By FRANCO PANIZO
Pep Guardiola’s tactics have long been lauded, but he will need to come up with a very strong gameplan if he is to help Bayern Munich continue their UEFA Champions League title defense.
Bayern Munich and Real Madrid will lock horns in the second leg of their semifinals series at Allianz Arena on Tuesday (2:45pm ET, Fox Deportes/Fox Soccer 2Go), and the hosts will try and overturn a 1-0 deficit after losing to a Karim Benzema goal in the opening match in Spain last week. The German giants tend to play extremely well at home, but they will need to find the delicate balance between attacking and defending in order to reach the tournament final.
Madrid know that scoring a goal would put Bayern in a bigger hole, and the Spanish heavyweights’ attack might be bolstered by the return of Gareth Bale. Bale missed this past weekend’s La Liga match, but has said he is healthy and ready to go vs. Bayern.
One player who Madrid will certainly be able to count on is Cristiano Ronaldo, who will attempt to have a bigger impact on Tuesday after struggling in his return from injury in last week’s first leg.
Bayern will be near full strength for this one, missing only defender Daniel van Buyten. That leaves Guardiola with the majority of his top players available for this bout, which should be as entertaining for the tactics deployed on both sides as it is for the individual talents on display.
In the other semifinals match:
Chelsea and Atletico Madrid will face off at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday (2:45pm ET, Fox Deportes/Fox Soccer 2Go), and both sides will look to break the deadlock after a drab goal-less draw in Spain in the first leg.
What many observers will be looking at in this one is Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho’s strategy. Mourinho is no stranger to deploying defensive tactics, but Chelsea playing at home might be enough to convince him to opt for a more attack-minded approach.
On the other end, Atletico boss Diego Simeone will need his side to be a bit sharper when in the final third if it is to keep its impressive run in the Champions League going. Atletico are still the only undefeated team in the competition, but they will need to deliver a stout overall performance in England in the decisive leg in order to advance to the final in Lisbon on May 24.
Who do you think moves onto the final from these series? What is the key to Bayern Munich overturning the deficit vs. Real Madrid? How should Mourinho have Chelsea come out vs. Atletico Madrid?
Share your thoughts below.