Bayern have triumphed on five of the six occasions they’ve faced Real over two legs, most recently in the semi-finals of the 2011/12 competition, but this Real Madrid side, with Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema leading the attack, is a difference proposition altogether.
bundesliga.com identifies the individual clashes that could prove pivotal in the second leg at the Allianz Arena...
Manuel Neuer conceded twice at the weekend against SV Werder Bremen but seems to be over his recent calf injury and is the man to whom the Reds turn in occasions such as these. Germany’s No1 kept out two spot-kicks - from Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka - to send Bayern through to the 2011/12 final on penalties in the semi-final second leg two years ago, and they may need a similarly heroic display this evening against Karim Benzema, scorer of the tie's only goal thus far, and Co.
Philipp Lahm played in the holding role in the first leg last season, before being switched to his usual position of right-back, and it is highly probable that the skipper will start the game in that position. That means he will likely be charged with stopping current World Player of the Year Ronaldo, who scored twice in the 2011/12 second leg and is one away from what would be a record haul of 15 goals in a single Champions League season.
On the opposite flank, David Alaba, one of the world's best left-backs, is set to go toe-to-toe with Gareth Bale again. The Welsh winger has 20 goals in his maiden season in Spain, including a stunning winner in the recent Copa del Rey final against FC Barcelona. Alaba usually adds plenty to Bayern’s attack with his own marauding runs down the left wing, but the Austrian may be forced to tap into his defensive qualities, with Bale set to be one of the Madridistas’ key weapons on the counter-attack.
Despite the plethora of attacking talent at both teams’ disposal, Wednesday’s midfield battle could go a long way to deciding the outcome of the tie. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Xabi Alonso are two of the finest passers in European football, and both could play a key role in deciding the outcome of the first leg. Three years ago, it was Schweinsteiger who scored the winning spot-kick to dump Real out of the competition at the semi-final stage.
Wing wizard Arjen Robben is set to face Real for the fourth time since leaving the club to join Bayern in 2009. In the absence of regular left-back Marcelo, Robben saw plenty of the ball in his first-leg duel with Fabio Coentrao, but Bayern need goals first and foremost this evening and strike number 21 for the campaign - or indeed assist number 16 - for the Dutchman would be welcome indeed.
In the first leg, former Bayer 04 Leverkusen right-back Daniel Carvajal successfully shackled UEFA Best Player in Europe 2012/13 Franck Ribery, but Guardiola is expecting his French international talisman to respond in the second leg after his goal and impressive performance in the weekend win over Bremen. "Franck played like he was possessed at the weekend," said the Spaniard.”He fights for the team and for this reason he is loved here in Munich. He is one of the best players in Bayern’s history and we need his help."