Soccer

Champions League: Can Real Madrid Turn It Around Against Bayern Munich?

Like Barcelona, Real Madrid enter the second leg a goal behind. Unlike Barcelona, Real scored an away goal in Munich. One goal does not force them to score three, though Real Madrid should try to do that anyway.

How Was Your Weekend: Real Madrid dumped Barcelona 2-1 at home and sealed their Primera Liga title. Bayern, locked into second-place in the Bundesliga, fielded a gutted starting XI away against Werder Bremen and pulled out a late 2-1 win.

Home/Away: Real Madrid can ship goals at home, but only because they open up play and score far more. Los Blancos are 5-0 in Europe at the Bernabeu and have outscored opponents 22-5 in those matches. Bayern have been okay on the road. They have a 2-2-1 record with a 5-4 margin in their favor. The Germans, it should be noted, played a tougher group.

Tactics: The first leg flipped what was expected. Bayern sat Thomas Muller and built play through a solid, deeper-lying three-man central midfield. Real Madrid kept Ozil in an advanced role instead of playing a third central midfielder. This backfired. Madrid got overrun in the middle. A better game from Mario Gomez and the disparity could have been greater. Both teams field the same formations today, except for Real Madrid left back Fabio Coentrao. The Portuguese got torched by Robben in the first leg. He’ll be replaced by Marcelo.

He’s Staying: Jose Mourinho has stated his intention to stay at Real Madrid through next season. Whether that’s an improvement in his relationship with the club or displeasure with his present options in England is uncertain.

Prediction: We had 3-2 Real Madrid on agg before the first leg. We suspect there might be more goals here. Same result. More excitement. 4-3 Real Madrid on aggregate.

[Photo via Getty]

Previously: Real Madrid Must Win the Champions League to Dislodge Barcelona

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