Champions League Preview: Bayern Munich v Real Madrid

Despite the early promises of RB Leipzig and the strength of Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich seem set to win the Bundesliga title this season. With a sizeable lead at the top of the league table at the moment, Bayern should wrap up the championship in a matter of weeks.

The main target now for Bayern is to win the Champions League. The Bavarian giants last claimed Europe’s premier club competition in 2013 and reached the semi-finals in each of the past three seasons. Could Bayern under Carlo Ancelotti do the same this campaign?

Given the strength of Bayern’s squad and their current form, they should feel confident, but winning against defending champions Real Madrid will be far from easy. Although has Bayern ahead of Madrid as the second favourites to clinch the Champions League this season, the German club should not get complacent and will have to make sure that they are fully focused over the two legs of the quarter-final tie.

Key First Leg
The first leg of the tie will be key. Given that Bayern are at home for the first leg, it is imperative that they win. A draw is going to be hugely detrimental to Ancelotti’s side’s chances of winning the tie, and a defeat is pretty much going to knock them out even before the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid

Cause for Concern
What is also important is that Bayern do not concede a goal. Madrid have one of Europe’s best attacks, with Karim Benzema still going strong and Cristiano Ronaldo playing as well as ever, and the German club’s defence will have to be on top of their game.

Bayern conceded six goals in six matches in the group stage and twice against Arsenal over two legs in their last-16 tie. Although the German giants put 10 past the Gunners, the two goals that they shipped should be a cause for concern. Madrid have a much better squad than Arsenal, and they are going to be much more clever and tighter at the back than the Gunners were.

Intriguing Managerial Clash
When Ancelotti guided Madrid to the Champions League title in the 2013-14 season, Zinedine Zidane was assistant to the Italian tactician that campaign, and he will surely be looking to put one over his master.

The French manager led Los Blancos to Champions League success last season, and the prospect of creating history by winning the trophy for the second year in a row must be on his mind. Both Ancelotti and Zidane are similar in the way that they are great man-managers and allow their best players to do their thing, but the Italian is much more experienced than the Frenchman.

Robert Lewandowski, Xabi Alonso, Ronaldo and Benzema are just some of the world-class players who will feature in the tie. With both teams committed to playing attacking and entertaining football, there should be a few goals over two legs and the tie could go down to the wire. Playing the second leg at home will give Madrid an advantage; they may well edge the tie 4-3 on aggregate.