When the final whistle blew at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in Spain's capital city, the scoreboard read "Real Madrid 1 - 0 Bayern Munich". Madridistas celebrated their biggest victory of the season, while FC Bayern supporters had their emotions range from "OH MY GOD! THE WORLD IS ENDING! PEP OUT!" to "We'll get them in the return leg.". Your reaction was your reaction. Own it.
However, I saw a tweet from Raphael Honigstein that kind of put the Real loss into perspective, and even though you might argue about what matches actually "matter", he is right.
First game Bayern have lost that actually mattered this season, by the way. #PepOut— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) April 23, 2014
Yes, Bayern has hit a dip in form since winning the league against Hertha BSC. Yes, injuries to nearly every single player have taken their toll on this team. Yes, these are excuses wrapped in the truths of this season.
However, what do we know about Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid? Heading into this season, there was not a single question about which team would be challenging FC Bayern for the Champions League title. Due to the fact that it is so difficult to repeat as winners of the UCL, there were many picking Real as the favorites heading into the season. So, what I'm saying is that it's not inconceivable that Bayern would go to the Bernabéu and be unable to beat one of the (arguably) two best teams in the entire world.
Thomas Müller's quote post game amused me. It's almost as if he's in disbelief that they weren't able to find a goal.
Imagine this: Real Madrid pull everyone back to within 40 yards of their own goal on their home ground. We kept on battering away, and we were close to scoring at the end. We've not done so and we have to make up for that in the return. I think Real showed us massive respect. We need to turn that into goals next Tuesday. We have a huge task ahead of us.
The most important thing you can do in the Champions League knockout rounds is one of two things. The first options is to keep a clean sheet at home. The second option is to grab a goal on the road. Obviously, Bayern are not going back to the Allianz Arena in the most positive way, but the players know what they have to do to win this tie against Real.
The biggest failure for Bayern over the last several weeks has been the finishing. Matthias Sammer put it best.
We've lost 1-0. That's a fact. We were dominant and controlled the play, but not the result. I don't think any Bayern team has ever been so dominant here at the Bernabéu. But we have to turn it round in the return, we need ruthless finishing, and we need the crowd behind us. We can do it.
In a perfect world, Guardiola could snap his fingers and pre-buttock surgery Franck Ribery would reappear on the field immediately, carving holes in the opposition defenses like he's done for the last several years. Since that doesn't appear to be happening, FC Bayern cannot let so many golden opportunities for goals pass them buy without cashing in on a few of them.
If Mario Götze's late shot finds it's way to the back of the net, are we seeing this panic? Would we be allowed to celebrate a 1-1 draw in one of the cauldrons of word football or would people still hold to the silly belief that Bayern should steamroll every opponent in every game?
Is it concerning that Bayern are down 0-1 after the first leg of the Champions League Semifinal? There's no questioning that it is. However, there is always a bumpy road or two on the way to the Champions League Final.
2013: Bayern advanced past Arsenal on away goals in the Round of 16.
2012: Bayern advanced past Real Madrid on penalties in the Semifinal.
2010: Bayern advance past Fiorentina on away goals in the Round of 16 and Manchester United on away goals in the Quarterfinals.
Remember those? Nobody said this was going to be easy. The players have to earn this, and when they walk off the pitch at the Allianz Arena next Tuesday after beating Real Madrid to advance to another Champions League Final, they'll have earned it. Hope is not lost. Yet.