BAYERN MUNICH HAVE beaten Real Madrid more than any other team in the European Cup — but the Spaniards will need to beat their bogeymen if they are to continue their chase of a 10th win in the competition: la décima.
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Real Madrid 1-0 Bayern Munich
19.15 – Good evening and welcome to TheScore.ie’s live coverage of tonight’s Champions League semi-final first leg between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way. Last night’s game between Atletico and Chelsea was tripe, to put it mildly. We’re hoping for a classic contest between two heavyweights to balance things out tonight.
Kick-off is at 7.45pm.
19.18 – TEAM NEWS: No Bale for Madrid. He has the flu but he’s still fit enough to make the bench. Ronaldo starts.
Real Madrid: Casillas, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrão, Ronaldo, Benzema, Alonso, Carvajal, Modric, Di María, Isco.
Subs: Diego López, Varane, Bale, Marcelo, Casemiro, Morata, Illarra.
19.20 – Here’s how Pep’s Bayern line out — Neuer and Mandzukic both return.
Bayern Munich: Neuer, Dante, Rafinha, Boateng, Lahm, Ribery, Robben, Alaba, Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Mandzukic.
Subs: Zingerle, Raeder, Martinez, Gotze, Weiser, Muller, Pizarro.
19.23 – Winning la décima, their 10th European Cup, has become something of an obsession for Real Madrid.
Here are the scenes outside the Bernabeu earlier today, as captured by Fernando Martin:
19.26 – A quick history lesson… this is the sixth meeting between Real and Bayern in the European Cup semis. Bayern have won a remarkable five with Real’s only victory coming in 2000.
19.28 – Here’s some more footage shot from the team bus earlier. If this is what it was like outside the Bernabeu, imagine what it’s going to be like inside:
19.45 – KICK OFF: We’re up and running. Howard Webb is the man in the middle. You may remember him.
19.53 – 7 mins – So far, so uneventful although Bayern have been far better in these opening few minutes. Madrid struggling to get into the game.
19.56 – It’s like a bingo for football fans over the age of 18:
19.59 – 12 mins – It’s a pretty relentless stream of Bayern pressure so — their high pressing is paying off but Madrid are doing well to stifle the attacks once they get within sight of Casillas’ goal.
Robben gets a shot off from the edge of the box but it comes off Modric and goes behind for a corner.
20.01 – Stats count: The early figures suggest that Bayern have had 160ish passes to 10 or so from Madrid.
As I said, they’ve had lots of the ball!
20.02 – Divided loyalties in at least one house tonight. Here’s Sergio Garcia and girlfriend Katharina Boehm:
20.03 – GOAL! Real Madrid 1-0 Bayern Munich (Benzema, 18′) Wow, wow, wow. Bayern have battered Real (with passes) until now but it’s the hosts who take the lead very much against the run of play. Cristiano Ronaldo plays a gorgeous pass to start a lightning counter-attack and Coentrao flashes it across the face of goal for Benzema to tap in.
20.05 – 20 mins – Ooof, it’s very nearly a second for Real. Ronaldo has a free header about 12 yards out but it’s straight at Neuer. If he’d steered that towards a corner, the keeper would have struggled.
20.10 – 24 mins – Robben flings in a corner but Dante has to backpedal just to meet it and his header tamely drops into Casillas’ bread basket.
20.11 – Here’s that Benzema goal:
20.13 – 26 mins – RONALDO! How did he miss that?!
Real break again and Benzema threads a pass behind the retreating Bayern defence. Ronaldo has all the time in the world to put it past Neuer but he hits the bobbling ball half with his ankle, half with his shin, and half with an open boot (yes, that’s three halves) and it goes high and wide.
An awful miss.
20.21 – 33 mins – Bayern may have been stung by that Madrid counter, and a couple of warning signs since, but it hasn’t deterred them. They’re still playing possession football in front of the Madrid back four and trying to move the ball wide but it’s not paying dividends yet.
20.24 – 38 mins – Ribery pulls the ball back to Robben about 15 yards out but Alonso rushes out to close the space and blocks his goalbound shot.
