Real Madrid vs. Bayern München  2 - 1

Article

Schweinsteiger lives the dream

26 April 2012 15:43

Bayern Munich star Bastian Schweinsteiger says he was relieved after scoring the winning penalty in his side's victory over Real Madrid.

The midfielder netted the winning spot-kick in the Champions League semi-final second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday, giving Bayern a 3-1 victory on penalties after the tie finished locked at 3-3.

Schweinsteiger sent Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas the wrong way from the spot, and said he was thrilled it ended the encounter.

"In the end I was just happy that the match was over. I couldn't run any longer," Schweinsteiger said afterwards.

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who saved two penalties, said making the final, where they will face Chelsea, was a dream come true.

"The atmosphere in the dressing room was brilliant. We are all very happy that we did it," he said.

"It wasn't our will to play that long and to go into penalties. But now a dream has come true, we are in the final."

Bayern players celebrated the win at a dinner in Madrid after their victory, with officials, fans and Germany coach Joachim Loew joining them at the team hotel.

A ballot will be held for the May 19 game at Allianz Arena, with 17,500 tickets allocated to members of both Bayern and Chelsea.

Article

Ramos: Loss won´t tarnish ´great season´

26 April 2012 09:21

Sergio Ramos insists Real Madrid's Champions League elimination will not tarnish the club's 'great season'.

Jose Mourinho's side beat Bayern Munich 2-1 in regulation time in the return leg of their Champions League semi-final after losing the first leg by an identical score, but the Bundesliga giants eventually prevailed 3-1 on penalties, much to the disappointment of Ramos.

"We would have liked to reach the final, but this will not tarnish the great season the team have had and that we want to seal with the league title. Bayern were a great side. I'm proud of the team and of the season we're having," he told the official Madrid website.

"We tried everything but we knew we faced the likes of (Arjen) Robben, (Franck) Ribery and (Mario) Gomez. The match went through many different phases after our second goal. We can't attack all the time.

"We must move on. This hurts because the final was within our reach. It's a real shame to be eliminated in a penalty shoot-out. It is something you never want. We must hold our heads high."

The 26-year-old was one of three Madrid players to miss from the spot in the shootout, but stressed he would take a penalty again if asked to do so.

"Penalty shoot-outs are unpredictable. I wasn't lucky to score my penalty, but I was confident and I would try it again tomorrow for the team," he said. "You feel great pressure, but I've always withstood it well."

Madrid resume La Liga action on Sunday when they host Sevilla. They hold a seven point lead over second-place Barcelona with four rounds to go.

Article

Heynckes: Bayern deserved to progress

26 April 2012 06:29

Jupp Heynckes called Bayern Munich 'sensational' after eliminating Real Madrid from the Champions League in a penalty shootout on Wednesday.

Bayern lost the semi-final second leg 2-1 in Madrid, leaving the teams locked at 3-3 on aggregate.

After no goals were scored in the second half or in extra-time at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, penalties were required to decide the outcome.

Bastian Schweinsteiger scored the decisive spot-kick to earn Bayern's spot in a home Champions League final, which their coach believes was deserved.

"It's a magical night," Heynckes said.

"We had a lot of problems in the first quarter of an hour, but we corrected this afterwards.

"We were sensational. It is a special victory for Bayern.

"I think that if you analysed the last 120 minutes, we have justly qualified for the final.

"It was wonderful how the team reacted after we had gone 1-0, then 2-0 down."

Although a final involving Barcelona and Real Madrid had been widely expected when the draw for the semi-finals was made, Heynckes believes the best-performed teams will clash in Munich on May 19.

"(Chelsea) reached the final, they deserved it," Heynckes said.

"They knew they couldn't play attacking wise against Barcelona.

"It was a masterpiece tactically what they did against Barcelona.

"It won't be a surprise we are in the final.

"Bayern Munich in this Champions League has had great matches against great teams.

"We proved today we are a great team."

Bayern and Chelsea will play the final without a combined seven suspended players, six of those due to the accumulation of yellow cards.

The unfortunate situation has prompted calls from fans and the media alike to wipe the disciplinary slate clean in the semi-finals, a concept Heynckes supports.

"That's the problem with the rules," the Bayern coach said.

"Perhaps a few of the rules should be changed so the best players for Chelsea and Bayern could play."

Article

Mourinho backs Chelsea after Real exit

26 April 2012 04:28

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho hopes former club Chelsea defeat Bayern Munich in the Champions League final.

