Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid: Match Preview, Team News, Key Players and Prediction
The reigning champions of Europe, Real Madrid, will travel to Allianz Arena to take on the German giants Bayern Munich in the all-important first leg of the second UEFA Champions League semi-final.
The wounds from last year's quarterfinals will still feel fresh to the Bundesliga champions and revenge will be on their minds as their famous adversaries pay them a visit tonight. Bayern and Real Madrid will be meeting for an incredible 7th time in the UEFA Champions League semifinal.
Real Madrid have had the last laugh more often than not, winning the tie on 5 occasions. However, Bayern will want to make use of the home advantage and pile the pressure on Zinedine Zidane's men who are looking to make it to their third consecutive Champions League final.
Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have had to fend off top competition to get to this stage. Bayern scraped past Sevilla with a scoreline of 2-1. Meanwhile, Real Madrid played out one of the most riveting second legs of this season with Juventus and just about got the better of the Old Lady after a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty in the very last minute won them the tie.
This is as high-profile as Champions League nights get and there is no doubt that this will be an absolute cracker of a match.
David Alaba, who did not take a part in the final training session on Tuesday due to a thigh strain will face a late fitness test and Bayern will be hoping that he'll get cleared to strut his stuff against Zizou's men.
Rafinha will replace Alaba in case he is ruled out of tonight's match. Corentin Tolisso featuring is still not a certainty but James Rodriguez will most likely be let out to torment his parent club after being used as a substitute in the weekend game against Hannover.
Though Manuel Neuer has returned to training, it is highly unlikely that he will feature for Heynckes' unit.
Zinedine Zidane's men have had ample time to rest and relax and are all set and ready to go all out at the Allianz Arena tonight. Zinedine Zidane has his entire squad to choose from with even defender Nacho returning to training ahead of the semifinal. But he is unlikely to play even if he is healthy enough to feature.
Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid: Probable Lineups
Bayern Munich: Sven Ulreich; Joshua Kimmich, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Rafinha; Javi Martinez, James Rodriguez, Thiago Alcantara, Arjen Robben, Thomas Muller; Robert Lewandowski
Real Madrid: Keylor Navas; Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Marcelo; Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Isco; Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo
Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid: Key Players
James Rodriguez will be Bayern's main man going forward. He has been immense for Bayern this season and he will pull out all stops to make sure he sends a message to Real Madrid for parting with him last summer.
As for Real Madrid, the key man will be Cristiano Ronaldo. I mean, who else could it be? He has been scoring goals for fun in the Champions League and the incredible athlete that he is, it wouldn't be right to expect anything different from the Portuguese genius.
Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid: Prediction
I get the feeling that somehow the Champions League is gradually becoming no big thang as far as the Madrid are concerned. On top of that, this is a fixture that they have dominated in the recent past. Though the match is at Allianz Arena, I expect Real Madrid to bag this one.
Predicted Scoreline: Bayern Munich 1-2 Real Madrid