The Champions League is back and the first fixture tonight is a sumptuous one. Real Madrid and Bayern Munich face off in the second leg of the quarterfinals and the elite European competition cannot ask for a bigger encounter than this.
A Cristiano Ronaldo brace saw Real Madrid earn a 2-1 win at the Allianz Arena after Arturo Vidal opened the scoring but then turned villain with an embarrassing penalty miss.
A blockbuster second leg beckons and Bayern Munich received the best news possible with Robert Lewandowski all fit to lead the charge against defending champions. He has a history with Los Blancos as he smashed four goals against them in a game for Borussia Dortmund back in 2013.
Both teams also rested several of their first team starters in the weekend league games to ensure they are ready for tonight’s high-intensity bout.
Real Madrid suffered a huge blow after Gareth Bale was ruled out of tonight’s clash with an ankle issue. He missed the game against Sporting Gijon and is also expected to miss the much awaited El Clasico.
After a match winning performance against Gijon, Isco is set to be named as a replacement for Bale. Central defenders Pepe and Raphael Varane are still out, which means the pair of Sergio Ramos and Nacho will start the second leg.
Bayern Munich welcome Robert Lewandowski in the starting lineup with manager Carlo Ancelotti confirming that the Polish striker has trained with the team and will start up front for the Bavarians. Munich are also sweating on the fitness of Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng as both the defenders are doubtful for tonight’s clash and face a late fitness test.
If both of them miss out, Bayern Munich will have to play Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba as the central defenders. Javi Martinez is out of contention because of his red card in the first leg.
Real Madrid come into this game after winning their last league game 3-2 against Sporting Gijon whereas Bayern Munich drew 0-0 against their bogey team, Bayer Leverkusen. Statistics are not favouring the Bavarians as the last five teams, who lost the first leg 2-1 have been dumped out of the competition.
Real Madrid have won the last 34 games out of 40 at the Bernabeu and have scored in each of their last 34 matches at home.
These teams have played a record 17 times against one another in the Champions League era and both have progressed to the next stage of the knockout phase five times each.
But the worrying thing for Bayern Munich coming into this game is that they have lost eight out of the last 10 matches at the Santiago Bernabeu. The Bavarians have also lost the last five meetings in Madrid and their last victory came back in 2001.
Real Madrid: W-W-D-W-W
Bayern Munich: D-L-W-L-W
Timing – Wednesday, 19th April, 12:15 AM IST
Venue – Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
Referee – Viktor Kassai (He was the first referee to award a penalty after using video replay technology in Club World Cup 2016)
Real Madrid – Navas, Carvajal, Nacho, Ramos, Marcelo, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Isco, Benzema, Ronaldo.
Bayern Munich – Neuer, Lahm, Boateng, Hummels, Alaba, Xabi Alonso, Vidal, Thiago, Robben, Lewandowski, Ribery.