Another day, another testament to consistent powerful play. Bayern Munich, the underdogs in this tie arrived at the Bernabeu to face a Real Madrid team firing on all cylinders. Fresh off of their win at Barcelona, the Galaticos needed to win 1-0 or by two goals if Bayern scored.
Today, I was working again, fortunately, we weren’t terribly busy during the game. I knew I’d be able to watch the game when the first two tables I was seated had come specifically for the game. And what a game it would be! Just as the kickoff was whistled, guess who would stroll into the restaurant to watch the action. The Lone Chelsea Fan. A thumbs up and and smile at Chelsea’s recent qualification as he took a seat at a front table marked his entry. I went over to greet him and take his drink order. Newcastle. Was another upset in the books?
Real vs Bayern 2nd Leg UEFA Champions League
It seemed as if we were in a miniature stadium as the few tables that were present roared for their teams. Some shouting Bayern. Some shouting Madrid. And one shouting Chelsea! The game started, the pace set by Madrid was blistering and in doing so they started the game on the front foot, scoring two goals within the first twenty minutes. The first coming from a Di Maria volley that nearly pulverized the arm of the sliding Alaba. Penalty, and a harsh one at that. Cristiano stepped up to the spot and looked Neuer dead in the eye. The Chelsea fan smiled as if he new what was coming and Cristiano drilled his shot to the goalie’s left, beating him for a 1-0 lead to Madrid. The restaurant exploded in cheers and applause, save for a couple of Bayern fans at the bar. Madrid now was ahead, having scored the away goal and were in the ascendancy.
The Red machine pushed on but Cristiano proved to be too much as Ozil squared him on top of the box and Cristiano one-timed it slotting the ball passed Neuer again before the 15 minute mark. 2-0 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate to Real Madrid. Who else would it be but Cristiano Ronaldo, the man with the golden boot. Once again Real fans were patting eachother on the backs and smiling, as if the game was already finished.
Then, in only a few minutes Robben had a wide open chance on the counter attack and he blasted it over on the odd bounce. “A disappointing miss from such a quality player.” Also, a note from the first leg, during half-time, Ribery and Arjen Robben had a dispute about who should’ve taking the free-kick and Ribery punched Robben in the eye. Intense! So when Mario Gomez was bundled over by Pepe in the box (for a penalty) and Robben stepped up to take the penalty, a fist in the eye may have been in the back of his mind, along with his penalty miss against B. Dortmund.
Robben stared into the fire and took a deep breath. The stadium silent. The Chelsea fan looked, nervous. It was as if he would rather face Real Madrid in the final rather than the organized android-like play of the Red Machine, Bayern Munich. Iker Casillas, World Cup winner and best goalie in the world. Two big human beings in a fatal stare-down. Robben shoots, Casillas dives to his right. The ball passes inches from Casillas’ outstretched fingers and into the net! GOAL BAYERN!!! We have ourselves a game!
The Chelsea fan quickly orders another beer as the first half closes with a questionable handball by Pepe off of Robbens free kick in the 45th. Should that penalty have been called? If not, why was the first called a penalty? Both player’s hands were away from their body and both instances were “ball to hand.” The game was on in for the second half.
During the break, two customers at the bar got in an argument over who would head to the final to face Chelsea. They were co-workers and slightly inebriated. One man, a smaller Indian gentleman who was there for Real, set the terms of the bet. “If Bayern win, you bring all of your friends and I will pay for lunch tomorrow,” he said confidently raising his glass, “but if Real wins, I am bringing my whole family and you, my friend are paying for us.” The Bayern fan raised his glass and clinked to close the bet. I, as witness will be treated to a Newcastle by the bet’s winner. It’s a win-win for me.
After kick-off, both teams seemed to fall into a cautious shell. They were tied now on Aggregate so the game was completely level, save for the fact that they were in Spain where Madrid had won 9 of their last 10 games. The game opened up in the later part of the second half with brilliant passes and runs by Ozil, Robben, Schweinsteiger, Ribery, Gomez, Ronaldo, and a spectacular run from Marcelo where he skipped over 3 crushing tackles to send Granero through, who was off-sides unfortunately for Real.
The Bayern fan screamed and jeered as the tensions wound up like a knot. Ronaldo had come screaming down the flank after wards and if Granero had noticed and backed off, Ronaldo was on side. That being said, Mario Gomez missed a couple of chances in front of the net and when the referee blew full time, Ronaldo and Marcelo collapsed in exhaustion. Much like the two men at the bar who were exhausted from cheering. This grueling contest was proving to be more than Madrid had bargained for. After watching Barcelona be upset by Chelsea, Mourinho could only pray that his team didn’t suffer the same fate. The Chelsea fan, was silent with his friends looking on as the extra time periods came to a close without a goal and the teams would go to penalties, Bayern shooting first.
Bayern scored the first, and Cristiano stepped up to complete a hat-trick on the night. The Chelsea fan wasn’t smiling now, he was holding his breath. Cristiano shot low and to Neuer’s right where the keeper had dived and blocked his penalty. Ronaldo missed! Bayern put away their second mechanically scoring penalties like no one else. Kaka stepped up, another one of the best players in the world and shot the ball in the exact spot Ronaldo did. Saved again! Wow, two of the best players, two shots, and two saves Neuer blocks again! The real fan was literally shaking in his seat as the Bayern fan could barely contain his excitement. Lahm and Kroos missed while Xabi Alonso scored comfortably. Sergio Ramos stepped up and like the stable defender that he is, he puts the ball away, I mean completely away from the goal. He actually blasted it about 5 yards over the bar. Schweinsteiger, the lynch in the midfield stepped up to seal Bayern’s victory and send the second Spanish team packing, in their own stadium. GOAL!!!! Neuer and Bayern run onto the field while the Bayern fan shakes his fist in triumph.
This has been the most exciting game of the Champion’s League thus far. The Chelsea fan pays his tab stoically and as he leaves, I took a look outside, and all I saw were storm clouds. There was no sun for him to walk out into and the final will be a cracking contest.
How do you feel about the yellow-card rule in CL? FIFA has already gotten rid of it in the World Cup and Club Cup. Should semi-final yellows not affect a player playing in the final? What do you think?
Robert Dixon was born December 31st, 1985 in beautiful California and has been avidly playing soccer since he started high school. Having played in tournaments overseas and for multiple adult and semi-professional leagues, he has spent the greater portion of his time training while dedicating the rest to work, his family, and writing about the beautiful game. Currently residing in Los Angeles Robert hopes to further his career as a writer and a player and share his view on the wonderful world of football with his readers. Whether player or fan, the world of football (soccer) is filled with life and dedication. Show your colors, bleed for your team, and get involved!