UEFA Champions League 2023/24: Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich Second Leg Review

UEFA Champions League 2023/24: Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich Semi-final 2nd Leg Review

May 9, 2024

It was another magical night of Champions League football as the “Kings of Europe”, Real Madrid CF, came from behind in stoppage time to make it to their 18th UEFA Champions League final, the most by a club in the competition’s history. 

However, it wasn’t easy as six-time UCL champions FC Bayern Munich made it very difficult for Los Blancos; a stunning Alphonso Davies goal giving the visitors the advantage before two late goals from super-sub Joselu turned the tie on its head. 

Also read: UEFA Champions League 2023/24: Borussia Dortmund v Paris Saint-Germain Semi-final 2nd Leg review

An even first half at the Bernabéu 

It was an entertainment first half, with both teams trying to catch each other off guard on the quick transition. 

Just before the five-minute mark, Dani Carvajal played a delightful cross across Manuel Neuer’s six-yard box, with Rodrygo inches away from giving Carlo Ancelotti’s team the lead. But only a couple of minutes later Jamal Musiala played Serge Gnabry through who got his pass to Harry Kane horribly wrong, wasting a good early opportunity. 

Close to quarter-past-the-hour mark, Neuer made a crucial double save from Vinícius Júnior’s shot, which cannoned off the post and fell to Rodrygo, whose close-range effort was also saved by the veteran sweeper keeper. 

Both teams kept testing the waters before Gnabry went down clutching his hamstring in what could be a season-ending injury especially with the Euros on the horizon. 

Just moments later, Kane found some space outside Real Madrid’s 18-yard box. The England striker fired an exquisite volley, which was likely going wide but was nonetheless saved by a diving Andriy Lunin. 

The rest of the half was uneventful, as both teams struggled to unlock that final penetrating ball. It was a stalemate at the Santiago Bernabéu as the referee blew the half-time whistle. 

Raucous Bernabéu silenced by an Alphonso Davies thunderbolt 

The start of the second half saw a tactical shift in Real Madrid’s approach, as Vinícius was seemingly asked to run down the left hand channel and create 1v1 opportunities with Joshua Kimmich. 

Till the hour mark, Real Madrid were all over Bayern Munich, with Vini being the architect behind their devastating wing play. The atmosphere inside the Santiago Bernabéu was like a cauldron. Both Federico Valverde and Rodrygo came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock, as Neuer plucked out one outstanding save after the other. 

However, the game turned on its head when Kane was allowed some time and space on the ball near the halfway line, from where he found Davies with an accurate diagonal ball. The Canada international went 1v1 with Antonio Rüdiger before producing a thunderbolt of a strike with his weaker foot to give Bayern the lead with just 20 minutes remaining on the clock. 

Don Carlo weaves his magic again 

With the game slipping away from his clutches, Carlo Ancelotti subbed off both Aurélien Tchouaméni and Toni Kroos for Eduardo Camavinga and Luka Modric, respectively, which almost immediately bore results. 

Following a smart set-piece routine where Modric played a ball short to Valverde, Nacho Fernández’ deflected shot found the back of the net as the Madridistas jumped up and down in celebration. However, their joy was cut short when the on-field referee ruled out the goal after reviewing footage where Nacho pushed Kimmich in the face in the build-up to the goal. 

With Bayern Munich looking to see off the game, Thomas Tuchel started making defensive changes, taking off offensive outlets like Leroy Sané, Jamal Musiala, and Harry Kane with still a good chunk of the game left. Ancelotti, on the other hand, brought in more offensive players like Brahim Díaz and Joselu. 

It was ultimately a Neuer error a couple of minutes from the end of normal time that gave Real Madrid a way into the match. The German goalkeeper failed to collect a routine shot from Vinícius, which was shiftly pounced upon by the on-rushing Joselu. With the equaliser and the set of changes both teams made, it was evident which way the momentum had swung. 

Real Madrid didn’t have to wait long. During a set-piece routine in the second minute of injury time, Nacho laid off a pass to Rüdiger, whose cross was headed in by Joselu, but the goal was immediately flagged offside. However, after consultation with the VAR, the goal was reinstated and Real Madrid completed their comeback. 

As Bayern looked to push forward for an equaliser, the Real Madrid defense held firm and withstood the final barrage from the Bavarian side to make it to their 18th Champions League final. 

Facts that matter 

  • With this result, Carlo Ancelotti has made it to his sixth Champions League final, two more than any other manager in the history of the competition. 
  • Bayern Munich have lost 11 Champions League matches against Real Madrid, the most one side has lost against another in the competition’s history.
  • Real Madrid have now reached their 18th final in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League, seven more than any other team.

Rahul Saha

An engineer taking the road less taken. I love writing, live and breathe football, and am always up for a tactical conversation.

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