per-goal rate of 101.25 minutes.
Seeing as his last goal in the competition came 15 minutes from the end of the quarterfinal second leg against APOEL Nicosia, he is already overdue on his next goal.
Someone Will Be Suspended for the Final
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Chelsea's performance at the Nou Camp, which saw them through to the final, came at a huge cost. In addition to John Terry missing the final because of his red card, both Branislav Ivanovic and Ramires will miss the showpiece in Munich through receiving bookings at a time in which they were liable for a ban.
Between these two sides, 11 players are liable to be banned from the final if they pick up yellow cards on Wednesday, not to mention the probability of a sending off.
Those names in full to watch out for: Real Madrid: Xabi Alonso, Fabio Coentrao, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Ramos; Bayern Munich: Jerome Boateng, Thomas Mueller, David Alaba, Luiz Gustavo, Toni Kroos, Holger Badstuber, Philipp Lahm.
Bayern Will Score First
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Bayern Munich have certainly come racing out of the blocks in many of their Champions League matches this season.
They have scored the opening goal in the first 10 minutes of European matches six times this season.
Real Madrid have done so just three times, and they all came in the same group match against Dinamo Zagreb.