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Three takeaways from Bayern Munich 2-2 Real Madrid

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Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

The Champions League semifinal between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich kicked off late on Tuesday night at the Allianz Arena, and the 90 minutes that followed had fans on the edge of their seats.

There was not a moment of calm between the opening and concluding whistles between the European giants and both sides tried to do one better with waves of incessant attacks.

Los Blancos earned the early lead through Vinicius Jr, but two quick-fire goals in the second period helped the hosts propel themselves back into the lead.

It was only a late penalty in the 82nd minute that enabled Carlo Ancelotti’s side to salvage the draw and return home without staring at a deficit.

Madrid Universal brings you three takeaways from Bayern Munich 2-2 Real Madrid.

Tough day for the defence

If Real Madrid’s 210 minutes against Manchester City proved to be a real test for the defence, last night’s clash against Bayern Munich was not any simpler.

On the night, Carlo Ancelotti made the understandable decision of starting Eder Militao on the bench with Antonio Rudiger and Nacho Fernandez in central defence. Lucas Vazquez and Ferland Mendy completed the defensive lineup.

From the get-go, Bayern pressed high in attack and looked to create inroads on goal. Thomas Tuchel’s side were threatening in possession, with their wingers particularly creating trouble for Real Madrid.

Leroy Sane quite clearly dominated the flank against Lucas Vazquez with a combination and his pace and trickery. He completed four successful dribbles with 100% accuracy, missed one big chance, provided a key pass and scored a sensational solo goal.

On the left, meanwhile, Mendy was put to a stern test against Jamal Musiala. The phenom did Sane one better, completing five dribbles, attracting four fouls, providing a key pass and winning a crucial penalty for his side.

The centre-backs’ suffering was no less on the night and Harry Kane and Thomas Muller kept them on their feet constantly.

Kane was accurate in the box, taking two shots on target, two off target, providing a stunning three key passes and creating one chance in addition to his goal from the penalty spot.

The star boy

While Bayern Munich’s attacks on the night involved a well-orchestrated buildup from all players in the final third, Real Madrid’s story was starkly different.

Real Madrid’s main man. (Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

Los Blancos were driven more by individual brilliance than by a collective effort, especially given that Jude Bellingham and Rodrygo were far from their best on the night.

The two players who stepped up at the Allianz arena, quite unsurprisingly, were Vinicius Jr and Toni Kroos.

Vinicius was a force to reckon with on the counter, and perhaps the team’s best player on the field by some distance. He got into a lovely scoring chance in the first half after Kroos’ defence-dissecting pass and made no mistake in taking his chance.

The forward then played a massive role in winning the late penalty for his side, accurately finding Rodrygo in the box, leading the foul on his compatriot.

Kroos, meanwhile, dictated the game against his former side from deep in midfield. His pass to set up Vini’s opener oozed class in every sense, and he came very close to scoring a goal of his own from long-range only to be denied by Manuel Neuer.

The Bernabeu awaits

Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have played in the semifinal of the UEFA Champions League eight times, with the Germans edging ahead by winning four of the previous seven times. Real Madrid, notably, have won their last two meetings at this juncture.

The eighth meeting, through its first instalment, justified the tag of why the Spanish-German clash is the most played semifinal fixture in history. 90 minutes at the Allianz Arena could not determine a victor, but the game at the Bernabeu certainly will.

In a week, Real Madrid play host to Tuchel’s side at the Santiago Bernabeu in what will be a game to remember. Irrespective of the result, it will be Los Blancos’ final UCL game at the stadium this season, and one can expect a ferocious atmosphere.

Having done it the hard way against Manchester City, the Merengues will be pleased to enjoy the home advantage for the all-important second leg.

With nothing separating them at the halfway stage, there will be everything to play for in a week’s time. As a must-win fixture for both sides and a Champions League finale berth at stake, expect fireworks in Madrid.

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Features

Three talking points ahead of Villarreal vs Real Madrid

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Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

Jude Bellingham, Vinicius Jr, Federico Valverde and Arda Guler were all on target when Real Madrid demolished Deportivo Alaves by a 5-0 scoreline midweek.

The win at the Santiago Bernabeu took the team to 93 points in La Liga, with the champion status already earned. The target now, however, is to reach the magical number of 99 points.

Tomorrow, Los Blancos step on the field for their penultimate league clash of the season as they lock horns against Villarreal.

Their opponents, currently placed eighth in the league, are fighting for a place in Europe and must win tomorrow at Estadio de La Ceramica if they are to remain in the race.

Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Villarreal vs Real Madrid.

Can Bellingham maintain the steam?

Jude Bellingham’s dip in form towards the end of the season raised many concerns in the Real Madrid offices over his fitness and physical state. A mini ‘pre-season’ was said to be in the manager’s plan, especially keeping Bellingham’s recovery in mind.

The young midfielder, however, started the team’s game against Deportivo Alaves once more despite rumours of him being rested and dished out a classic on the night. His performance, in many senses, was one that announced his return to form.

In 90 minutes against Alaves, Bellingham scored one goal and provided two assists as the game ended 5-0 in Real Madrid’s favour.

Furthermore, the former Borussia Dortmund star recorded a staggering 121 touches, 99 passes, six key passes and created one big chance. He also completed four dribbles on the night and participated in eight defensive actions.

It thus becomes a serious question ahead of tomorrow’s clash as to how Carlo Ancelotti plans on managing Bellingham’s minutes.

The obvious approach would be to field the youngster from the start and reward his improved performance at the weekend. Concurrently, however, there is concern over the midfielder being overused which inhibits the manager from such a move.

Will Bellingham start against Villarreal or will the likes of Brahim Diaz or Arda Guler get a deserved start? Only time will tell.

Lunin’s heroic exit

Thibaut Courtois’ injury before the commencement of the new season left Real Madrid with a crisis in goal. The repercussions of the blow, however, were not as dire as expected courtesy of Andriy Lunin’s exceptional performances.

Lunin could play his final game of the season vs Villarreal. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Despite starting the campaign behind Kepa Arrizabalaga on the pecking order, the Ukrainian international has done enough to become the team’s primary goalkeeper across all competitions.

Only Courtois’ return last month displaced him from the starting lineup as the manager prioritised bringing the Belgian superstar back to full fitness.

Real Madrid now plan on starting Courtois for the big UCL final at Wembley next month.

While unfair on Lunin who deserves the start, one cannot blame Ancelotti for relying on the player who single-handedly kept the team in the game the last time they featured in a European final.

With Courtois set to start against Real Betis and Borrusia Dortmund, tomorrow could well be Lunin’s final game of the season for Real Madrid and the 25-year-old will look to depart with a bang.

Momentum is paramount

Real Madrid have already been crowned the champions of La Liga, and every game that remains in the competition at this point only serves as a practice encounter for the big challenge that lies ahead.

Los Blancos take on Borussia Dortmund in the finale of the UCL early next month, and only two games remain before the season-defining encounter. A lot, needless to say, will depend on how Ancelotti manages his squad for the two matches that lie ahead.

Considering that the calendar is no longer as hectic as it was a month ago, the manager could well field his best XI against Villarreal aiming to keep the momentum going for his side. After all, it is paramount at this stage in the season.

At the same time, however, the manager must rotate his squad ahead to give fringe players some deserved minutes and balance the playing time of regular starters.

Los Blancos, at this point, are unbeaten in 23 games across all competitions and have the momentum fairly on their side. Maintaining it with a positive result tomorrow irrespective of the final decision on the extent of rotations will thus be crucial for the Merengues.

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