clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

What to watch for in Bayern Munich's Champions League quarterfinal vs. Real Madrid

New, comments

Get ready. This is going to be a wild one.

Bayern Munich v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Bongarts/Getty Images

It is the Champions League match-up we know and love. Both Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have gotten the best of each other on several occasions, and whoever wins is usually deemed the favorite to win the tournament. The next chapter of this great rivalry will be in Munich, where Bayern have achieved both invigorating victories and experienced demoralizing defeats.

Here is what to watch for in the much-anticipated first leg between Bayern and Real.

How Bayern handle possession out of the gates

The last time Bayern hosted Real Madrid in Munich did not go well. Their aggressive tactics backfired as Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo for goals. But Real Madrid's coach at the time will be on Bayern's touchline on Tuesday, and the way he handles his former team could be dramatically different than his predecessor.

Whether Bayern will be husseling or hobbling

Douglas Costa (knee) was already sidelined, Manuel Neuer (calf) and Thomas Müller (ankle) have been sidelined, Mats Hummels (foot) is now sidelined, and Robert Lewandowski (shoulder) could be sidelined. That is a lot question marks on a lot of key players, which is ironic considering Ancelotti did his best to keep his players fit. Bayern's defense should be fine with Jerome Boateng in the fold, but Bayern does not do well without Lewandowski - 6 W, 7 D, 1 L when he doesn't start.

Set pieces without Mats Hummels

Bayern may be the only team in the world that can brush off an injury to a player like Mats Hummels. But where his absence may be the biggest is on set pieces. He is by far the best on the team in winning balls in the air, and he would have been the perfect antidote to the poisonous Sergio Ramos headers. Boateng may now be the one who has to mark Ramos in the air. How bad could that be? Ask 2012 Didier Drogba...

Who wins the midfield

It is a shame that these two teams are meeting so early in the competition, because they possess the two best collections of midfielders in the world. The match-up between Arturo Vidal and Toni Kroos will be especially fun to watch considering their styles of play are vastly different. Thiago, as per usual, will be the key for Bayern, but Luka Modric is not far behind in quality. Ancelotti has often set up his team to win the midfield, and if he is able to through his tactics, then Bayern should have a much easier time getting to Real Madrid.

Will playing at home in the first leg make a difference?

Bayern's tie with Arsenal in the Round of 16 was the first since the 2012-13 season in which Bayern has hosted the first leg at home. That will be the case in this quarterfinal tie as well, and it may make a big difference. Bayern beat Juventus (2-0) and Barcelona (4-0) four years ago en route to their treble-completing Champions League title. But a similar profound scoreline may be necessary against Real Madrid, who have some of the best attacking talent in the world.