For starters, they were a sentimental choice, either for having lived in the shadow of Barcelona for too long or for the efforts Jose Mourinho, who had suffered a few injustices and unwarranted criticisms, had put in them or both. Little had anything to do with their victory over Barca in the El Classico as many had made their choice by then.
Let us talk football. Real Madrid were dumped out by the Frank Ribery strike last week, offside as it was. Their status remained thus until the Ozil goal which did not count them in either. Gomez strike left them in the doldrums to the point Cristiano Ronaldo banged in the spot kick at the Santiago Bernebeu. As precarious as that condition was, Real were in it given the 2-2 draw and Madrid’s away goal.
Another goal from Ronaldo was far from cementing the finals. Any strike by Bayern Munich would nullify everything, as it did, and that is what gave the Spanish team the gitters.
Of interest to me was to observe how Real Madrid lived a life without defenders. Many think their arch-rivals, Barcelona, have no defenders, but in Pique and Puyol, that is all you would need. Real only have Pepe, who I would make a midfielder any day and that is all.
Facing the Piranha-fish-teeth-sharp attack of Frank Ribery and Arjen Robben spearheaded by Gomez, one needs supernatural intervention and higher powers. It was always a bet against the sun rising in the east to expect special tactics to suffice in thwarting the marauding German attack.
After the pathetic soft butter tried to block the red-hot knife, questions of how they survived Barcelona and other teams before them left me perplexed and shuttered.
The obvious truth was that Jose Mourinho believed in an outdated and wrong claim that the best way to defend is to attack. If your team passes the ball a shade too late, the ball reception gets awkward and much time is lost trying to kill the ball and initiate the thought process for the next step. With that, Madrid were a step behind in their operation, from marking, passing, shooting and even creating space for each other.
At the moment they needed some steel in midfield, one wondered where Lassy Diarra was. He may not the Claude Makelele, but that is what that Real lacked, in the absence of true central defenders. The fluency and appetising trickery of Ronaldo fooled the club and the coach, that they were sufficiently efficient.
The beauty of football is that the wrong elements of a concept, as well as mismanaged principles of either attack or defence, may give comfort to the team if the results are coming. The same goes for unqualified and ignorant coaches. They go on with the game because they get the results and go on to command high positions, killing the game.
The early goals of the match in question showed the high tactical and technical level of Madrid, given the very difficult El Classico in preceding days. Bayern had the luxury of resting key players for the clash.
Fatigue crept in after the unfortunate Pepe penalty as the hosts needed to raise the bar. The tempo remained fairly flat for the entire second half and things picked up in extra time as Mourinho realised they would reach the shootouts.
The goals failed to come at the peak periods, supping the little energy the players had. That energy was just enough to take the clock to 120 minutes. Optional times were excessively too much. The best thing would have been Real Madrid getting the results doing as little as possible. Failing that, they laid bare for a massacre which somehow did not happen.
Not that Bayern played underpar. They were more disciplined and purposeful, looking like the home side for most of the time. Despite their commitment being drowned by the home crowd, they were more comfortable on the ball and fluid in attack.
With a little more patience and level headedness, they would have made light work of Madrid with composure in front of goal. Gustavo was the solid link that Real needed. There is more technical and tactical work that could be looked at in that game, but it is so depressing to pursue, unless you are a fan of Munich.