Real Madrid have the opportunity to be the first team to advance to the UEFA Champions League final when they travel to Germany to play against Bayern Munich on Tuesday night in the second leg of the semi-final at the Allianz Arena.
The visitors have a 1-0 advantage going into the second leg, after striker Karim Benzema scored the solitary goal in the 19th minute of the first leg last Wednesday very much against the tide of the game.
Bayern pressed till the last minute and had 72% total possession of the ball but could not find a way through the Madrid defence.
Despite the disadvantage, the home team would find comfort in their superior home record against Real in which they have won nine of their last ten matches, drawing the other.
Manager Pep Guardiola knows Real Madrid inside out and would come out with all guns blazing to be the first team to defend the Champions League title since AC Milan in the 1990 season.
The home side has been severely criticized for taking the foot off the pedal since winning the Bundesliga and would be looking to prove their critics wrong. Mario Gotze, Thomas Muller and Javi Martinez may be recalled by the manager to the starting line-up.
The visitors would be rueing the chances missed by talisman Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria in the first leg, which would have helped Madrid have a much bigger lead going into the second leg.
Gareth Bale and Benzema were rested in the weekend’s clash against Osasuna in the Spanish La Liga. Ronaldo scored either side of the half-time break, and goals from Sergio Ramos and Daniel Carvajal gave Real a 4-0 win and put extra pressure on league leaders Atletico Madrid, who play Chelsea in the other semi-final second leg on Wedneday night.
Madrid have hit a low in their away form after losing two of their last three matches, including the quarter-final against Borussia Dortmund. However, the presence of Ronaldo might provide the visitors with added dynamism in front of goal, and take them to their first Champions League final in 12 years.
Bale’s entry into the starting line-up on Tuesday night might come at the expense of Isco. Iker Casillas will be expected to retain his place in the goal instead of Diego Lopez.