Munich - They dominated possession and were the dominant side on paper, but in reality it was FC Bayern München that left the Santiago Bernabeu with the bitter taste of defeat in their mouths following a 1-0 reverse against Real Madrid CF in their UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg.

German international Toni Kroos referred to it as FC Bayern München's "best performance this season", while sporting director Matthias Sammer claimed he had "never seen a Bayern side dominate Real Madrid in that manner". However, the Bavarians left empty-handed and had the international press scrambling for their 'uphill struggle' headlines, in light of their bid to become the first side to defend the UEFA Champions League crown.

bundesliga.com rounds up the media reaction from around the globe...

Germany

BILD

Pep, your dream of defending the treble will come undone like that. It was a difficult defeat to swallow for FC Bayern, losing 1-0 in the first-leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid CF, because French bomber Karim Benzema was ice-cool in front of goal! Real did exactly what Pep Guardiola had warned they would do: threatening on the counter. Bayern were treading water […] it just didn’t work! Despite still laboring under the effects of an inflamed patella tendon, Franck Ribery (no shots on goal, 21 per cent of challenges won) remained in the shadow of World Footballer of the Year, Cristiano Ronaldo. In the end it resulted in a historic defeat for Pep Guardiola! The Spaniard has lost a game in Madrid for the first time in his eight years as a head coach.

kicker

The black beast fail to inject fear into Carlo Ancelotti’s men. FC Bayern München had to accept a 1-0 loss in their UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg against Real Madrid CF. Despite having an incredibly high amount of possession, die Münchener rarely provided a true threat in front of goal, while in contrast Madrid counter-attacked cleverly and decisively to swing the game in their favour through [Karim] Benzema. Only in the dying minutes did FCB come close to scoring through [Thomas] Müller and [Mario] Götze. Other than that Real had relatively few problems in seeing out the result.

Spain

AS

It’s not just the win. It’s also not the clean sheet. That’s relevant, though it’s nothing more than decent numbers. No, the fundamental thing is to have overcome a major problem, turned around a dire situation, to have recovered, got back into it, prevailed, frightened the opposition and to have been Madrid. Bayern will be hurt more by this blow than the goal they conceded or the one they failed to score. More than the result, what will weigh upon them is the feeling that they arrived on fire and left deflated.

Marca

Real Madrid will carry the advantage into the second leg of their Champions League semi-final thanks to a hard-fought 1-0 win over Bayern Munich on Wednesday night at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid. Karim Benzema's 19th-minute goal was the only goal between these two European giants, who appear to be staging another continental classic with a full 90 minutes to go next Tuesday in Munich's Allianz Arena.

United Kingdom

The Guardian

There was a moment in the Fondo Sur, where the most boisterous Madridistas banged their drums and orchestrated the loudest noise, when a huge banner was unfurled to read "Reyes de Europa". The nine-time winners have not lived up to that "Kings of Europe" reputation since Zinedine Zidane's volley at Hampden Park in 2002 but now, after years of hard-luck stories, near misses and frequent underachievement, the club of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale et al are one more good result away from their first Champions League final in 12 years.

That will not be straightforward, naturally, when the opposition are Bayern Munich, the outstanding club side in Europe over the past three seasons. Madrid, however, are entitled to feel they are the marginal favourites as they go into the return leg at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday, not just because of Karim Benzema's first-half strike but also the inability of their opponents to turn all their possession into the hard currency of goals. Bayern had far more of the ball, they just did not do a great deal with it. They played every kind of pass apart from the killer one and, for all their possession, they did not manage a really clear chance until the 84th minute.

Daily Mail

Beaten Philipp Lahm admits Bayern Munich could not contain Real Madrid's rapid counter-attacks during his side's 1-0 defeat to the Spanish side in Wednesday night's Champions League semi-final. Madrid were happy to allow the Bundesliga champions possession for large parts of the game at the Bernabeu - however the home side were resilient in defence and struck the decisive blow when Karim Benzema rounded off a swift break with the only goal of the game after 19 minutes. "We could not stop all of Real's quick breaks," Lahm told German broadcaster ZDF.

United States

Fox Soccer

Real Madrid will take a slim lead to Munich after a goal from Karim Benzema staked them to a 1-0 win over holders Bayern on Wednesday night in an enthralling encounter at the Santiago Bernabeu. It will not be all that Madrid hoped for, but with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale both ailing and far from 100 per cent, it was perhaps the best they could have mustered against a swarming German side that bossed the game but came away with nothing to show for it. This tie is hardly over.

Ireland

RTE

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola insisted he was proud of his team even though they lost the first leg of their Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid. The European champions had 72 percent of possession over the course of the game but were beaten by Karim Benzema's first-half goal, the result of a lightning-quick counter from Real. Carlo Ancelotti's side created more goalscoring chances than the visitors, and could have been 3-0 up at half-time had Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria taken their chances.

South Africa

SuperSport

Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola said his side had struggled to contain Real Madrid's pace on the counter-attack as Los Blancos secured a 1-0 advantage from the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday. Karim Benzema scored the only goal of the game on 19 minutes from one of a series of Madrid counter-attacks in the first-half that caught the European champions wanting at the back. "Madrid have athletes. They are footballers, but they are real athletes," said the former Barcelona boss after suffering his first defeat in eight games as a coach at the Santiago Bernabeu.

China

China Daily

A solitary goal from Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema gave his side a slender 1-0 win at home over Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final match. Benzema was on hand to finish off a counter-attack that decided a fascinating and at times exciting game, in which Bayern controlled the ball against a rival who were fast and vertical in attack.