One of the most electrifying match ups in recent memory lies just hours away as Real Madrid and Bayern Munich wait to clash at the Santiago Bernabéu in the First Leg of the Champions League Semi Final. Bayern have looked virtually unbeatable this year, already clinching the 2014 Bundesliga title while holding an incredible 17 point lead over 2nd place Dortmund.
With former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola at the helm, Bayern are starting to play more and more like the Barca of old. The difference being, that this Tiki-Taka style of play has a different spin to it. With Pep’s Barcelona, there sometimes lacked that attacking spark, when teams would pack 8, 9, or even 10 defenders behind the ball. But with Pep’s Bayern, there seems to be a different dynamic. Just as they start to lull teams to sleep with the small precision passes, you see Robben and Ribery take off down the wings with electrifying speed. And just as they pick their heads up to whip in pinpoint crosses, they are met by Mandzukic and Muller (who have combined for 51 goals this season) who couldn’t seem to miss if they tried.
But as great as this attacking combination is, every top team only goes as far as their defensive rock. This is the player who usually sits just behind the attacking midfielders and in this case, you have Bastian Schweinsteiger. The Bayern Co-Captain is the key ingredient to Bayern’s success. Not only responsible for locking down the opposing teams best central midfielder, the Bayern #31 shows world class versatility with his long range goals and devastating through balls.
And just as you thought it couldn’t get better…it does. Between the pipes sits one of the world’s top goalkeepers, Manuel Neuer. And in front of him sits an unbelievably talented backline. Alaba, Dante, Boateng, and Lahm average a ridiculous 0.65 goals conceded per game in the German Bundesliga.
Real Madrid are no slouch, but they better come prepared, because they are about to face one of the most complete teams to ever have played in the Champions League.