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PREVIEW | UEFA Champions League – Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid

Bayern Munich look to keep their hopes of a treble season alive on Wednesday night when they host Real Madrid in the first-leg of the Champions League semi-final.

Crowned champions on Matchday 29 following a 4-1 win against Bavarian rivals FC Augsburg, Bayern Munich also find themselves in the DFB Pokal final where they will play Eintracht Frankfurt.

All that remains is the Champions League, a trophy that has eluded Bayern since 2013 when they lifted the trophy against Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund at Wembley.

Wednesday’s clash will be the seventh time these two have met in the Champions League semi-final, with the previous meeting in 2014 when Madrid beat Pep Guardiola’s Bayern both home and away.

Coached by Carlo Ancelotti last season, Bayern were eliminated by Madrid in the quarter-final after extra time following a Cristiano Ronaldo masterclass. With nine goals against Bayern Munich, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng will need to be at their best if they are to stop the Portugal international.

Now, it’s up to Jupp Heynckes to guide Bayern Munich into the Champions League final, just like he did in 2013 otherwise this season could be deemed as unsuccessful, despite a likely double winning campaign.

Real Madrid come into this with time for extra preparation due to Sevilla being involved in the Copa del Rey final however, Bayern Munich could take their foot off the gas in the Bundesliga with the club already crowned champions.

Perhaps some worrying news for Heynckes is that left-back David Alaba missed the final training session prior to the clash, although the 72-year-old did state that a decision would be made on Wednesday morning, as to whether the Austrian would be deemed fit.

Other than Corentin Tolisso needing a late fitness test, Bayern Munich seem to be at full strength, while Rafinha has been impressive with deputising for Alaba in recent weeks.

Key Player: Robert Lewandowski – The 29-year-old will be hoping he can recreate his performance from five years ago during his time at Borussia Dortmund. Lewandowski put four goals past Real Madrid that night in what he will probably describe as one of his best games he’s played in. If Bayern are to advance to a Champions League final for the first time since 2013, their No. 9 will have to be at his best.

Perhaps not given as much credit due to Bayern’s dominance in Germany, Lewandowski has scored 39 goals in all competitions this season, with 26 of those coming under Jupp Heynckes. The burden has been taken off the Poland international a little with the resurgence of Thomas Müller and the ever-improving James Rodriguez, which should work in Bayern’s favour.

Probable Bayern Munich XI | Ulreich – Kimmich, Hummels, Boateng, Rafinha – Martinez – Robben, Müller, James, Ribery – Lewandowski.

 

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