German giants, Bayern would be attempting to reach their first UEFA Champions League final since 2013.
The Bavarians will host Real Madrid in what promises to be a clash of the Titans in the first leg at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night.
Both teams are well known to each other when it comes to the European top elite competition having met 24 times with each winning 11 apiece out of their 24 encounters with just two draws.
This will be the third time since 2011/12 that Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have faced each other in the Champions League semi-finals, with the Germans progressing in 2011/12 and the Spaniards in 2013/14.
Real Madrid have won the Champions League a record 12 times and are attempting to emulate the great Ajax and Bayern Munich sides of the 1970s by winning it for a third year in a row but will face the hurdles of a free-scoring Bayern Munich squad made up of the indefatigable Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery all inspiring the youngsters so far this season to a Bundesliga title with the German Cup in view when they face Eintracht Frankfurt in the final.
Real Madrid has won each of their last two Champions League games against Bayern at the Allianz Arena, with both coming in seasons in which they went on to win the competition 4-0 in the semi-finals 2013/14 and 2-1 in the quarter-finals in 2016/17.
The last time Real Madrid visited Allianz Arena in the Champions League, the Los Blancos ran home with a 2-1 win in the first leg only to add to Bayern Munich woes with a 4-1 defeat and of course the man that led the rout was Cristiano Ronaldo in April 2017.
The Champions League record maker and breaker Ronaldo will be looking to add to his record of scoring in every Champions League game this season after his heroic last-gasp penalty against Juventus.
Bayern Munich, of course, will be aiming to ensure they avoid another defeat to Real Madrid at the Allianz Arena should they want the dream of their treble to come through this season.
Having secured the Bundesliga title even before the end of the season, the Bavarians are upbeat of clinching the Champions League again this season with the same coach, Jupp Heycknes who delivered the Champions League title for Real Madrid in 1998 before he was shown the exit door.
The Bavarians are already favourite to win the German Cup against Frankfurt in May and winning the Champions League will be a memorable send-off for Heycknes who took over the affairs of the club from Carlo Ancelotti who was axed by the club management following a run of poor results. Heycknes reign has seen the club return to their rightful place even as the German takes a bow at the end of the season.
However, they face their toughest test yet when they confront a Cristiano Ronaldo led Madrid as they will need to be at their defensive best to have a chance of making the finals the first time since 2013.
Madrid will be reinvigorated for the game as their players will be fresh, having not been involved in any league game since their 1-1 draw with Athletico Bilbao Wednesday last week.
Zinedine Zidane’s only silverware this season could be the Champions League having lost out of the La Liga title as well as the Copa Del Rey.
This indeed should be the motivation for the French tactician to go all the way to nick his third European club title in a row.
Both managers have a pedigree in the Champions League. Jupp Heynckes is slightly ahead notching 71 percent in terms of winning while Zidane has 67 percent.
But the Real Madrid coach has lost just one of his six combined Champions League games against Bayern as a player (P4 W2 D1 L1) and a manager (P2 W2), with that only defeat going back to April 2002 at the Olympiastadion.
Bayern will be missing the influence of Arturo Vidal in midfield just as they would have to make do with the absence of Kingsley Coman and Manuel Neuer who are out due to injury. David Alaba and Corentin Tolisso’s fate will be decided before the game. The only injury worries for Real Madrid is Nacho as all the other players are available and raring to go.
WHAT THE COACHES ARE SAYING
JUPP HEYNCKES: “There are four top teams left in this competition. Tomorrow will be a real highlight. The game will be a great one for the watching public. Both teams play attractive football. There is no favourite for me- but I have a good feeling.”
“We are in a similar vein of form to 2013 and we work exceptionally hard as a team. But there is a very tough opposition in the way”
ZINEDINE ZIDANE: “We can think there will be other players as well as Cristiano who could make the difference in Munich. We have to stay focused because it’s a Champions League semi-final and we’re defending our title”.