Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid: Match preview
Bayern Munich host Real Madrid in first leg of the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League 2017-18 season on Wednesday. Bayern defeated Sevilla 2-1 in the quarters, bringing their defensive game into highlight. Real, meanwhile, got past the line in injury time with a 4-3 aggregate score against Juventus. Now the two familiar sides will battle to book their spot in final at Kiev.
Bayern have a number of issues in terms of team selection. The experienced left-back David Alaba would undergo a late match fitness test. Rising midfielder Corentin Tolisso's participation is also in doubt. If Alaba is ruled out, then Rafinha will be his replacement. James Rodriguez could come in for Tolisso. Real are injury free at the moment and have the full squad.
The Portuguese is the main threat to the Bavarians as he has been in to many teams during the knockout stages in the Champions League over the years. CR7 has played a crucial role in Real's three titles in four years. Bayern remember last season's humiliation when Ronaldo scored five of the six goals in Real's 6-3 win in the quarter-finals over the hosts.
Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes played down Ronaldo's impact saying they too have Robert Lewandowski. Though he acknowledged CR7 is a huge topic for them. Real boss had a positive analysis saying they will try to score knowing anything can happen on the pitch.
The 12-time Champions League winners have thrived in these matches and know Bayern well. Zidane's side will be hoping that they can come from Germany on a positive note. The task will be to score and given their away form against PSG and Juventus in the previous rounds, Real have the edge. They have all bases covered and players are enjoying rich form.
Bayern and Real have a history and the familiarity sees them square up for the 25th time in the Champions League. Since 2011-12 this is the third occasion these two sides will be meeting in the semis. Bayern have also lost each of the last five matches against Real in the UCL. Ronaldo has scored in each of his last 11 UCL matches.
It's going to be a tough match with both sides in good form. Given Real's dominance over Bayern in recent seasons, they have the edge. With Ronaldo in the best of form, we expect Real will edge Bayern or at least score.