Champions League Results: Real Madrid Pummel Bayern Munich Into Submission to Storm into Final
By Deepak Vikraman | April 30, 2014 1:49 PM EST
It was ruthless, awe-inspiring and just plain brilliant as Real Madrid pummelled Bayern Munich into submission in their own backyard to book their place in the Champions League final.
Real's semifinal performance on Tuesday night at a stunned Allianz Arena brought back memories of when Bayern thumped Barcelona in the same stage last season. How ironic that Bayern, now very much a possession-based side, under Pep Guardiola, like Barcelona, were put to the sword by a lethal counter-attacking team that also made full use of its set-pieces.
Guardiola's attempt to emulate Jupp Heynckes' brilliant last season fell short, with Real Madrid running riot in Germany to seal a 4-0 second leg win and a 5-0 aggregate victory.
Having failed to find an away goal at the Bernabeu in the first leg, the odds were always against Bayern if Real, like they always seem to be able to do when allowed to counter-attack with pace, were to score even a single goal.
But it was Mission Impossible, and then some, when Sergio Ramos scored two headed goals in the space of four minutes. Ramos, who is usually in the headlines for red cards rather than goals in big games, first, powered a header off a corner to give Real, who will play either Atletico Madrid or Chelsea in the final in Lisbon, the lead in the 16th minute.
That early goal was enough of a dent as it meant Bayern had to find at least three to keep the defence of their title intact. However, four minutes later Bayern were asked to climb Mount Everest, K2, Kanchenjunga and Machu Picchu altogether, with Ramos heading another ball into the back of the net wonderfully well off a freekick from Angel Di Maria.
The Bayern players, unable to fathom what was going on, started to lose the plot and their tempers, as the ugly side of the team started to come out, with that aspect only getting worse when Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed his first of the night off a lightning counter.
Gareth Bale, back in the starting lineup, started the move from the edge of his own box, giving the ball to Di Maria, who quickly found Karim Benzema near the halfway line. Benzema took a touch before playing through Bale, who had continued running through the middle, with the Welshman then showing great composure to slide in Ronaldo inside Bayern's penalty box.
Ronaldo had missed a sitter, in relative terms of course, in the first leg, but the Portuguese would make no mistake this time around slotting it under Manuel Neuer for his 15th in the Champions League this season, beating the record held by his great rival Lionel Messi and Jose Altafini.
With Bayern shell-shocked, their players started to lose their bearing with Franck Ribery extremely lucky not to be sent off after clearly slapping Real defender Dani Carvajal - the French playmaker will, no doubt, be sanctioned by UEFA.
There was some sadness amongst the Real camp in the first half, though, with Xabi Alonso picking up a yellow card, a cruel yellow, which sees him suspended for the final - it took a full minute for the midfielder, who won a Champions League medal with Liverpool, to come to terms with the situation, as the Spanish international joined a list of many big names who have gone through the same emotions.
Bayern came out much calmer in the second period, with Guardiola obviously asking his men to keep their composure, but it was clear the players knew by then the game was up, with the task of scoring five goals in a half against Real less likely than it snowing in the Sahara desert.
Ronaldo added the icing to the sweetest of cakes in the 90th minute, firing home a freekick past Neuer to put Real one step closer to that dream La Decima and their first Champions League win since that iconic Zinedine Zidane goal in 2002.
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