When Bayern Munich lost 1-0 against Real Madrid last week, even though they controlled the game with the majority of the possession, it was clear to everybody that they could not win the tie if they were to be that predictable and toothless once again in the second leg. Well, they were that toothless in this game, but even more critically, they were defenseless too.
Madrid won the game 4-0 and now advance to the Champions League final, and that was not a scoreline which flattered them at all. The game was presumed to be the speed vs. the precision, the athletes vs. the technicians, but in reality, Madrid were more than dominant in every area of the game. And although Bayern have lacked a cutting edge lately, it was their defending which really let them down this time.
Madrid scored three goals from set pieces, but it was the first two which were the real killers for Munich. Sergio Ramos scored with two unmarked headers within the first 20 minutes as Bayern allowed him to roam the box, find space and attack the ball to score. It was criminal defending from Bayern considering the size of the game and the magnitude of the occasion and they got what they deserved for it — they were virtually out even that early in the game.
All game in open play, Madrid counter attacked at pace and it wasn’t a surprise to anybody, or it certainly shouldn’t have been, but Bayern struggled right from the start. The fact that it was not those counter attacks which hurt them early on, it was basic set piece defending, was a surprise and something Bayern could ill afford to allow.
The third goal, scored by Cristiano Ronaldo, was indeed a counter attack and the exact type of goal you expected Bayern to struggle with, but the truth is, they struggled with a lot more than just that. The free-kick scored by Ronaldo late in the game to make it 4-0 just put the icing on the cake.
Bayern still have a domestic cup final to play against Borussia Dortmund next month, but after what the season had promised a few months ago, that may well seem like a slight letdown by comparison. If they play like they have done recently, there’s a chance they may not even get that and although the season will be a good one regardless, it could really have been so much better.