The first leg of this Champions League semi-final clash between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich turned out to be a rather confounding 90-plus minutes of football. Defending champion Bayern Munich showed its class by dominating possession against an equally imposing Real Madrid team. But it was the Galacticos that created more scoring chances, none more important than Karim Benzema punching in a beautiful pass from Fabio Coentrao to score the game’s only goal.
So as it stands, Real Madrid travel to the Allianz Arena in Germany with an important 1-0 lead in its pocket. That score becomes more important for Madrid if it manages to notch another on the scoreboard on the road, thereby forcing Bayern Munich to score three goals if it hopes to continue defending its Champions League crown. Such is the importance of the ‘away goal’ at this stage of the tournament.
It’s no wonder that the La Liga squad has been priced at 8/13 to qualify for the finals in Portugal, leaving Bayern as a 6/5 underdog. Still and all, it would be foolish to look past the Germans and automatically book Real Madrid for a trip to Lisbon later this month. More than any other team in the world, Bayern has the skill, talent, and awareness to string up a scoring bonanza at a snap of a finger.
At the very least, expect a similar game between the two sides akin to what happened at the Santiago Bernabeu six days ago. Bayern will dominate position and will be desperate for scoring opportunities. In turn, Real will likely stay back and defend like their lives depended on it, and then pouncing when a counter-attacking opportunity presents itself.
However this game shapes up, a 2-1 win for Bayern won’t be enough for them to advance. Both sides are keenly aware of what’s at stake and they’ll do everything short of throwing the kitchen sink to have the best of chance of advancing. It’s on Bayern now to pierce through that suddenly resurgent Madrid defense and it’s on the Galacticos to hold strong on their own end and be smart about their counter attacks.
We expect Bayern to score here, the only question is how many can they tally without letting Madrid get that all-important away goal.
Bayern Munich has been priced as a 4/6 favorite to win the match (advancing to the finals is a different story, though) while Real Madrid are a juicy 4/1. But the best odds look to be a draw, which is priced at 3/1.