Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich side might have the most of the possession but it was Madrid’s counter-attacking style of play that won the game. With a strong defence the attack of Cristiano Ronaldo, Isco, Angel Di Maria and Karim Benzema there was enough pace and technique in the final third to make it count, despite a couple of missed chances. It was Benzema that grabbed the winner in the first half when it looked more likely that it would be Bayern that would take the lead with so much possession, but Carlo Ancelotti’s back four withstood the opposition and Real Madrid took advantage, executing a game-plan perfectly.
For all the attacking threat in Bayern Munich’s line-up, their lack of penetration cost them the game. For all that Real Madrid executed their game-plan perfectly, part of that relied on Bayern not doing enough. Mario Mandzukic looked like a fish out of water at times with some of his runs, while Toni Kroos, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben failed to produce their best, and when they finally did break down Real’s defence, they were left with Iker Casillas to try get past, who proved he is still Real Madrid’s best goalkeeper with vital saves.
Another Champions League game and Casillas is back in goals making vital saves to keep his side in the match. It begs the question about whether Real Madrid would be in a better position in the league if they played consistently instead of chopping and changing their goalkeeper as often as they have been. A vital save in the final 10 minutes from Thomas Mueller kept his side in the lead, a save that produced a cheer from Real Madrid fans as if they had just scored a goal of their own.
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