Real Madrid

Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich: Tactical Review and Analysis

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 25:  Xabi Alonso of Real Madrid breaks away with the ball from Arjen Robben of Bayern Munich during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg between Real Madrid CF and Bayern Munich at The Bernabeu Stadium on April 25, 2012 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterApril 26, 2012

Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid have fallen short of the pedestal. Bayern Munich will travel the incredibly short distance to their own ground, the Allianz-Arena, for the UEFA Champions League final against Chelsea.

But how did Bayern Munich win it this evening? We'll look beyond the penalties and assess the tactical set up of each team, how they played and why, in the end, Bayern deserved a win.

 

Formations and Goals

Both Mourinho and Bayern manager Jupp Heynckes set out a basic 4-5-1 formation for their teams to play, but both teams tried a different playing style.

FC Bayern like to look after the ball and, whilst not to the degree Barcelona do, try to play it short and keep the ball away from the opponent when possible. Achieving 55 percent possession at the Bernabeu is no easy feat but that's exactly what Heynckes' men achieved.

The individual statistics paint a picture too. Bastian Schweinsteiger is at the centre of everything his team does and this is reflected by his 133 touches of the ball.

Toni Kroos was destructive, creating several openings for teammate Mario Gomez and splitting Real Madrid's defence down the middle at times.

Heynckes played, as usual, with a lone striker in Gomez. Mourinho will have been confident that between Sergio Ramos and Pepe, the defenders will have had him coveredwrong he was.

Mourinho used the 4-5-1 in a different way. They were far more direct, happy to move play from defence to attack in one pass and let their attacking, creative trio do the talking.

 

 

Bayern's Brick Wall

Madrid went 2-0 up very quickly due to a penalty and a rare defensive lapse on Bayern's part. For my money though, that was never a penalty.

After the frenetic opening 15 minutes, things very much went Bayern's way. Karim Benzema dropped deeper and deeper to receive the ball and make things happen, but Cristiano Ronaldo was poor from the 16th minute onwards.

Angel Di Maria made almost no impact and was substituted late in the second half for Kaka. This resulted in the Brazilian taking up a position behind Benzema, with Mesut Ozil being switched out to the right. Both were ineffectual.

 

Attacking Fluidity

Gomez continually dropped off the defensive line to join in the link-up play, then springing the defensive trap when necessary. He attracted the attention of both centre-backs at all times.

This left Marcelo all alone in marking Arjen Robben and, despite ITV commentary's best efforts to commend the Brazilian left-back, it was clear to see the Dutch winger had the run of the line.

He came inside on numerous occasions and looked dangerous around the 18-yard line.

On the other flank, Alvaro Arbeloa was dealt the unenviable task of marking Franck Ribery. Whilst the French winger was more wasteful than the German side will have wanted, his link-up play with left-back David Alaba was both silky and effective.

With both centre-backs concentrating on Gomez, Bayern's midfielders had time and space to shoot and pass. Iker Casillas saw several long-range efforts directed towards his goal as a result of Schweinsteiger and Luiz Gustavo controlling the game.

 

Afterthoughts

Luiz Gustavo is a huge miss for Bayern Munich in the final. He did an excellent job breaking up the play at the Bernabeu and while his yellow card was very much deserved, Heynckes will rue the absence of his midfielder breaker.

Anatoliy Tymoshchuk will likely sit in his place and while the Ukrainian is both experienced and efficient, he's not quite on the same level as Gustavo.

Holger Badstuber will miss the final too, breaking up Bayern's regular central defensive pairing. Breno and Daniel Van Buyten, Bayern's other options, are both injured. How that pans out will be interesting to see.

With Chelsea's defensive issues, Bayern is the better team to face out of the two. It will be an absolute cracker of a game at the Allianz-Arena.

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