Real Madrid 2-2 Bayern Munich: 3 things that went right for Los Blancos
Final score: Real Madrid 2-2 Bayern Munich (4-3 on aggregate)
Following Real Madrid's 2-1 victory in the first leg of the tie at the Allianz Arena, which saw them score two crucial away goals, Los Blancos welcomed Bayern Munich to the Santiago Bernabeu in what was always expected to be a feisty affair.
The hosts entered the clash as clear favourites, predominantly due to the fact that they were playing at home, their fortress. On the other hand, the Bavarians had their task cut out for them and there was only one way they could afford to play - no holds barred.
Joshua Kimmich plunged a large section of the stadium into a stunned momentarily lull when he made the most of a poor clearance from Sergio Ramos to beat Keylor Navas in just the 3rd minute of the game.
Madrid soon dampened the visitors' spirits as Marcelo marauded down the left flank in the 11th minute before letting rip a blinder of a cross that fell sweetly to Karim Benzema who did his bit to find the back of the net.
However, instead of shutting Bayern Munich down, the goal only seemed to spur them on as Jupp Heynckes' men threw in attack after attack, albeit with little success before Benzema returned to the scoresheet, doubling Bayern's misery as he was alert enough to capitalise on a shocking error committed by goalkeeper Sven Ulreich just a minute into the second half.
Bayern Munich's loan signing, James Rodriguez, kept the visitors in the game with his 63rd-minute equaliser against parent club, Real Madrid, but in the end, the mountain proved to be a little too steep for the Germans to scale, coming close but failing to upset the Spanish giants.
As Real Madrid proceed to yet another UEFA Champions League final in a bid to win a historic 3rd consecutive title, here is a look at 3 things that went right for Zinedine Zidane's men in the second leg of the semi-final against Bayern Munich:
#3 Karim Benzema's Champions League campaign-saving performance
Amid a relentless debate surrounding his significance in the Real Madrid side, Karim Benzema was entrusted with a slot at the top of the attack yet again, and unlike often this season, he didn't disappoint.
The 30-year-old scored what could potentially prove to be a pivotal brace in Real Madrid's hunt for the Champions League trophy, as he first put away Marcelo's cross to keep Bayern in check before subsequently giving Madrid the lead.
Notably, those two goals were the results of the only two shots Benzema took, but his goals weren't all that gave Madrid the edge. The Frenchman also made 4 successful dribbles, 1 tackle, 2 key passes, and was fairly solid in the air.
Zinedine Zidane has often inexplicably backed Benzema despite repeated failures. However, performances like these are bound to do a number of things - pay off the manager's trust, reaffirm his importance to the team, increase his confidence, and silence his haters - even if it's only temporarily.