Bayern Munich will feel hard done by as they went down 4-2 to Real Madrid in an immensely entertaining and just as controversial Champions League quarter-final at the Bernabeu on Tuesday.
After a mostly uneventful first half, Bayern managed to wrangle some influence in the game as they went up 2-1 in the second stanza to equalise on aggregate. A penalty from Robert Lewandowski and an own goal by Sergio Ramos either side of a Cristiano Ronaldo strike saw Bayern force the game into extra time.
However, with Arturo Vidal sent off as a result of a thoroughly contentious second yellow card, Real Madrid swept past the Bavarians in extra time as Ronaldo completed his hat trick and Marco Asensio scored to leave the final result as 4-2 to Madrid, 6-3 on aggregate.
Poor decisions mar an entertaining match
Bayern Munich were visibly furious at the referee throughout the game as a number of poor decisions went against them. Arturo Vidal was sent off in the 84th minute as he received a second yellow for what appeared to be a clean tackle. Bayern players were up in arms but powerless to stop themselves being reduced to 10 men, a decision that played a significant part in their extra time loss.
Even during extra time, however, Ronaldo completed his hat-trick with a goal that appeared to be offside, sparking even further protests from the Bayern camp. The Bavarians lucked out, despite seemingly having an endless resource of it, and it was a huge shame to see the game end the way it did especially after they had fought so hard to equalise in normal time.
Returning players not enough for Bayern
The away side saw the return of a number of key players that should have helped turn the game in its favour. Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng started in the defence and Lewandowski returned from injury. It all seemed to be working out for Bayern during normal time. Hummels and Boateng kept their defence tight while Lewandowski scored a penalty and was involved in Ramos’ own goal.
However, even taking into account being a man down, they collapsed in extra time. Hummels and Boateng could not contain Ronaldo and Madrid’s attacking threats as they saw Los Blancos tear them apart in the 30 extra minutes. Of course, Bayern have every right to complain about poor decisions but their collapse in extra time was a result of their leaky defence as well.
Reigning champions closer to back-to-back titles
No side has ever won back to back titles in the modern era of the Champions League, but Real Madrid are one step closer to becoming the first team to achieve this. It was not the cleanest of wins against Bayern, but they managed to get the job done. Even discounting decisions in their favour, Madrid still played excellent football and deserve to be in the semi-finals.
The question remains as to whether they can do the impossible and go back to back. With their momentum, it is not entirely unreasonable to think they can be the first team to win twice in a row. Atletico Madrid are still in the competition but their neighbours appear to have their number when it comes to Champions League games. So it would seem that the winner of FC Barcelona vs Juventus may be the one to dethrone the 11-times winners, but it will be a hard task as Bayern found out.