Great rivalries tend to be local. To transcend that, the clubs involved have to be special: there’s no love lost between Liverpool and Manchester United, the “Derby of Italy” pits giants Inter with Juventus, and of course El Clasico transcends all comparison. Yet one great rivalry even crosses borders: when Real Madrid and Bayern Munich get together, sparks tend to fly.
If the second leg of the 2012 semi-final clash isn’t enough to get excited over already, there’s plenty of reason to relish a clash between these sides; they rarely tend to be mundane! Not only that, but Bayern actually have the upper hand, so Jose Mourinho will have to buck the trend of history if he’s to keep his goal of a Liga-Champions League double alive.
The two sides first met in the European Cup in 1976 at the semi-final stage, and a violent pattern was established. The first leg, in front of a partisan Madrid crowd, saw Roberto Martínez have his nose broken in a collision with Bayern keeper Sepp Maier as he opened the scoring from a Jose Antonio Camacho pass, but Gerd Muller would equalise to earn a 1-1 draw.
As the sides left the pitch things got nasty: Austrian linesman Erich Linemayr was attacked by a fan, to be known as “El Loco del Bernabeu” after failing to give a penalty for a challenge by Georg Schwarzenbeck on Santillana, and Muller was punched to the floor by fans when he tried to help the official.
The second leg saw Muller gain revenge, scoring both goals, including his fiftieth in the European Cup, enabling the Bavarians to qualify with a 2-0 win which earned them a then-whopping £5,000 bonus each, and they would go on to claim their third consecutive European title. The game also saw the first red card of the fixture, as Amancio was dismissed. It wouldn’t be the last.
The bad feeling simmered on, even colouring a couple of friendlies the sides subsequently contested: Real were humiliated 9-1 in Bavaria in 1980, and the Germans issued an even greater insult to their hosts in the Santiago Bernabéu Tournament when they stormed off the pitch against Dynamo Tbilisi after Klaus Augenthaler was sent off for making obscene gestures at the Madrid crowd; obviously the game had to be abandoned, to the fury of the hosts.
Then, of course, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, there was Juanito’s stamp on Lothar Matthäus’ head in the 1987 semi-final, for which he got a five year ban from European competition.
His frustration was caused not only by Bayern’s domination of the tie, but by the galling manner in which it was achieved. Of all people, it was Augenthaler who opened the score in the first leg in Germany after just ten minutes, and Madrid tempers were further frayed by a controversial incident after half an hour. Hans Dorfner ran clear and tried to go round Madrid keeper Buyo, who seemed to save the ball fairly at his feet, but the referee gave a penalty. The Real players went crazy, holding up the spot kick for what must have seemed like an eternity to the taker, Matthäus. However, he kept his cool to make it 2-0.
Soon afterwards Roland Wohlfarth had made it 3-0 and that was the point when Juanito snapped. Although Emilio Butragueno scored in the second half, Matthäus got another penalty, conceded by Mino, who then got himself sent off for a wild challenge.
In the second leg it was the fans that let Madrid down. The kick off was delayed for five minutes as they threw flares, batteries and stones as Jean-Marie Pfaff in the Munich goal, and the game had to be halted again in the opening minutes as the assault resumed on the Belgian keeper.
Santillana snatched a goal, and Augenthaler picked up another Bernabeu red card for a fight with Hugo Sanchez, but Real were unable to mount a serious fightback as Pfaff produced a serious of acrobatic saves.
Clearly a lengthy break in hostilities was desirable, so typically the sides were drawn together again in the quarter-finals the following season! It looked like the pattern would be exactly the same as Bayern raced into a 3-0 lead at home, but with six minutes left a defensive error allowed Butragueno to pull one back, and Hugo Sanchez also added one in the closing moments to cap a dramatic turnaround. The job was completed in the second leg, revenge attained thanks to goals by Milan Jankovic and Michel.
After a twelve year hiatus in the fixture, the sides met again in 2000, and would make up for lost time as they clashed in each of the two following seasons. In fact, they renewed acquaintances in emphatic style in that 1999-2000 season as they played each other four times, and they were explosive affairs.
There were two group stages in those days, and the sides were drawn together for the second phase, with both clashes going emphatically Bayern’s way. Bayern became the first German side to win in Madrid in spectacular manner, smashing in three goals in the first half and eventually triumphing 4-2.
You might think things couldn’t go any better for them, but when the sides met again at the Olympiastadion they won 4-1, although this time the score was given a flattering gloss by Alexander Zickler’s late brace.
However, both sides qualified and when they were paired together again in the semi-finals the Germans could hardly have believed their luck. They were in for an unpleasant surprise though, as Real weren’t about to roll over so obligingly this time.
