Published: Tue, April 24, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Bayern Munich, Real Madrid renew Europe's biggest rivalry

Bayern Munich, Real Madrid renew Europe's biggest rivalry

On Wednesday, the Portuguese attacker will go up against Bayern Munich in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final, a competition he has thrived in for many years.

The Germany global won his first Champions League trophy while at Bayern in 2012-13, and lifted it again in each of the last two seasons with Real Madrid.

Crucially, those in 2016 and 2017 meant they became the first team to defend their crown since UEFA rebranded the competition in 1992.

Bayern Munich will be eyeing revenge as it was Real Madrid who dumped them out of Europe last season with a 6-3 aggregate.

The Bundesliga kings host the current Champions League kings at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday and so ahead of the first-leg clash, we examine some of the key talking points from "European Clasico".

Bayern's loved leader Jupp Heynckes ended Real Madrid's 32-year wait for European glory with success in 1998 but the German was ruthlessly axed just eight days later following their dismal domestic form in his solitary season in charge.

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Playing Roma in the latter stages of the Champions League brings back fond memories for Liverpool fans who can recall their European Cup final victory over Roma in the 1983/84 season. Real have won four of those six legs in that time, losing the other two, as there were four 2-1 scores and we expect this to be similarly competitive.

To date he's bagged 120 goals across 150 matches for Manchester United and Real Madrid with Lionel Messi (100) his nearest challenger. Only a controversial penalty in the final minute of stoppage time, scored by the irrepressible Cristiano Ronaldo, saw them through to the last four, but it was a nervy evening, and one for Bayern, who had no such issues after professionally dispatching Sevilla, can definitely learn from.

The Frenchman is likely to replace Gareth Bale in the starting lineup for his seventh Champions League start. "I think it is quite balanced at the moment".

The season has not gone according to plan as they have been unable to challenge Barcelona for the La Liga title and have since fallen from the Champions League into the Europa League which presents their only hope of a trophy this season.

"I went through only once against him with Bayern, but twice we have gone out. This is the Champions League: you have to watch every little detail and try to play the best that you can".

But the main thing is the whole team's performance, not only Cristiano Ronaldo's. 'Arturo is for me a very important player for example.

Heynckes, one of the game's gentlemen, never did hold a grudge - publicly at least - against Real for what, from the outside, looked a familiarly unjust dismissal, always shrugging that it was an honour to manage the Spanish aristocrats.

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