Have Bayern just handed Real Madrid the Champions League?

Bayern Munich came crashing out of the Champions League in the semi-final against Real Madrid, and it has now been five years since the German giants won the ultimate tournament. The Spanish side, on the other hand, have won three of the last four competitions. Now, Zinedine Zidane’s men are looking to be the first side in over forty years to win a hat-trick of European tournaments in succession.

The last side to win the paramount European competition three seasons in a row was Bayern Munich in the 1975-76 campaign. Prior to that, the feat had only been achieved by Los Blancos, who won the inaugural European Cup and the four tournaments that followed. Jupp Heynckes and his charges have now given Real the perfect opportunity to atone for a slightly underwhelming campaign and retain their European crown.

Munich did put in a valiant effort to get back into the semi-final tie at the Santiago Bernabeu. The reigning Bundesliga champions were behind after the first leg at the Allianz Arena, due to goals from Marcelo and Marco Asensio in the 2-1 defeat. These crucial away goals had put Real in the driving seat, but Bayern weren’t going to go down without a fight.

Joshua Kimmich smashed the Bavarians ahead in the second minute, which signalled the intent of the German outfit early on. However, in a thrilling first half, Karim Benzema put the home side back into the driving seat with two strikes before the break. In a high octane final act, James Rodriguez hammered one home against his former club in the 62nd minute, leaving Heynckes’s side requiring one more goal to make it to the final in Kiev on May 26th. Zidane’s seasoned winners weathered the storm, though, and made it into the last two for a third consecutive year.

Bayern ran away with the league in Germany this season, and the Bavarians were consistent favourites in the Bundesliga betting to prevail over their opponents each week. In fact, after 32 games they had only dropped points on six occasions. This is why fans of the club will be dismayed that this awesome side couldn’t make it all the way in the Champions League this year. It doesn’t seem fair really, considering how Real have fallen desperately short in their league.

Due to the fact that Barcelona claimed the La Liga title this year with four games to spare on top of their Copa Del Rey win, Madrid desperately need to win the Champions League to salvage something from a highly disappointing campaign. Now, the Spanish giants are heavy favourites to be crowned as winners thanks to their unrivalled experience at the business end of the competition.

Bayern have given Real the perfect opportunity to match the German club’s hat-trick of victories in the Champions League this term, and they will be desperately hoping that the Galacticos fall at the final hurdle. For the neutrals, an underdog victory at the Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex would make for enticing viewing. It could well be the prime time to face the reigning champions, as Zidane’s side have looked far from convincing this season.