Mourinho's Real bowed out of the competition in a 3-1 penalty shootout defeat to Bayern at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday, after the teams' semi-final tie finished 3-3 on aggregate over two legs.

The Portuguese coach was quick to offer his backing to English Premier League club Chelsea, who surprisingly knocked out defending champions Barcelona a day earlier.

"Chelsea mean a lot in my life and I would like them to win the final," Mourinho said.

"John (Terry) is missing, but Chelsea is there, which is the most important thing. But I just hope it's a good final.

"Of course I want the Blues to win, but with all respect for the Reds (Bayern Munich). I think (the) Chelsea boys were heroes yesterday, absolute heroes (against Barca)," Mourinho said of the club he managed between 2004 and 2007.

"I know some people think they (Barca) are the masters of the game and will criticise Chelsea like they criticised Inter (Milan) two years ago, but they know nothing about character, about effort, about a team with 10 men resisting tactically, physically everything.

"That's why I have in mind the heroes of Inter and the heroes of Chelsea in this match. Chelsea deserve to be there."

But Mourinho could not resist attempting to justify his team's exit, pointing out the fact Real met Barca in a crucial league match on Saturday.

By contrast, Bayern, out of contention in the Bundesliga, could afford to change eight players for their trip to Werder Bremen.

"We deserved to reach the final because we have been playing for the (Spanish) title," Mourinho said.

"The final is the second team in Germany against the fifth team in England. I hope it's a good final. I hope they enjoy it, both teams. For Chelsea the second time (in four years). For Bayern the second time in three years, which is fantastic.

"I respect a lot these guys - Mr (Jupp) Heynckes and the players from Bayern, because they played a final against me two years ago and they lost fairly, like I lose fairly."

Article

Champions League: Real Madrid 2 Bayern 1 (Agg 3-3, 1-3 pens)

26 April 2012 00:06

Bayern Munich defeated Real Madrid 3-1 in a penalty shootout on Wednesday to book a home Champions League final against Chelsea on May 19.

Real came into the match trailing 2-1 on aggregate from the first leg in Munich last week.

An early Cristiano Ronaldo brace put the hosts in charge at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

But Arjen Robben pulled a goal back with a spot-kick of his own just before the half-hour mark, levelling the tie 3-3 on aggregate.

Following a frantic, entertaining first 45 minutes, the match became cagey in the second half, as neither side proved willing to over commit.

And with extra-time unable to separate the teams, the semi-final was settled by the lottery of a penalty shootout.

Ironically, it was Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, booed by the club's fans for his Schalke allegiances upon signing in June, who proved the hero.

The Germany international saved from both Ronaldo and Kaka, before Sergio Ramos blasted his attempt sky high, allowing Bastian Schweinsteiger to net the winning penalty.

Earlier, it looked like Real Madrid would cruise through to the decider after they created several opportunities, scoring two of them.

Sami Khedira failed to beat Neuer from Angel Di Maria's cutback in the third minute, but the La Liga leaders were awarded a penalty when Di Maria's shot hit the arm of David Alaba inside the area three minutes later.

Ronaldo stepped up to take the spot kick and coolly slotted it into the bottom-right corner, sending Neuer the wrong way.

In reply, Bayern had two great opportunities to restore parity on the night.

First, Robben failed to tuck away Alaba's cross from inside the six-yard box, and then Khedira's block prevented Franck Ribery from tapping in a rebound off Mario Gomez's 20-yard strike.

Bayern had sent a strong message of intent to Jose Mourinho's Real, who responded in emphatic fashion.

In the 14th minute a deflected pass fell to Mesut Oezil, and he had enough time to pick out an unmarked Ronaldo on the edge of the box.

The Portugal forward was clinical, sliding the ball past Neuer at the near post to make it 2-0.

Despite falling behind on aggregate, Bayern continued to look dangerous and they were offered a chance to level the tie in the 27th minute.

Pepe dragged Mario Gomez to the ground inside the area and the referee duly pointed to the spot.

Former Real man Robben took on the responsibility and exorcised his Bernabeu demons by converting, despite Iker Casillas' best efforts to keep the penalty out.

The action continued at each end of the pitch - Karim Benzema almost curled an outrageous effort past Neuer, while Casillas was forced into saves from both Gomez and Robben before the break.

