What: Champions League Semi-final (second leg)
Who: Real Madrid (1) versus Bayern Munich (2) (First leg score in brackets)
When: Wednesday 25th April, 2012, at 19:45 UK time
Where: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain

Anything is Possible

It was the unthinkable, the feat that nobody even dared to mention. Real Madrid headed to the Camp Nou on Saturday night with a four-point advantage in La Liga, knowing that 75% of their lead would be slashed should Barcelona win the much-awaited Clasico. Instead, it was Jose Mourinho’s men who left Catalonia with a 2-1 final score, expanding the lead to seven points and all but wrapping a 32nd league title with four games to spare.

Now, Los Blancos have another test when they face visiting side Bayern Munich, knowing that they trail by a single goal after their 2-1 defeat last Tuesday.

It was poor defending that cost Real Madrid what was looking to be a beneficial 1-1 away scoreline in the first leg, as Fabio Coentrao was easily beaten by Philipp Lahm, who lashed in an easy cross that found its way into the net of Iker Casillas.

At home though Mourinho’s men hope the story will be different. And Los Blancos star Cristiano Ronaldo believes playing at the Bernabeu will hand his side a substantial advantage.

"I expect the Bernabeu to score the first goal. The crowd has to play the most important role as soon as we step onto the pitch because we can feel it”, said the man who scored the winner in El Clasico at the weekend.

“Things will turn out well if we stand united. It will be a decisive match and we players are more confident when we feel the affection of our supporters. We feel we can do even better.”

Good Mood

Similar to their match against Los Blancos, Bayern Munich clinched a last-minute winner against Werder Bremen at the weekend to win 2-1, after having been 1-0 down. A good result it may have been, but the Bundesliga title was officially sealed by Borussia Dortmund as the Ruhr side defeated Borussia Monchengladbach later that same day. Nonetheless, the win will serve die Roten well as they face a very motivated and ready-to-go Real Madrid outfit.

More important perhaps, is that whatever problem occurred between Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben in the dressing room in the first leg has been put to rest with a handshake between the two wingers. Now coach Jupp Heynckes feels confident ahead of the team’s trip south.

"We go to Madrid full of confidence and belief, because we’re always capable of scoring away from home. I’m optimistic about Madrid, and so are my players”, commented the former Bayer Leverkusen boss.

Knowing that a 2-1 lead cannot be defended at the Bernabeu, Bayern Munich will seek to attack the home side, according to first leg match-winner Mario Gomez. “A 2-1 win is a dangerous result, but we’re always good for a goal with the strength we have up front.”

However things might prove to be difficult for Gomez this time around, as Sergio Ramos and Pepe go into this match on a high after their very good display against Barcelona.

Recent form

Real Madrid:
Real Madrid 3-1 Sporting Gijon (14/04; La Liga)
Bayern Munich 2-1 Real Madrid (17/04; Champions League)
Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid (21/04; La Liga)

Bayern Munich:
Bayern Munich 0-0 Mainz (14/07; Bundesliga)
Bayern Munich 2-1 Real Madrid (17/04; Champions League)
Werder Bremen 1-2 Bayern Munich (21/04; Bundesliga)

Key absences

Real Madrid: Ricardo Carvalho

Bayern Munich: Breno; Daniel van Buyten; Rouven Sattelmaier

Players to watch

Real Madrid – Cristiano Ronaldo: The Portugal captain stepped up when his club needed him most against Barcelona, scoring the eventual winner minutes after Alexis Sanchez’s equaliser. With his team now facing the prospect of continental elimination, Ronaldo will need to rise up once more.

Bayern Munich – Arjen Robben: The player will be jeered by the home crowd whenever he touches the ball on the night, after ending his Spanish stay on a sour note with Real Madrid – though for reasons beyond his own control. Robben will hope to show his former employers what they are missing.

Match Prediction

The win over Barcelona at the mythical Camp Nou has given Mourinho’s Real Madrid momentum and hefty motivation as they attempt to book a plane ticket back to Munich for the Champions League final. Both sides have excelled in this competition, but expect the Clasico factor to help the home team on the night. Real Madrid 2-0 Bayern Munich.

Will momentum carry Mourinho’s men through Real Madrid v Bayern Munich? Who do you think will win? Make sure you visit OLBG for tips and to compare the current odds and betting markets available at all the important bookmakers.