How Bayern Munich can overcome Real Madrid in second leg of Champions League semifinal

Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich
Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich / Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages
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The actual gameplan

Real Madrid have shown time and time again that they are the kings of the sucker punch in tight games. Against the likes of Manchester City and RB Leipzig, the Spanish giants were willing to concede possession to the opposition and then strike on the counter with deadly effect.

This time around it will be significantly different as the Spaniards will be playing at home. This scenario will likely result in the game evolving into a chess match of sorts. In front of their home crowd, Real Madrid will be urged on to get the job done as early as possible, which is the opposite to how they tend to approach big games. A brave approach from them would mean a more open game which could result in more goalscoring opportunities for both teams.

On the other hand, Bayern Munich’s DNA suggests attacking play by speeding up the tempo. Thomas Tuchel's side would initially need to curb that approach and instead focus on keeping it tight in midfield and defense. The longer the game goes on without a goal, the longer the tie remains open. The game can be won in regulation time, extra time or on penalty kicks. Tuchel has shown over the years, similar to Carlo Ancelotti, that he knows a thing or two about pulling off wins while playing proactively. Fans have to look back no further than 2021, when Chelsea defeated Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City 1-0 in the Champions League final.

That is not to say that Bayern should just sit back and soak up pressure. Whilst defending narrow to provide a solid spine between Manuel Neuer in goal and Harry Kane in attack, the Bavarians will need to pick the right moments to swiftly and decisively launch attacks, preferably by playing vertical balls to Harry Kane who can release the speedy wizards like Jamal Musiala, and Leroy Sané. The Bavarian faithful will be hoping that Gnabry, Sané and Musiala can start together on Wednesday. With this trio, Bayern can be a lethal counter-attacking team.

When the counter-attack is not on, Bayern must be content to recycle the play and not take unnecessary risks in possession. If the game is to be won by Bayern, the winning goal, in open play, is quite likely to come from one of the four attackers. The midfielders and defenders would have to be resolute whilst waiting for the frontmen to win the game. Other than that, both Matthijs De ligt and Eric Dier are aerial threats on corners and select set-pieces. Both De ligt and Dier will have to use their heads in more ways than one on Wednesday. The Bavarian faithful can only hope that Dier’s head wound doesn’t reopen during the second leg.