Munich Fends Off Madrid, Chelsea Faces Barcelona

In a shocking 90th minute goal by Mario Gomez, Bayern Munich was able to stave off Real Madrid in a 2-1 victory on Tuesday. The first leg victory comes after Munich easily advanced (4-0 aggregate) over French side Marseille. Yesterday’s match against Real Madrid was pretty evenly matched: Munich scored first with a Ribery goal (17′) but Mesut Ozil equalized in the 2nd half (53′).

Munich performed pretty well, not stricken to a conservative play-style like most 1st leg host teams for fear of giving up away goals. They played smart, but failed to capitalize on the pressure when it counted, and the game would stay tied through nearly all of regular time. Cristiano Ronaldo seemed to be well-contained, even squandering a one-on-one with the keeper. The competition was tight, with a total of nine yellow cards delivered, and shots on goal nearly even between teams.

The saving goal would come from a Philipp Lahm cross to the near post when Gomez slid in to put it away. Munich heads to Bernabeu next Wednesday for the second leg. Madrid coach Jose Mourinho is confident his team will prevail at home. The Spanish team’s seem to enjoy a greater home field advantage, which begs the question, might we see an El Clasico final come May?

Onto Stamford Bridge where Chelsea hosts Barcelona. Interim Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo is aware of the stakes, acknowledging that it would take two back-to-back perfect performances by his Blues. On the minds of all Chelsea fans is the heartbreaking loss in the 2009 Champions League semifinal that led to a Chelsea elimination. The match saw several no-calls for penalties and hand-balls in the box (see video below).

The fixture adds further controversy as the Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich looks to fill the spot vacated from the dismissal of Andres Villas Boas. Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is said to be at the top of his list, but Guardiola continues to offer no insights as to his future, merely focusing on the game at hand.

Catch the first leg at Stamford Bridge on Fox Soccer at 11:45 PDT. The second legs resume next Tuesday, April 24, when Barcelona hosts Chelsea at Camp Nou, and Madrid hosts Munich on Wednesday, April 25.

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