Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich: live stream Champions League football online or watch on TV with BT Sport, Fox Sports
Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich
Uefa Champions League semi-final, 2nd leg
Tuesday, May 1, 2018, 2:45 PM ET | Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
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Bayern Munich v Real Madrid: Match preview
Champions League semi-final ties simply don’t come any bigger than this.
It’s a titanic clash between two of world football’s genuine aristocrats, who boast 17 Champions League/European Cup trophies between them.
It is also the most played fixture in the history of the competition, with Wednesday’s first leg set to be their 25th meeting.
Just consider this snapshot of the glittering A-list cast that will take the Allianz Arena stage.
Cristiano Ronaldo. Robert Lewandowski. Gareth Bale. Thomas Muller. Toni Kroos. James Rodriguez (against his parent club, no less). Luka Modric. Arjen Robben. Sergio Ramos. Franck Ribery. Karim Benzema. Thiago Alcantara. Isco.
The list could go on.
It’s a genuinely thrilling prospect, particularly if last year’s epic quarter-final collision between the sides is anything to go by.
Real eventually emerged as 6-3 aggregate victors, but not before being pushed to the limit by a game Bayern.
Trailing 2-1 from the first leg in Germany, the Bundesliga giants forced extra-time with a win by the same scoreline at the Bernabeu.
However, Arturo Vidal’s red card shortly before the end of normal time ultimately proved their undoing.
Real’s numerical advantage eventually allowed Ronaldo to complete a hat-trick with two goals in the additional 30 minutes, with Marco Asensio putting the cherry on the cake.
An equally intriguing factor in this latest meeting is that neither side has been so dominant in this year’s competition as to suggest the outcome can be viewed in any way as a formality.
Real are aiming for a remarkable hat-trick of European titles but have struggled badly in La Liga, failed to shine in the group stages and appear dangerously over-reliant on Ronaldo.
The manner in which Zinedine Zidane’s men almost blew a 3-0 quarter-final first-leg lead against Juventus – eventually being spared extra-time by Ronaldo’s late penalty at the Bernabeu – was startling in the extreme.
Bayern, meanwhile, have progressed through the competition with typical authority (albeit as runners-up to PSG in the group stages) but to no overwhelming critical fanfare.
Their gritty 2-1 aggregate success over Sevilla in the last eight was consistent with the largely unspoken but seemingly widely held view that they are an aging team who are unlikely to go all the way this year.
The Bavarians will certainly need to improve on their recent showings against Madrid if they are to reach a first final since 2013, when boss Jupp Heynckes guided them to victory over Borussia Dortmund at Wembley.
Real, after all, have won each of the past five meetings.
Yet despite the weight of history in his favour, Zidane is taking nothing for granted.
“I have no doubts that mentally we will be at 150 per cent tomorrow,” he said.
“I don’t think there are any favourites. It’s a semi-final – it’s completely different to last season. It’s a different match, we can’t compare the two.
“I have huge respect for what Jupp Heynckes has achieved at Bayern and Real Madrid. I can only repay the compliments to him.
“We will need a big performance against a strong opponent. Bayern are a great club with great team spirit.”
Real’s huge wobble against Juventus – particularly the way they struggled to deal with crosses – will provide plenty of encouragement to Heynckes as he plots his former side’s downfall.
The German, of course, also delivered the Champions League for Real in 1998, and was promptly sacked eight days later.
Far too much water has passed under the bridge for the wily 72-year-old to still have a major axe to grind with the club.
But he would surely love to remove arguably the largest remaining obstacle in his personal quest to join Carlo Ancelotti and Bob Paisley as the only men to have won this competition three times as a manager.
What a story that would be for a man who, lest we forget, came out of retirement just six months ago to answer the Bayern call for a fourth time following Ancelotti’s departure.
“I adore football and, if I do a job, I do it 100 per cent,” he said.
“These are the games you work for and lots of coaches never get the chance to play one of these in their lives. I came back at a very old age and now I have the privilege of being successful again, reaching a semi-final and possibly going through to the final.
“I am confident. Football has changed but my style of leadership, my approach, hasn’t.
“The game has progressed but in the end they are still people out on the pitch, people with different personalities and feelings.”
Ronaldo will, of course, have other ideas as he aims to extend his astonishing record of scoring in every Champions League game this season.
With 15 goals already chalked up in the first ten fixtures, he now has his record haul of 17 in 2013/14 firmly within his cross-hairs.
That naturally spells bad news for Bayern. Can they somehow muzzle him and carve out a lead to take to Madrid?
Make sure you join us live from 7pm on Wednesday to find out.