Initially, the second half began at a similar breathless tempo.

Gomez nodded just wide in the 48th minute, and Benzema forced a sprawling save from Neuer eight minutes later.

The action eventually fizzled out, as neither side dared commit too many men forward.

Chances were at a premium, and the only clear-cut opportunity came in the 86th minute.

Robben's pass found Gomez in space inside the area, but rather than shoot first time, he opted to control the ball and the chance went begging.

Ronaldo had a sight of goal snuffed out nine minutes into extra-time, while Real substitute Esteban Granero was booked for diving as he tried to win his side a penalty.

First up in the shootout was Austrian defender Alaba, who calmly netted the opening penalty.

Ronaldo failed to match him, with Neuer getting a strong hand to the ball.

Gomez then converted Bayern's second, before Neuer kept out a weak effort from Brazilian Kaka.

Real finally converted through former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso, and they took heart when both Toni Kroos and Bayern captain Phillip Lahm missed.

But Spain defender Ramos was found wanting at the crucial moment, blasting wildly over and into the stands when Real had a chance to draw level in the shootout.

That offered Bayern stalwart Schweinsteiger the honour of putting his side into the final and he did so in emphatic fashion.

Victory for the Bundesliga side denies Jose Mourinho the chance to face former club Chelsea, while the hotly-tipped all-Spanish final also failed to materialise.

Bayern now have the opportunity to become the first club to win the Champions League at their own stadium when they tackle Chelsea at the Allianz Arena on May 19.

Article

Demichelis believes in Bayern

25 April 2012 16:36

Former Bayern Munich defender Martin Demichelis believes the Bavarians have a good chance of reaching the Champions League final.

Bayern defeted Real Madrid 2-1 at the Allianz Arena in the first leg of their semi-final tie, and the current Malaga centre-back feels his old side can cause an upset at the Santiago Bernabeu if they play their own game on Wednesday.

"The Real Madrid forwards aren't so keen on defending, so the FCB defenders and midfielders will get time on the ball," Demichelis told Bayern's website.

"That's the platform for them to try their luck up front. In my opinion, Bayern have a good chance of making the final.

"I'm expecting Bayern to be confident and unafraid, even though Real are very good at home. But they've generally conceded a goal in most of their home games, so FCB should try and get forward.

"(Franck) Ribery, (Arjen) Robben, (Thomas) Mueller and (Mario) Gomez are players who can unsettle any defence. If Bayern only defend and try and protect their lead to the end, they will lose."

Article

Makaay backs Bayern upset

25 April 2012 14:06

Roy Makaay believes that Bayern Munich have a good chance to reach the Champions League final at the expense of Real Madrid.

The Bavarians recorded a 2-1 home win in the first leg of the semi-final tie last week, and the former Netherlands international feels Jupp Heynckes' men have what it takes to cause Real plenty of problems in Wednesday's return at the Santiago Bernabeu.

"I am convinced that Bayern will score at least one goal. So if Real Madrid want to go through, they need to find the net twice or more," Makaay told Algemeen Dagblad.

"Bayern deservedly won the first leg. Real Madrid didn't impress in defence. (Alvaro) Arbeloa was outplayed by (Franck) Ribery last week.

"But if they offer Arbeloa more support this time, Arjen Robben will get a lot more space, and you don't want that either.

"It's nice that Bayern can reach the final in their own Allianz Arena. The whole club is excited about it."

It took Makaay 10 seconds to score the fastest goal in the history of the Champions League when playing for Bayern Munich against Real Madrid in season 2006/07.

Article

Champions League preview: Real Madrid v Bayern Munich

25 April 2012 03:26

Real Madrid must overturn a one-goal deficit against Bayern Munich if they are to book their place in the UEFA Champions League final.

Jose Mourinho's Real went down 2-1 in the semi-final first leg at Bayern's Allianz Arena last Tuesday.

The hosts took the lead through France forward Franck Ribery in the 17th minute of the match.

The visitors from Spain had more than their fair share of chances, and registered a deserved away goal through Germany midfielder Mezut Oezil eight minutes into the second half.

It looked like the teams would be locked at 1-1 going into the return fixture in the Spanish capital, until Mario Gomez struck an injury-time winner for Bayern.

The German outfit carry a slender advantage with them to Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, but Real's away goal renders Bayern's position precarious at best.

Domestic considerations could also have an impact on the outcome of Wednesday's clash.

