The second Champions League semi-final of the week again takes place in Madrid; this time the Santiago Bernabeu plays host to two of the heavyweights of European football.
Whilst it would be wrong of Carlo Ancelotti to put all of his eggs into one basket, Real’s horrendous record on German soil, per UEFA.com, may well see him employing tactics that take the game to Bayern from the off.
Despite running away with the Bundesliga and only losing two games after the title had been secured, Pep Guardiola’s side showed they were vulnerable in the Champions League when pressured.
Both Manchester clubs and Arsenal adopted an attacking philosophy from the first whistle, squeezing the life out of Bayern’s natural game and not allowing them to play.
Although the Germans ultimately progressed in the competition, it highlighted that even the best side left in the competition has weaknesses that can be exposed.
Guardiola has the Bavarians playing in much the same way as his Barcelona sides, passing teams to death and going for the jugular once the opposition has been sufficiently worn down.
The away leg against Arsenal is a prime example of the dominance that Guardiola likes to exert on the opposition. BBC Sport detail that Toni Kroos’ pass total in the match was equivalent to the entire Gunners' outfield.
Therefore, Ancelotti’s brief is clear. Attack, attack, attack.
It’s debatable that the Bayern defence will have faced a front three with quite the same intensity, skill and work-rate as Real Madrid possess.
Bale is flying at the moment, and his winning goal in the Copa del Rey final is testament to just how well the Welshman has settled in over the last few months.
Despite the recent loss of Ronaldo, Real have lost none of their potency in front of goal. Ten goals scored, per WhoScored.com, is testament to that.
Ronaldo is also looking for a record-breaking goal in the tie:
ICYMI: Ronaldo is now tied with Messi from 2011-12 for most goals in a Champions League season (14). pic.twitter.com/0F1iIZt16J— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 3, 2014
The three front-men again working in tandem should provide more than enough pressure to restrict the forward meanderings of Bayern’s Phillip Lahm and David Alaba, and therefore curtail a lot of Bayern’s own attacking excellence in the process.
Bayern’s Wing Play
Ex-Madrid favourite Arjen Robben continues to terrorise defences in every game and he has flourished under Pep Guardiola.
Franck Ribery too has garnered much success down the opposite channel.
Los Blancos full-backs Fabio Coentrao and Dani Carvajal will have their work cut out and it’s imperative that they stop either player cutting in on their favoured foot and unleashing a shot on goal.
Neither Bayern winger is particularly adept at taking the ball down the outside and crossing on their weaker foot. Indeed, in Bayern’s most recent game against Eintracht Braunschweig, Robben’s only successful cross came when he managed to cut inside, per Squawka.com.
Whilst Bayern offer a significant threat in other areas, shutting down the wide men should bring Real Madrid considerable success.
Prediction: Real Madrid 3-1 Bayern Munich