20.27 – 41 mins – Another glorious chance for Madrid and this time it’s di Maria who fluffs his lines. Isco’s cross is just too high for Ronaldo but falls perfectly for di Maria at the back post, who blazes it over.
It should be 3-0 to Real at this stage.
20.29 – Someone needs to give Sergio Ramos a crash course in the rules of football:
Source: Andres Kudacki
20.32 – HALF TIME: Real Madrid 1-0 Bayern Munich
It’s not a blockbuster but it’s 1,000,000% better than last night, I can guarantee you that much.
20.30 – 45+1 mins – Snifter of a chance for Madrid to double their advantage on the stroke of half-time. Carvajal bursts forward but his pass is just behind Ronaldo and by the time he digs it out, his shot is blocked. That’s Madrid’s first corner of the evening.
20.47 – SECOND HALF: We’re back.
20.54 – 51 mins – The stats keep coming. Bayern have had 432 passes and 11 corners to 131 passes and one corner for Real.
The stat that matters? It’s still Real 1-0 Bayern thanks to Benzema’s goal in the 19th minute.
20.56 – 53 mins – Bayern have looked a little bit flat so far in this second half. When will Pep start to make some changes?
21.00 – 57 mins – Isco handles to stop a Robben run and Howard Webb books him. Fair is fair.
21.04 – 61 mins – Madrid back off and back off and back off as Robben runs at them but his shot lacks any real power and it’s comfortable for Casillas.
21.08 – 63 mins – Schweinsteiger dives in on Pepe and in a rare moment of charity, he doesn’t go down as though his leg has been taken off below the knee with a chainsaw.
21.09 – 66 mins – Substitution: Javi Martinez on for Rafinha as Pep makes his first change.
21.11 – 68 mins – A half-chance for Madrid as Ronaldo tries to sneak one past Neuer at his near post. The keeper gets down to bundle it behind for a corner.
21.14 – 71 mins – Bayern keep knocking timidly on the door. Dante crosses into a crowded box but it’s too high for Mandzukic.
21.14 – Substitution: Another Bayern change — Gotze on to replace Ribery.
21.16 – Double sub for Madrid: Someone looked at Pepe the wrong way so he’s gone off injured to be replaced by Varane. Flu boy Bale is on for Ronaldo.
And Bayern get all the subs out of the way together: Muller on for Schweinsteiger.
Now, back to the football…
21.17 – Insert your own caption here:
Source: Andres Kudacki
21.24 – 80 mins – Any spark of creativity or invention that Bayern had in the first half has fizzled out. Muller has a go from the edge of the box and nicks Varane and goes behind for a corner, their 14th of the night.
Substitution: Isco, who has been fairly anonymous tonight, is replaced by Illarramendi.
21.25 – 83 mins – Gareth Bale puts the hankie away for a moment and takes on Boateng down the left. He gets to the byline and crosses, forcing Dante to turn it behind for a corner.
21.27 – 84 mins — SHOULD BE 1-1! Goetze pounces on a mixup at the back and only has Casillas to beat. That’s easier said than done when you’re talking about one of the best goalkeepers of a generation though.
21.30 – 87 mins – Bale tries to come back inside Dante to shoot but the Brazilian does well to force him wide and Bale’s shot hits the side-netting.
21.33 – 90 mins – We’re into the first of four minutes of stoppage time. Looks like Real will have a little cushion to take to the Allianz Arena next week.
21.35 – 90+1 mins — MASSIVE PENALTY SHOUT! Bayern are up in arms. They think Muller was dragged down in the penalty area as he tried to swivel and shout. Howard Webb is having none of it. None of it.
Watching the replays, Xabi Alonso gets the ball and none of the man. Spot on, Mr Webb.
21.36 – The whistles ring out around the Bernabeu…
21.36 – FULL TIME: Real Madrid 1-0 Bayern Munich
21.40 – Well now, that leaves us nicely poised for next week’s second leg. Bayern had lots and lots and lots of possession but very few clear cut chances and instead, it was one killer counter-attack by Real Madrid that settled this one.
It wasn’t a classic by any means but it was better than last night so at least we’ve got that much.
Thanks for reading.