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Preview: Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich – prediction, team news, lineups – Sports Mole

Click here to follow live text commentary from Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final second leg.
For the 28th time in their long and illustrious histories, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich will cross paths in the Champions League, this time in the second leg of their semi-final at the Bernabeu on Wednesday evening.

The two former conquerors of Europe shook hands on a pulsating 2-2 stalemate at the Allianz Arena last week, and Borussia Dortmund shall lie in wait for the Bernabeu victor in this year’s final.

Real Madrid's Toni Kroos celebrates their first goal with teammates on April 30, 2024© Reuters
No strangers to extinguishing Bavarian hopes of Champions League stardom, Real Madrid weathered an early storm at the Allianz Arena last week and delivered a Vinicius Junior-sized sucker punch in the first half, but the Brazilian then had to be Los Blancos’ late saviour in the second.
Leroy Sane‘s thunderous near-post finish and a calm penalty from Harry Kane turned the first leg on its head, but after Kim Min-jae – whose showing was nothing short of disastrous – felled Rodrygo inside the box, Vinicius’s second of the evening ensured that the semi-final would be left teetering on a knife edge.
Four days on from their pilgrimage to Bavaria, a record-equalling La Liga title was secured by Carlo Ancelotti‘s second-string troops, who breezed past Cadiz 3-0 before witnessing Girona crush closest challengers Barcelona, thereby ensuring that their name would be etched onto the coveted trophy for the 36th time.
Only Juventus have claimed as many titles in the history of Europe’s big five leagues, and Real’s sole focus will now be on adding Champions League number 15 to their brimming cabinet ahead of their return to continental nights at the Bernabeu, where they have scored in 28 successive Champions League contests since a shock 3-0 loss to CSKA Moscow in December 2018.
All in all, the reigning Spanish champions have navigated each of their last 20 games without defeat since January’s Copa del Rey exit at the hands of local foes Atletico Madrid, and by the time Wednesday’s game rolls around, it would have been exactly 13 months to the day that Real last lost at home in any setting.
Bayern Munich coach Thomas Tuchel on April 9, 2024© Reuters
Only one of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich could end the season with top-flight and Champions League winners’ medals around their necks, as the visitors to the Spanish capital saw their crown ripped out of their grasp by Bayer Leverkusen and are yet to even secure a top-three finish in the top flight.
Thomas Tuchel‘s men at least appeared to be ending the Bundesliga campaign with a flourish, claiming three straight victories before Saturday’s trip to Stuttgart, but their hosts blew the race for second place wide open with a 3-1 triumph, albeit against a weakened FC Hollywood contingent.
Kane’s 36th strike of the Bundesliga campaign from the penalty spot was minimal consolation for Bayern, whose springtime injury crisis worsened with the loss of defensive duo Eric Dier and Raphael Guerreiro at MHPArena, an extremely worrying sight amid their rearguard woes on the road.
Indeed, Bayern have not kept a single clean sheet away from home in 2024 – last shutting out Manchester United in December – and they have shipped multiple goals in eight of their last 10 on rival territory, winning on just three occasions in that abysmal spell.
The defensive misery does not end there for Bayern, who have also gone 16 games without a clean sheet against Real Madrid and have never got one over Ancelotti in nine previous attempts versus the distinguished Blancos boss; no team has ever experienced a worse winless run against a particular manager in the Champions League.

Bayern Munich defender Eric Dier in February 2024.© Reuters
Real Madrid had more than one reason to celebrate at the weekend, as the triumph over Cadiz marked the return of Thibaut Courtois from his second knee injury of the season, leading to speculation that he could return in between the sticks in Europe too.
However, in his pre-match press conference, Ancelotti confirmed that Andriy Lunin would continue in goal for the second leg, where Dani Carvajal will also be back from the ban he served at the Allianz Arena.
Courtois’s comeback and Carvajal’s return from a European suspension means that erstwhile Bayern defender David Alaba is the only absentee for Ancelotti to contend with for the second leg, and changes will be made in abundance after the Real coach went with a second-string XI for the Cadiz success.
Vinicius, Jude Bellingham, Rodrygo, Toni Kroos and Federico Valverde will be among the troops to return, but Ancelotti should opt against retaining Eder Militao, still not quite firing on all cylinders after his ACL injury.
In stark contrast, the Bayern infirmary remains well-occupied, as Guerreiro is expected to miss the remainder of the season due to the ankle injury he picked up against Stuttgart, while a bloodied Dier – who had also been nursing a slight thigh injury – came off at half time in the same match.
Dier’s change was precautionary in nature, though, so the ex-Tottenham Hotspur man is expected to reprise his role on Wednesday, while Matthijs de Ligt is also on the brink of returning from a knee problem and could reinforce Tuchel’s ranks further.
However, Kingsley Coman‘s groin injury will render him unavailable again, while Sacha Boey (hip), Bouna Sarr (ACL) and Tarek Buchmann (hamstring) will also watch the second leg from the sidelines.

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Lunin; Carvajal, Rudiger, Nacho, Mendy; Valverde, Tchouameni, Kroos; Bellingham; Rodrygo, Vinicius Junior
Bayern Munich possible starting lineup:
Neuer; Kimmich, Dier, De Ligt, Mazraoui; Goretzka, Laimer; Sane, Musiala, Gnabry; Kane

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Real Madrid simply do not know the meaning of the word boring when it comes to Champions League knockout fixtures, which Ancelotti’s side almost always possess the secret recipe for success for, especially in front of the white-clad Bernabeu crowd.
Bayern may be able to put out a near full-strength team as their injury situation eases, but they have been carved open at will on the road in 2024, and such defensive frailties could prove fatal as Real edge a mesmerising matchup to advance to Wembley.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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