Real rocks Bayern's treble dreams
Thomas Mueller admits Bayern Munich’s treble dreams received a rough reality check at the hands of Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League.
Bayern left itself with everything to do in the second leg in Madrid on Tuesday after losing its home semifinal 1-2 at the Allianz Arena in Munich.
Bayern has only rarely being tested by its domestic rivals this season.
“We were too naive, we had several very, very good chances and in the Bundesliga, we say ‘thank you,’” said Bayern’s captain, who squandered several opportunities himself on Wednesday.
“Perhaps the importance of the game played a role.”
Bayern wrapped up a sixth straight Bundesliga title 3 weeks ago and has reached the German Cup final on May 19.
Yet an off-key Real managed to all but burst Bayern’s treble dreams. “I have rarely seen a Madrid team which allowed so many chances, that’s why we won’t give up,” said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes.
Real inched closer to a third straight UCL final after Marco Asensio’s winner capped its comeback win, yet Real was below-par by its own admission.
“Bayern were perhaps the better team, that was an average performance from us, it must be said,” conceded Real’s ex-Bayern midfielder Toni Kroos.
Nevertheless, Mueller is optimistic for the return leg.
“We won there last season,” said the Germany forward of the quarterfinal away leg last year when Bayern led 2-1 after 90 minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu to force extra time, but then conceded 3 goals to Cristiano Ronaldo to lose 2-4 to bow out.
“Real is definitely vulnerable. We need a different killer’s mentality.”
To compound Bayern’s problems, Arjen Robben and Jerome Boateng are doubtful for the return leg after coming off injured in a frantic opening 30 minutes.
While Mueller, Franck Ribery and Robert Lewandowski failed to convert clear chances, Real snatched its opportunities with ice-cold finishing.
After Joshua Kimmich’s stunning strike for the hosts, Real drew level on 44 minutes when Marcelo conjured a goal from nothing.
Daniel Carvajal whipped in a cross and all eyes in the Bayern defense were on Real’s goal-machine Ronaldo.
Instead, Marcelo smashed the ball into Bayern’s net with a wicked left-footed shot.
Then Rafinha, in at left-back for Bayern’s injured David Alaba, lost possession and Asensio finished the counter-attack on 57 minutes.
Real claimed its sixth win in a row against Bayern in the knockout stages of the UCL.
Ronaldo, who has hit 15 UCL goals in 2017/18, failed to score for the first time in a European match this season.
A disallowed offside effort in the second-half was all the superstar had to show. He hit 5 goals over 2 legs against Bayern in last season’s 6-3 win.
Niklas Suele, who came on for Boateng in the first half, said Bayern let Real off the hook.
“If we had won 5-2, Real couldn’t have complained,” said the burly center-back.
Real coach Zinedine Zidane says his team must heed the lessons from its Juventus scare — losing 1-3 in Madrid after routing the hosts 3-0 in Turin in the last round.
“We will have to fight in the second leg, nothing is decided, that showed in the second leg against Juventus,” said Zidane.
In more woes for Bayern, UEFA has charged the club for 2 fan incidents during the game.
UEFA said its disciplinary panel will study an “illicit” anti-UEFA banner displayed at the game and a “field invasion” by fans after the match.
The case will be judged on May 31, five days after the final.