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Five observations from Bayern Munich’s 1-2 loss to Real Madrid

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Javi Martinez red card, loss at home gives Bayern Munich a mountain to climb

MUNICH, GERMANY - APRIL 12: Arturo Vidal (R) of Bayern Muenchen reacts after missing a penalty during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Real Madrid CF at Allianz Arena on April 12, 2017 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Lennart Preiss/Bongarts/Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY - APRIL 12: Arturo Vidal (R) of Bayern Muenchen reacts after missing a penalty during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Real Madrid CF at Allianz Arena on April 12, 2017 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Lennart Preiss/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Lennart Preiss/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Manuel Neuer earned every single cent he makes today

How ugly could it have gotten if Bayern Munich didn’t have the best goalkeeper in the world between the posts? He made the easy and moderate saves that all goalies are supposed to make, he controlled the box on crosses, he played his usual sweeper-keeper role, and then he made the “Holy crap, did you see that?” saves that had everyone scratching their heads and rubbing their eyes. Eleven saves in total, an unbelievable amount for a Bayern keeper.

It’s slightly ironic that the game-winning goal he would give up would be one that slipped through his legs — not that it was his fault at all.

Cristiano Ronaldo decided the game, and not just with his goals

It seems clear that Ronaldo is no longer the player he used to be. At 32 years of age, he appears to have slowed down some, is not scoring quite as many goals as he used to, is not scaring keepers nearly as much with his free kicks, and doesn’t influence a game to the same degree.

But he rolled back the clock today, scoring twice, and, just as importantly, was instrumental in getting Javi Martinez red carded — Bayern’s center back earned both his yellows challenging him — thereby swinging the game in Real Madrid’s favor.

Which event turned the game more?

You can argue about what impacted the game more, and both sides have merit. Was it Arturo Vidal’s poor penalty kick that was placed into the stands behind Keylor Navas, which would have given Bayern a commanding 2-0 lead, and would have forced Real Madrid to open up in an attempt to score that critical away goal? Or was it Javi Martinez’ brainfart, going into a risky challenge on a world-class dribbler — and embellisher — while already carrying a yellow card?

I vote for the former, because the entire game changes if Vidal puts the PK away. Maybe Real don’t even get the chance to equalize, and Bayern can just possess the life out of the game.

Mats Hummels’ status now much more critical

The catastrophic red card by Martinez was bad enough, but it also means that the Spaniard will miss the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu. Obviously, Jerome Boateng is the first name penciled on the lineup card next Tuesday, but who pairs with him? How serious is Mats Hummels’ injury — already ruled out for the next Bundesliga game on Saturday — and will he be available in Madrid? If not, Carlo Ancelotti has to decide between David Alaba, who was moved inside in this game, or Joshua Kimmich, who had a few stints at the position under Pep Guardiola.

Can they cancel the loan on Holger Badstuber?

Oh, how Bayern missed Robert Lewandowski!

Other than Manuel Neuer, nobody is as irreplaceable as the lone true striker on Bayern’s roster, and it couldn’t have been any more clear today. As good as Thomas Müller is, he just isn’t a striker, and is more suited to move into and create space, supporting the other forward.

In addition to losing your top goal scorer for a crucial match like this, his penalty taking was sorely missed. It seems like there’s nobody else at Bayern who has the nerves to convert what should be the easiest scoring opportunity. That penalty could have completely reshaped the second half of the game.