Bayern have nothing left to play for in Germany after seeing Borussia Dortmund retain their Bundesliga title with a 2-0 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday.

Given Dortmund's imminent triumph, Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes could afford to change all of his team's starting 11 for their match away to Werder Bremen on the same day.

Only goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger and Luiz Gustavo were retained from the side which started against Real.

It was a very different story for the La Liga leaders, who contested the defining match of their domestic season, away to defending champions Barcelona.

The visitors emerged with a 2-1 win from their visit to Camp Nou, thanks to goals from Sami Khedira and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Reflecting on the importance of the clash, which has effectively secured the La Liga title for Real, Mourinho retained exactly the same starting line-up from the team which played in Munich.

The question now is how many of those first-choice players can recover in time to begin their third crucial game in the space of nine days?

The likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Kaka, Marcelo and Raul Albiol could all be in contention to start in Madrid if one or more of their team-mates pull up sore.

Real will be bidding to reach their first Champions League final since winning the competition at Hampden Park in 2002.

Bayern, who lost the 2010 final to Inter Milan on their last visit to the Santiago Bernabeu, are aiming to reach the showpiece decider at their own Allianz Arena home.

The winner of Wednesday's match will face English Premier League outsiders Chelsea in the final, to be held in Munich on May 19, after they defeated Barcelona on Tuesday night.

Article

Madrid hold no fears for Bayern Munich

25 April 2012 00:55

Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes denies his side fear Real Madrid ahead of Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg.

Bayern head to Spain with a 2-1 lead to take on a Real side that all-but wrapped up the La Liga title at the weekend.

But Heynckes believes Bayern have an advantage going into Wednesday's game because they are not chasing the German title anymore after Borussia Dortmund claimed that trophy on Saturday.

"I know the word fear and I know that my team does not have any," Bayern's manager said on Tuesday.

"We have respect for a team such as Real Madrid, who four days ago in El Clasico beat Barcelona 2-1.

"It was a special feat for them and they proved that they are in top form, probably the best they've been in all season.

"I also think that, right now, we are also performing well and we can focus on only the one aspect which is tomorrow's match."

Bayern midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger identified the passionate Madrid crowd as a key factor in the Champions League clash.

"Their fans will have a great influence in the game," Schweinsteiger said.

"It will be a highly emotional match and the first couple of minutes will be very important, so we will attempt to do our best and we'll see how things develop."

Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is excited about playing at Real's stadium for the first time and is confident his side can qualify for the Champions League final, which will be played in Munich.

"Bernabeu is a great stadium and it's my first time playing there, so it will be a joyful experience for me," Neuer said.

"We are in a good position to go through and expect to play a good match."

Article

Mourinho: The team is more important

24 April 2012 20:11

Jose Mourinho says his Real Madrid players must be willing to risk suspension for the Champions League final if they are to beat Bayern Munich.

Both Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso go into the game at the Santiago Bernabeu one booking away from a mandatory one-match suspension.

But with Real trailing 2-1 after last week's encounter in Germany, Mourinho is of the opinion that neither man should allow personal concerns to affect their performance in the Spanish capital.

"Every player has to know that Real Madrid reaching the final is more important than them being there," Mourinho told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.

"Players can't be selfish. I would take a suspension now so that we make a final. A player has to be the same."

However, Mourinho said each and every member of his squad warrants the right to grace May's showpiece event at the Allianz Arena.

"We want and believe that we deserve to be in the final," he said. "Now we just have to do it.

"But Bayern are a very good team: the coach, the players. They all have the right to think they can reach the final.

"However, when I look at my players all I see is excitement. We want to win and that's the most important thing. Tomorrow, we are going to try to reach the final. These players deserve it."

Real's much-vaunted forwards were not at their best in Munich last Tuesday but Mourinho is expecting them to be firing on all cylinders in Madrid.

"Bayern know the offensive potential that Real Madrid have and that it is normal that we score at home," the two-time Champions League winner said.

"We will stick to our style of play and philosophy to the end. We know what we want to do.

"The most important thing is knowing the character of the players and what they are capable of and our players are as calm as they have to be for a match like this."

Article

Schweinsteiger: We must weather the storm

24 April 2012 18:06

Bastian Schweinsteiger says it is imperative Bayern Munich weather the early storm from Real Madrid in Wednesday's Champions League clash.

