It took Sergio Ramos just 20 minutes at Allianz Arena in Munich on Tuesday to pick up a brace and all but guarantee Real Madrid's placement into the Champions League final.
Cristiano Ronaldo added a brace of his own with a strike before half-time and another in the second, his 15th and 16th in UCL play this season. Ronaldo broke the single-season UCL scoring record in the process, as Real Madrid made powerhouse Bayern Munich look like a feeble side while stamping out a 4-0 victory. That was Bayern's worst home defeat in their history in Europe.
After pulling out a 1-0 win in Spain in the first leg, Real Madrid easily advance 5-0 on aggregate. This will be their first UCL final since 2002.
OnSmash tweeted the news:
Los Blancos now await the winner of the battle between Chelsea and Atletico Madrid. Chelsea will host Atletico on Wednesday after the two played to a 0-0 draw in Spain in the first leg.
Entering Allianz Arena with a 1-0 lead on aggregate, Real Madrid could have come out with a defensive attitude looking to hold onto their narrow lead while in a hostile environment. Real manager Carlo Ancelotti had said a cautious attack was not the right approach, and Real backed up those statements with their aggressive play.
ESPN's Dermot Corrigan passed along Ancelotti's thoughts:
Ancelotti yesterday “We began first leg very timidly, tomorrow to start like that'd be dangerous. We'll try something different at start."— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) April 29, 2014
Ramos ensured Los Blancos would not be timid at the start of this match. Just 16 minutes into the contest, Luka Modric hit a cross off a Karim Benzema corner. Ramos surged and got his head on the ball for the score.
With the away goal, Real were in a great position with just the one score. Bayern were going to need at least three goals to advance. Real weren't content, though.
Just four minutes later, Ramos delivered another header into goal. This time the assist came from Pepe, and it sucked all life out of the stadium. Bayern were staring at the prospect of having to score at least four to advance. They simply didn't have the game to pull off that monumental task.
Bayern won 69 percent of possession for the match, but they did little with it. They had 19 shots but just four were on goal. Meanwhile, Real Madrid had just five shots on goals, but they were creating quality looks.
Such was the case when Gareth Bale used his pace to create a nice breakaway and leave a pass for Ronaldo to easily dump into goal. Have a look:
Bale and Ronaldo racing down the pitch like this is a nightmare for any club, and it was too much for Bayern to handle on Tuesday.
With that score, Real took a 3-0 lead into half-time, and there was no suspense left in this match.
The second half was fairly uneventful. Bayern couldn't muster any real challenge. Meanwhile, Ronaldo earned a free-kick in the 89th minute and slid a low shot under a leaping wall while dumping in his second goal for good measure.
The goal also extended the historically prolific production of Ronaldo and his team.
The 16th UCL goal is a new single-campaign record for the competition. Meanwhile, Real Madrid have also set a new Champions League single-season mark with 37 goals in this competition.
It is with this form that Real will roll into the final on Saturday, May 24, in Lisbon.
If Chelsea can use home pitch to advance, Real will be facing their manager from last year, as the polarizing Jose Mourinho leads the Blues. Meanwhile, it was just three years ago that Ancelotti was the manager at Chelsea.
Who wins the title?
As if the Champions League title isn't motivation enough, there is no doubt these two high-profile managers would love to stick it to their former clubs.
Meanwhile, if Atletico pull out the victory, it will set up a La Liga showdown as the two Madrid clubs add an epic chapter to their rivalry. Atletico currently sit atop the La Liga table and hold a six-point lead over Real. Los Blancos have a game in hand, but it's only in the Champions League where they control their own destiny.
No matter which side advances, however, given Real Madrid's current form and fantastic showing in Germany, Los Blancos have to be considered a strong favorite to add some UCL hardware.