It was a masterful away performance from Real Madrid, who took the field in Munich with a psychological past stigma of three semi-final defeats in a row in previous Champions League appearances. Arguably Bayern and Real were considered by football pundits as the most accomplished team entrants, who should ideally be contesting the League final. But alas, they don’t control the UEFA Champions League rules. For home fans, the 0-4 loss against the visitors from Madrid was benumbing. For the side as formidable as Bayern Munich, it was one of the heaviest home defeats in recent memory, especially since the Bayern bosses had set their sight on traveling to Lisbon on May 24 to play either Chelsea FC or Atletico Madrid, who are slated to fight it out for the other final spot at London’s Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night. That will be an exciting event as well, after the two sides drew 0-0 level in the first leg.
Since Real had a 1-0 lead over the defending champions from the first leg, they jolly well knew the importance of the away goal. So obviously Bayern had a bit of a handicap to start with. As the match began in the 71000-capacity Allianz Arena in Munich city on Tuesday night, Real mounted pressure as the charismatic Karim Benzema moved quickly towards the Bayern box in the 5th minute but he was pulled up for off-side. A challenge on Fabio Coentrao by Bayern defender resulted in another free kick for Real in the 9th minute. Casillas’s free kick was on target and the Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer came out of the box to head the ball away. Bayern fans held their breath as the ball fell near Gareth Bale. It was a very close chance for Real but the Welshman was a shade too quick, as his sliced volley sailed over the bar even as the Bayern goal remained unguarded. In the 12th minute, Real had another potential opportunity when Angel Di Maria received a good cross from the right but Di Maria shot wide from the edge of the box.
Real did not have to wait long after two near possibilities. It all started with Karim Benzema, who got a pass in the box but his shot was cleared away by Bayern’s Dante. The resulting corner was taken by Luka Modric from the right side. The shot came too high for Cristiano Ronaldo, who jumped in vain. But on Ronaldo’s back Sergio Ramos was ready to produce a powerful header that went past Manuel Neuer into the goal. There were rapturous cheers from Real supporters in the stadium for this 12th minute strike, which simply translated to the reality, that in the remaining period of the match, Bayern must score three times to win. But four minutes later, Bayern’s chances worsened as Ramos struck yet again. In the 19th minute, Kroos committed a foul on Gareth Bale and Di Maria set the ball for a free kick, a minute later. Di Maria’s free kick came to Pepe, who headed a flick towards the diving Ramos to head again into the goal. It was now 2-0 for Real Madrid, one of the greatest of starts for Real in recent times and the fact that it came about in the crunch game was all the more important for Carlo Ancelotti, who celebrated wildly.
The early strikes by visitors left Bayern frozen. Bayern tried to press on, but the visitors were riding on their high spirits and they mounted one counterattack after another. Then came the gem of a goal from the joint efforts of Benzema, Bale and Ronaldo. Bale was fed by Benzema to race clear away from Bayern defense and didn’t try anything for himself. Instead, the Welshman found Ronaldo, who neatly slid the ball under Neuer to put Real 3-0 ahead with plenty of time still remaining. Ronaldo’ goal gave him a new mark for the highest tally of 15 goals in a single European Cup season.
After conceding a massive lead to the visitors, Bayern’s game deteriorated a bit despite the 64% ball possession. They committed more fouls than Real and suffered. Just at the final whistle, Ronaldo scored his second goal, when Kroos was penalized for a foul on Ronaldo, close to the box. The resulting free kick from Ronaldo was fired under the wall of jumping Bayern players and it sailed to the back of the net to make it 4-0 for Real Madrid. It was a magnificent end of a 12 year wait for Real Madrid CF but it left Bayern coach Josep Guardiola hugely disappointed.
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