Wasteful Bayern punished

Above: Real Madrid's Brazilian defender Marcelo (centre) celebrates scoring the equaliser with his team-mates Isco and Sergio Ramos. Left: Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich (in red) beats Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas at the near post after a supe
Above: Real Madrid's Brazilian defender Marcelo (centre) celebrates scoring the equaliser with his team-mates Isco and Sergio Ramos. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Above: Real Madrid's Brazilian defender Marcelo (centre) celebrates scoring the equaliser with his team-mates Isco and Sergio Ramos. Left: Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich (in red) beats Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas at the near post after a supe
Above: Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich (in red) beats Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas at the near post after a superb through ball from on-loan Real player James Rodriguez. PHOTO: REUTERS

Muller urges 'killer's mentality' in 2nd leg as Zidane warns Real tie is still wide open

MUNICH (Germany) • It was Thomas Muller, contorting himself to swipe at an open goal midway through the second half before missing the ball completely, who confirmed the impression that the die had been cast.

Just like a year ago, Bayern Munich threatened to put Real Madrid to the sword before falling to a mixture of their own profligacy and the visitors' sheer gumption in a 2-1 Champions League semi-final, first-leg defeat on Wednesday at the Allianz Arena.

And Muller admitted it was a reality check for the treble-chasers at the hands of the defending champions, leaving themselves with everything to do in the second leg next Tuesday.

"We were too naive, we had several very, very good chances and, in the Bundesliga, we say, 'Thank you'," said the Bayern captain, who squandered several opportunities.

"Perhaps the importance of the game played a role."

But an uncharacteristically off-key Real display has given hope that Bayern can claw themselves back into the tie at the Bernabeu next week.

"I have rarely seen a Madrid team who allowed so many chances, that's why we won't give up," said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, after Real's third consecutive victory in Munich.

  • 1st 
    Number of times Cristiano Ronaldo has failed to score in a Champions League game this season.

  • 6th
    Number of consecutive wins for Real against Bayern in the Champions League knockout stages.

The loss also snapped his 13-game unbeaten run in the competition stretching back to 2013.

And Muller urged his team-mates to show the type of ruthlessness needed if they are to prevent a seventh loss in a row to the LaLiga giants in the Champions League knockout stages.

"Real are definitely vulnerable. We need a different killer's mentality," the Germany forward added, while team-mate Niklas Suele chimed in, saying Bayern "were the better team".

Zinedine Zidane, who is just two games away from becoming only the third coach to win the competition three times, warned his Real side to heed the lessons from their Juventus scare - losing 1-3 at home in the last round.

"We suffered a lot, but the result is important. We will have to fight in the second leg, nothing is decided, that showed in the second leg against Juventus," he added.

Real defender Sergio Ramos hailed his team's knack of winning without being at their best, saying "that's what makes this team great".

The captain later basked in the manner of their victory, posting a message on Instagram: "Know how to suffer. Know how to win. Know how to be Real Madrid".

Spanish daily AS highlighted tenacity as the title-holders' trademark, saying: "One of the reasons Madrid has 12 European Cups, perhaps a 13th, is its historical capacity to withstand stress situations."

It will, however, be an uphill task for Bayern to reach the final after suffering a raft of injury problems.

Central defender Jerome Boateng pulled up following a sprint in the first half and, according to Kicker magazine, the thigh injury will not only sideline him for the return leg but also put his World Cup participation in doubt.

Bayern also could not compensate for the early loss of Arjen Robben with Muller, Franck Ribery and Robert Lewandowski all failing to convert clear chances.

Joshua Kimmich's strike opened the scoring for the hosts, but Real drew level on 44 minutes when Marcelo conjured a goal from nothing, smashing the ball home with a wicked left-footed shot.

And, on 57 minutes, Rafinha lost possession, allowing substitute Marco Asensio - who Zidane praised as "the difference" - to finish off Real's counter-attack.

Given Bayern's wayward finishing - and that curious blend of obduracy and good fortune that Real, who are gunning for their fourth Champions League final in five years and third trophy in the last four years, have made their hallmark in this competition - Heynckes' men will travel to Madrid more in hope than expectation.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NYTIMES, REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2018, with the headline 'Wasteful Bayern punished'. Print Edition | Subscribe