bundesliga.com is on hand to keep you bang up-to-date with all the reaction from Wednesday's encounter at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, where Bayern München were beaten 1-0 by Real Madrid.
Thursday 24 April
Another day, another dollar That concludes bundesliga.com coverage of the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg between FC Bayern München and Real Madrid CF. The Spanish champions picked up a 1-0 win over the reigning champions on a picturesque setting and while Manuel Neuer still believes "there's everything to play for", the international press were quick to point out exactly where the Bavarians needed to improve ahead of Tuesday's second leg at the Allianz Arena. We'll be back then so be sure to tune in!
Having netted five goals in the Champions League this season, Thomas Müller was rather frustrated at his bit-part role on Wednesday: “Surprised is the wrong word. Obviously I wasn’t too pleased, but it’s not my job to comment. We’ve got a big task on our hands next week and hopefully I’ll be able to help the team."
Despite a rather frustrating night for FC Bayern in Madrid, there was widespread agreement among the international media that the Germans are still in with a chance of reaching the Lisbon final.
“Bayern had far more of the ball, they just did not do a great deal with it,” reports UK’s The Guardian. “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 München, the outstanding club side in Europe over the past three seasons.”
Gazzetta dello Sport of Italy commented: “An emotion-packed semi-final at the Bernabeu with the German side holding a lot of possession, but the Spaniards were more clinical. […] Bayern leave beaten 1-0, but nothing is decided yet. Next Tuesday, in Munich, there will be part two of the spectacle with the outcome wide open."
Spain’s Marca has equally high hopes for the return leg: "Karim Benzema's 19th minute goal proved to be all the scoring 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."
Wednesday 23 April
.@FCBayernEN's Arjen Robben: "We knew Real Would be good on the break. They are really dangerous, they have so much pace and quality."— Bundesliga Live (@BL_Live_EN) April 23, 2014
FC Bayern controlled proceedings to a large degree in the Bernabeu this evening, but they have got a fight on their hands if they are to reach the final after Karim Benzema’s goal gave Madrid a 1-0 win and the advantage in the tie. Bayern will need to score at least twice to win in next week's second leg at the Allianz Arena. Click here to read bundesliga.com's exclusive match report.
...to read bundesliga.com's exclusive preview of tonight's European Klassiker between Real Madrid CF and FC Bayern München. The Spaniards have been in formidable form on home soil, but the German record titleholders have proven relentless in their pursuit of becoming the first-ever side to defend the UEFA Champions League. Something has got to give at the Santiago Bernabeu!
Talking to German broadcaster Sky Sports News HD before the game, FC Bayern legend Franz Beckenbauer was confident that Wednesday's fixture would far surpass what was witnessed on Tuesday night. "I reckon it’s safe to assume that we’ll have a game with more goals than last night," said the "I wouldn’t be disappointed with a 1-1 or 2-2 draw tonight. These are the two best attacking sides in Europe right now."
Beckenbauer lavishes praise on attacking talent: "In Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, the players we’ll see on the wings tonight are the best in the world in their positions. Real Madrid’s front three is a force to be reckoned with, but FC Bayern are an incredible side and have no reason to draw back into their shells," explained Beckenbauer, who believes that the Bavarian's recent form will have little impact tonight. "It’s normal to drop off after securing the title so soon. Everyone earned the right to sit back and relax a bit. Records don’t become as important afterwards, but winning titles does and that’s what’s on the line tonight."
FC Bayern München are affectionately known as 'La Bestia Negra' by Real Madrid fans having enjoyed a cross-border rivalry which has seen the Bavarians come out on top more often than not. At present these two sides are seen as two of the best in the world both collectively and individually and bundesliga.com duly took a look at the key match-ups which could prove pivotal in this evening's encounter. Check it out by following this link.
The big question in the Real camp, aside from the potential loss of Gareth Bale (see below), is whether Cristiano Ronaldo (l.) will be fit to feature tonight. "He'll only play if he's 100 per cent fit," said his coach Carlo Ancelotti on Tuesday. "If there's any doubt, he won't play. We don't want to risk him for the decisive game, which will be next Tuesday." The Portuguese is the tournament's top goalscorer this season with 14 strikes.
Whether Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale will be able to take part in tonight's clash will remain unclear until just hours before kick-off, reports Spain’s Marca. The Welshman, one of Los Blancos’ key players, couldn't make the club's evening training session, as he suffered a setback in his recovery from a flu.
Real's poor run against Bayern, and their coach Pep Guardiola, dominates the agenda in today’s newspapers.
“Real Madrid are preparing for the semi-finals of the Champions League for the fourth year in a row and, against Bayern München, they have a special incentive to end their three-year run of exiting the competition at this stage,” writes England’s The Independent.
“In 2011, Los Blancos were dumped out by Barcelona, then managed by current Bayern boss Pep Guardiola, while in 2012 it were the German giants that beat them on penalties in the last four.”
