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Bayern Munich-Real Madrid: two immortals of the Champions League with different trajectories

These are two very distinct semi-finals, at least from a story point of view.

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Bayern Munich-Real Madrid: two immortals of the Champions League with different trajectories

These are two very distinct semi-finals, at least from a story point of view. On one side, Paris SG which is chasing its first Champions League, and Borussia Dortmund its second. On the other, no less than 20 big-eared cuts on the scale. It's a story revisited many times, always with the same costumes, the same places, the same roles, just the actors who change. Tuesday (9:00 p.m.), it is the most common poster in the history of the Champions League that Bayern Munich and Real Madrid will interpret.

Although they never crossed swords during the first twenty editions (1956 to 1975), Real and Bayern have faced each other 26 times since, always back and forth. The last three times (2012, 2014, 2017), the duel turned in favor of the Merengue. Or the “biggest club in the world”, as Bavarian coach Thomas Tuchel called it, using a label that opponents do not even try to take off Real's skin, as it would be to deny the obvious.

We could still debate this honorary title ten years ago, before Real ended its drought in C1 (zero final victories between 2002 and 2014). Since winning its “decima” (its tenth Champions League), Real has won four others. He pushed the limits of the impossible, multiplying the comebacks and goals in the last minute. It nourished a constant serenity as much as the fear in the rival, that of knowing that Real, even when led, mistreated, will get up and strike again. This indescribable, slightly irrational aura is still present this season.

SEE ALSO – Bayern Munich-Real Madrid: the last 5 confrontations

“We can't say it's just luck, they have confidence in themselves and they have the individual quality to beat anyone,” complimented Munich player Joshua Kimmich at a press conference. The German may have in mind Madrid's victory in the Clasico against Barcelona ten days ago (3-2) thanks to a goal in added time from Jude Bellingham (90th 1). The kind of scenario already seen against Sevilla (1-0, Modric 81st), Las Palmas (1-2, Tchouameni 84th), Almeria (3-2, Carvajal 90th 9) and against... Barça in October (1- 2, Bellingham 90th 2).

“When you look at their goals and go back 10 seconds, often you don’t see them coming,” Tuchel analyzed. Everything seems under control, even when Real is outnumbered in a specific area, then the goals suddenly appear.

When it's not the players, it's Carlo Ancelotti who gets the flowers. “What I learned from him: stay calm in good times and bad,” recently explained his former player Xabi Alonso, coach of Bayer Leverkusen undefeated in 46 matches. “They are rarely the best team, we saw it against Leipzig and Manchester City, but they still pass because they believe in their strengths,” insisted Kimmich. Capable of resisting and then attacking, Real would therefore first be strong in the head. Where Bayern lost theirs during the season.

Because these are two very different trajectories that the Madrid and Bavarians are experiencing this season. Real are one game away from being crowned Spanish champions, after winning the Super Cup in January. Bayern fears its first blank season since 2012. In February, the club formalized the departure of Tuchel at the end of the season. Things were so bad that the latter was almost fired before the end. Bayern came close to a humiliating elimination in the round of 16, losing to Lazio Rome (1-0) before recovering at home (3-0).

“The quarter-finals were our minimum objective, for the club and for me,” Tuchel pointed out after the qualification, which did not cure his team's ills. She stumbled against Borussia Dortmund in the league on March 30 (0-2), then at promoted Heidenheim on April 6 (3-2). However, it was up to the level of the meeting against Arsenal (2-2, 1-0). “I gave everything from the first day here and I will give everything until the end,” breathed Tuchel. A big congratulations to the team, that’s all.”

It will take a little more than willpower on Tuesday at the Allianz Arena. First the awareness that the 90 minutes in Madrid, in a week, will seem very long, whatever happens. “We will need tactics and luck,” explained Tuchel. If you want to beat Real, you need the whole package.” The former PSG coach promises to approach this duel “like a final”. Irony of history: Real and Bayern, the two most common opponents in the Champions League, have never met in the final.

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