Ribery holds the key if Bayern are to succeed in the Bernabeu
Bayern Munich have it all to do when they travel to the Bernabeu for Tuesday night’s Champions League semi-final second-leg against Real Madrid.
The Bundesliga side went down 2-1 in last week’s first-leg at the Allianz Arena.
They need to score twice without reply in Spain to guarantee safe passage through to the final in Kyiv.
That’s easier said than done. But it’s not impossible.
Jupp Heynckes’ men showed in Germany that they have what it takes to breach Real’s brittle defence.
Franck Ribery got plenty of joy down the left-hand side against Los Blancos. He created numerous chances and squandered a whole host of his own.
The Frenchman is the key man in the absence of Arjen Robben through injury. If he can improve on his tally of six goals this season, then Bayern could be in business.
Juventus caused havoc against Zinedine Zidane’s men in the quarter-final second-leg by taking the game to their hosts from the off.
Mario Mandzukic opened the scoring that evening with just two minutes gone.
Bayern will need a similarly fast-paced opening to get up the backs of the hosts and disrupt their rhythm and confidence.
Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund also scored twice at the Bernabeu in December to go alongside Juventus’ three in the last round.
There are vulnerabilities to the Real defence. Bayern just need to exploit them.
Sergio Ramos isn’t what he used to be. While Lucas Vazquez lacks the discipline to replace the injured Dani Carvajal.
Pair him up against Ribery and there’s only one winner. It’s that side of the pitch that the visitors need to target. Do that and they’ll give themselves a fighting chance.
Add in ex-Barcelona man Thiago Alcantara, who has been important for Bayern this season but missed last week’s tie, and the visitors could be in business.
His vision and awareness on the ball feeding the likes of the deadly Robert Lewandowski could give Bayern a second route of attack to go alongside the trickery of Ribery.
Of course, it’s equally important that Die Roten keep things tight at the other end. Any extra goals for Madrid will make Bayern’s task much tougher.
A mixture of sloppy midfield play and hesitancy around the box cost the Bundesliga champions dear last week.
The re-introduction of David Alaba should help their cause. While Javi Martinez looks set to feature after recovering from a head injury.
They can’t afford to be so charitable in the Spanish capital. Heynckes’ side look much more confident and assured when they play on the front foot.
And that’s what they’ll need to do throughout the game on Tuesday night.
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