The Bavarians take a 2-1 advantage with them to the Spanish capital for the second leg and the Germany international is well aware that Jose Mourinho's men will throw everything they have at them in the opening exchanges.

"We must stop them," Schweinsteiger told reporters during a press conference on Tuesday. "Especially in the first 20 minutes, when the crowd will make an imposing atmosphere."

The midfielder, who has been beset by injury problems in recent months, intends to savour the occasion and said he is feeling like his old self again after coming through Saturday's Bundesliga win over Werder Bremen unscathed.

"Such games are always the highlight of a season for me," the 27-year-old said. "I was injured and these games motivate me to be fit quickly.

"I'm feeling better and better. The 90 minutes against Bremen did me well - I feel healthy."

Meanwhile, Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer accepts he will have to be at his best if Bayern are to survive the anticipated Real onslaught, and said Cristiano Ronaldo's remarkable ability to strike from distance represents a great threat to their hopes of progressing to the final.

"I hope the lads in front of me can stop him," he said. "But if a ball comes towards goal, I'll hopefully hold it.

"In the first half of the first leg, Real were very dangerous and in front of their home crowd, I think I'll be challenged even more."

Article

Kahn urges Bayern to stay cool

24 April 2012 14:54

Oliver Kahn says it is vital for Bayern Munich to remain calm in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final away against Real Madrid.

Jupp Heynckes' men secured a 2-1 lead in the first leg at the Allianz Arena, and Kahn has urged his former team not to lose their cool in Wednesday's return clash at the Santiago Bernabeu.

"You have to make sure that you're not getting carried away. It's important to remain calm and relaxed, especially in such a partisan atmosphere," Kahn told TZ.

"Real generally score a lot of goals in home games. They're always capable of netting two or three times at the Bernabeu. Bayern, however, are a team that you can rely on at any time. It's impossible to tell how things will go."

Kahn conceded the Bavarians would have been better off had they held Madrid to a goalless draw in the first leg.

"A 2-1 win in the first leg is not a good result. A scoreless draw is perhaps even better. But the fact that you've won is a confidence boost," he said.

Article

Bayern are equals with Real Madrid, insists Nerlinger

24 April 2012 06:20

Bayern Munich sporting director Christian Nerlinger believes his side are on a par with Real Madrid ahead of their Champions League semi-final.

The Bavarian giants travel to the Spanish capital on Wednesday hoping to take advantage of the 2-1 lead secured in the first leg of their tie and seal progression to the final at the Allianz Arena.

Madrid have been strongly tipped as favourites to go through, but Nerlinger believes that both sides have equal chances of progression.

"I honestly have to say that if I go through the positions on the field, I see us matched up really well," he said.

"The quality of our starting XI is completely equivalent to that of Madrid. We do not need any of Real's players, we are at eye level.

"Form on the day will play a major role on Wednesday."

Bayern have seven players who are one booking away from missing the final, if the club manage to progress, but Nerlinger has guaranteed that his side will not take a soft approach to the game.

"That is impossible," he insisted. "We will have to give 100 percent. We simply have to have a bit of luck.

"I think that especially for the sake of the competition - independently of us - it is important that the two finalists will face off at full strength.

"No-one wants to see Barcelona without Xavi, Andres Iniesta, and Lionel Messi. I think it is always worth considering whether we should change the rules for cards (regarding suspensions)."

Article

Lizarazu urges Bayern to attack Real

20 April 2012 05:13

Bayern Munich must score in next week's Champions League semi-final second leg against Real Madrid to progress to the final.

That's the view of former Bayern and France defender Bixente Lizarazu, who played more than 170 matches for the Bavarians in two spells with the club.

Bayern will take a 2-1 advantage into the game at the Santiago Bernabeu, but their former full-back does not believe that they have any chance of keeping a clean sheet in the Spanish capital.

Lizarazu said Bayern simply cannot afford to just sit back and try to ride out the storm.

"The away goal certainly helps Real," the Frenchman told Kicker.

"Munich will need a goal in Madrid. Otherwise they will not progress.

"To simply defend will not be enough against these Real forwards, although they did disappoint me in Munich.

"But Bayern will only have a chance on Wednesday if they are just as determined, willing, and organised (as they were in the first leg). Bayern have to be ready for a big fight and a fantastic defensive performance.

"International matches at this level are more mental than anything else, so they have to push the intensity to the maximum, but without overdoing it."

Primera División table

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Bundesliga table

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