Bayern Munich were held at home by Real Madrid in the first leg - can they finish the job in Spain? - IMAGO/Ulrich Hufnagel - © IMAGO/Ulrich Hufnagel
Bayern Munich were held at home by Real Madrid in the first leg - can they finish the job in Spain? - IMAGO/Ulrich Hufnagel - © IMAGO/Ulrich Hufnagel

5 reasons Bayern Munich will beat Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals


Despite Real Madrid defeating reigning holders Manchester City, it was Bayern Munich who took control of the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final. However, with the tie level, the Bavarians still have everything to do in Spain, but there’s some clear reasons why they can get the job done…

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1) La Bestia Negra

Bayern may not be having their best season domestically, but they showed in their 2-2 first leg draw with Madrid exactly why Los Blancos are so scared of them. Thomas Tuchel’s men dominated possession and the shot count, and after Vinicius Jr’s opener, it looked like it was going to be all Bayern. Leroy Sané scored one of the greatest goals of his career before Harry Kane tucked in from the spot, but Vinicius was there again to keep the tie level.

Including this season, Madrid (17) and Bayern (13) have appeared in more semi-finals of the Champions League than any other teams in the history of the competition. Throw in its predecessor, the European Cup, and those records are extended to 33 and 27, respectively.

No team from outside of Spain has beaten Madrid more times than Bayern (12), earning the nickname ‘La Bestia Negra’ which translates as ‘The Black Beast’. In fact, Bayern have been a constant menace to clubs from Spain, with their overall record standing at played 70, won 35, drawn 16 and lost 19.

Watch: Thomas Müller's reaction to Real Madrid first leg

Bayern showed why they have such a reputation in Spain during the first leg, and there’s no doubt that aura will continue when they head to the capital for the decider.

2) Kane leading the charge

Despite the best efforts of former Borussia Dortmund man and England teammate Jude Bellingham, Kane showed what makes him one of the best in the world during the first leg. The Three Lions captain had his colleague in his ear when he stepped up for the go-ahead penalty in the 57th minute, but it didn’t bother him in the slightest as he sent Andriy Lunin the wrong way for one of the most important goals of his career.

The 30-year-old now has 44 goals in 44 games for Bayern since joining last summer, and looks hell-bent on claiming his first professional trophy. In Europe alone no player has scored more goals than Kane’s eight, and that’s particularly important when you consider that Madrid don’t have a reliable out-and-out centre forward to compare since Karim Benzema left at the end of last season.

Watch: Bayern Munich's best goals of 2023/24

Bayern's defence is just as impressive too. Manuel Neuer now holds the Champions League record for most clean sheets (58) after shutting out Arsenal in the second leg of the quarters, while Eric Dier and Matthijs de Ligt have formed a solid partnership in the centre of defence, where they are flanked by Joshua Kimmich on the right and any one of Alphonso Davies, Raphaël Guerreiro and Noussair Mazraoui on the left. De Ligt was missing for the first leg and Kim Min-jae deputised, but it’s expected that the Dutchman will be back for the Bernabeu.

3) Last chance saloon

Kane also joined Bayern to add trophies to his CV and the 30-year-old will be desperate to ensure he doesn't finish the campaign empty-handed. Especially after losing out in the DFL Supercup and DFB Cup already.

Kane's not the only one. After all, this is a club - and group of players - used to success and one that made unprecedented history as German champions until Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen turned up. Even then, Die Werkself had to go 29 games unbeaten to dethrone Bayern.

Watch: Bayern Munich - Big games in Madrid and Stuttgart

Then there's Thomas Tuchel, whose tenure comes to an end this summer. He will be doing everything in his powers to collect a Champions League winners' medal on his way out of Munich and Bayern will be buoyed by their coach's 100 percent record in UCL semi-finals, having progressed to the final in 2019/20 and 2020/21, winning the latter competition with Chelsea.

4) History on their side

Beating Madrid and advancing to yet another Champions League final would be some achievement for Bayern. Better yet, it could tee up a familiar tie in the showpiece final which will truly get spines tingling and hairs raising.

That's because sitting on the opposite side of the draw are Der Klassiker rivals Borussia Dortmund. Last time both Bundesliga teams were in the semi-finals in 2013, they made it all the way. An even bigger omen than that is the fact Bayern’s triumph that year came at Wembley, the host of this season’s final.

BVB are 1-0 up from the first leg of their semi-final with Paris Saint-Germain thanks to Niclas Füllkrug, and their victory also cemented a fifth Champions League spot for the Bundesliga - securing Dortmund’s admission to next season’s edition. With the pressure now off, Edin Terzić’s side are hopeful about finishing the job in Paris, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if history repeated itself and Bayern used that motivation to meet them in London.

Last time Bayern and Dortmund were in a semi-final, Die Roten lifted the trophy at Wembley - imago/Laci Perenyi - imago/Laci Perenyi

5) De Ligt’s return

Tuchel has in some ways been spoilt for choice at centre back with four international-level elite options for two positions. As the season has worn on, it’s become clear that he favours Matthijs de Ligt and Eric Dier, and that’s been showcased in Europe with the pair combining for two wins and a draw in three games without a single goal conceded.

De Ligt was missing against Madrid in the first leg, and his replacement, Minjae Kim didn’t have the best of nights against Vinicius. Asked about De Ligt post-match, Tuchel commented: “We’ll have to wait and see,” and the Dutchman has since been seen rehabbing away from the main training group alongside Dayot Upamecano, Leon Goretzka and Jamal Musiala.

De Ligt was front and centre during one of the Bernabeu's biggest shocks, and he's in fine form for Bayern - Denis Doyle - Denis Doyle

Unavailable against VfB Stuttgart this past weekend, if De Ligt does return, it will be a huge boost for Bayern. The 24-year-old’s only previous meeting against Los Blancos came in 2019 in the last 16, when Ajax ended their three-year championship streak in stunning fashion with a historical 4-1 win at the Bernabeu. De Ligt’s reading of the game and proficiency in duels will instantly put Madrid’s forwards at a disadvantage, and his return could well be the difference.