French paper La Depeche, meanwhile, refers to tonight’s game as the “Clash of the giants”, while SB Nation is looking forward to “a meeting of the world's two best teams at present,” adding that the Bernabeu encounter will likely be “better than the other Champions League tie“.
Bayern gearing up
The Champions League defenders have just started their last training session before tonight's encounter at the Bernabeu, head coach Pep Guardiola getting his charges into gear at Campo de Futbol de Vallecas, the stadium of Spanish top-flight side Rayo Vallecano de Madrid.
"Getting ready on Rayo Vallecano's ground," says this Tweet. "The sun is shining, we're in positive spirits and fully focused."
'La Bestia Negra'
Ever wondered why Bayern München are nicknamed La Bestia Negra, the Black Beast, by the Real Madrid faithful? The Tweet below might shed some light on it: the German record champions have won 11 of their 20 meetings with the Spanish giants, and played out two draws - while Real have only managed seven victories...
Tonight's clash is more of a final brought forward, according to former Bayern full-back Bixente Lizarazu. Find out what the French full-back had to say on tonight's eagerly-anticipated encounter in this exclusive bundesliga.cominterview.
We are not really any nearer to knowing who will be the opponents of Bayern or Real in the Lisbon final. On Tuesday night, Club Atletico de Madrid were held to a 0-0 draw at home by a tactically-astute Chelsea FC, whose Catenaccio-style game frustrated Atletico at the Vicente Calderon. The two sides complete their tie next Wednesday at London's Stamford Bridge with all to play for.
Tuesday 22 April
That's all for tonight, but make sure you join us on Wednesday as we bring you more build-up ahead of Bayern's clash with Real Madrid. Time to start getting excited, folks!
Neuer may be set to return for Bayern at the Bernabeu, but there was one very late withdrawal from the squad on Tuesday. Find out who was forced to return to Munich at short notice in our exclusive preview of tomorrow's semi-final first leg between Real Madrid and FC Bayern München.
In his pre-match press conference FC Bayern head coach Pep Guardiola claimed that he "hopes [Cristiano] Ronaldo (l.) will play. I always like to see the best players play in these sorts of games". It looks like the Catalan mastermind's wish may be granted after the Portuguese international completed team training on Tuesday morning, alongside Gareth Bale (r.), who has recovered from a bout of flu.
Daddy van Buyten: One man who won't be featuring in Wednesday's eagerly-anticipated encounter is veteran centre-back Daniel van Buyten. The towering Belgian flew to the Spanish capital as per usual, but promptly made an about turn upon arriving in Madrid, flying back to Munich to be by his wife's side as they await the arrival of their third child. Not ideal preparation for a pivotal UEFA Champions League clash, but we wish the van Buytens all the best.
However, the German record titleholders are a tough nut to crack away from home - as they are anywhere, for that matter. Bayern haven't suffered defeat in their last ten Champions League matches on foreign soil. They've also found the net in each of their last 13 away games in Europe, most recently against Manchester United, where Bastian Schweinsteiger (l.) grabbed Bayern's all-important equaliser in the quarter-final first leg.
.@FCBayernEN coach Guardiola: "It's of course special for me to return to [my home country] Spain"— Bundesliga Live (@BL_Live_EN) April 22, 2014
As if Bayern's challenge wasn't daunting enough, Carlo Ancelotti's side have won every single one of their five home matches in Europe this season, scoring 16 goals and conceding just three in the process. They are also unbeaten in their last 17 matches at the Santiago Bernabeu, winning 15 and drawing just twice.
Real, currently second in Spain's Primera Division, have scored more goals in this season's Champions League than any other club (32). Ronaldo (pictured, l.), has grabbed 14 of those. The Portuguese international, who won the 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or, has scored at least once in each of his eight appearances in Europe's premier club competition this season. Can Bayern become the first team to stop the 28-year-old from finding the net?
Wednesday's clash is Pep Guardiola's first meeting with the Spanish giants as Bayern coach, but the Catalan has an impressive record against Madrid, a club he faced on 15 occasions as coach of FC Barcelona (nine wins, four draws and two defeats). He also knocked Real out of the Champions League at the same stage of the 2010/11 competition (winning 3-1 on aggregate), before going on to beat Manchester United FC in the final.
Fernando Morientes, one of the greatest forwards in the history of Spanish football and a former Real Madrid legend, knows as much as anybody about what lies in wait for Bayern München in Wednesday's semi-final first leg. The 38-year-old insists Bayern “are the team to beat” in this year’s edition of the Champions League. Find out more about Morientes’ take on the most eagerly-anticipated clash of the season in our exclusive interview with the former striker.
Good memories... Before we get started with all the latest from yet another edition of the European Klassiker at the Santiago Bernabeu, check out bundesliga.com's exclusive of Bayern’s last memorable visit to Madrid, where the Bavarians fought back to go through on penalties and reach the 2012 Champions League final.
Hello and welcome to bundesliga.com's live coverage ahead of FC Bayern München's visit to Real Madrid CF in the last four of the UEFA Champions League, where the German champions could take another crucial step towards becoming the first side to retain their title in Europe's premier club competition.