Nicolas Anelka gave them an early lead at the Bernabeu, but the key moment came just after the half hour when Jens Jeremies put the ball into his own net to double Real’s advantage. By the twelfth minute of the return match giant centre forward Carsten Jancker had pulled a goal back, but Anelka struck again and although Giovane Elber scored in the second half, Bayern never looked like they could turn the tie around, allowing Madrid to go on to beat Valencia in the final.
Valencia lay in wait in the final the following year when the sides met again in the semi-finals, and this time Bayern would gain revenge and go on to beat Los Ches to lift the trophy. It was a tie which would turn out to be highly gratifying for two FC Bayern players in particular: the story of the first leg was the remarkable recovery of Elber, who a mere twelve days after knee surgery scored the only goal at the Bernabeu from distance, kissing his knee in celebration; while in the second clash, Jeremies made up for his catastrophic intervention in the previous year by scoring at the right end as Bayern triumphed 2-1.
In 2002 the quarter-finals was the stage the sides would clash, and once more it was a tight affair, decided by an error in the first leg. Geremi gave Real an early lead in Germany and they held onto it until the 81st minute, when Stefan Effenberg equalised. Worse was to follow for them as substitute Claudio Pizarro hit an 87th minute winner for the Bavarians, but the 2-1 lead ought to have been more decisive as they piled on the pressure in the second half. Sammy Kuffour headed a great chance wide and Giovanni Elber hit the bar before Effenberg, who had put a good chance wide, missed a penalty, denied by Cesar.
They were made to pay for their profligacy at the Bernabeu. Bayern held out for over an hour, not only surviving intense Real pressure but also a barrage of fruit from a frustrated crowd. Zinedine Zidane hit the post and Raul missed a great chance as tempers frayed, and half way through the second half it looked like Real would be frustrated when a breakthrough came from an unlikely source, Roberto Carlos’ cross being diverted in by Ivan Helguera.
Bookings started to accumulate as the tie neared its conclusion before substitute Guti notched a late goal to make certain. It was all too much for Hasan Salihamidzic, who added to the dishonourable record of the tie when he was sent off for a wild challenge on Santi Solari.
Two years later that bad blood would be evoked again by Pizarro, who announced “We’re going to put five past those clowns.” He would prove to be seriously wrong, as the tie began with another tight encounter in Bavaria which left the home side feeling they ought to have emerged with a better result. Roy Makaay gave them the lead with a quarter of an hour left, but Oliver Kahn’s error allowed a Roberto Carlos free kick to slip through, earning Madrid a draw in their hundredth Champions League match.
In a tie which was decided by fine margins, Kahn’s error would prove crucial. Real, without Ronaldo or Roberto Carlos, approached the second leg with a level of trepidation, and Bayern dominated possession but never really threatened Iker Casillas’ goal. The hero turned out to be Michel Salgado, who whipped in a cross for Zidane to score the only goal, then cleared a shot off the line to ensure the Frenchman’s goal was decisive. Fittingly, it was Pizarro’s shot he denied; three hours of effort by Bayern had seen them put just one goal past the clowns!
The last time the sides met before this season came in the first knock-out stage in 2007. A thrilling first half at the Bernabeu saw Real race into a 3-1 lead, with Raul grabbing two goals and Ruud Van Nistelrooy the other. Lucio had snatched Bayern’s goal, but it was Mark Van Bommel’s spectacular 88th minute strike which changed the balance of the tie.
The return match saw the value of Van Bommel’s goal illustrated with remarkable swiftness, as Bayern took the lead on away goals after just eleven seconds, Roy Makaay hitting the fastest goal in Champions League history.
When Lucio headed in a corner halfway through the second half, Bayern looked set for a routine qualification, but Bayern-Real ties rarely fizzle out tamely: Van Bommel and Mahamadou Diarra were sent off with eight minutes left, and a minute later Ruud Van Nistelrooy converted a penalty to give Real hope of a memorable fightback. Sergio Ramos managed to get the ball into the net in a most unexpected way, lashing in a shot from outside the box, but Madrid celebrations were cut short when the referee disallowed his strike because he brought the ball under control with his hand, and eventually Bayern went through.
All in all, the sides have met nineteen times, with Bayern holding a significant upper hand, winning eleven wins against Real’s six. But those wins haven’t always counted for much: things are even poised when you look at the how the ties between the two sides have panned out, with both sides knocking the other out four times. With Real having won six home games, drawing one and losing two, and having won their last three clashes with Bayern at the Bernabeu, history suggests Mourinho’s men might just get the result they need. But history also suggests that it’ll be tight and fractious. Who could ask for more?