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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


Real Madrid Pay With Penalties

Written by on April 26, 2012 | 22 Comments »
Posted in Bayern Mnchen, General, Real Madrid, UEFA Champions League

Over two-legs the Champions League semi-final between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich was as close as the score would indicate. Many of the statistics reinforce how well matched these two teams actually where and how they largely mimicked each other.

But first of all let us start at the end – here are the are penalty kicks. Sadly this is not available in 3-D because the graphic cannot do  justice to how Sergio Ramos skied his attempt.

Here are a series of statistics that show how close these teams were.

All attempts on goal – Real Madrid favoring an attack from the left (Ronaldo)while Bayern prioritized from the other side (Robben).

The passing range and choices in the attacking third were similar although Bayern passed the ball with slightly greater success. Bayern also opted for a more direct approach on more occasions but it rarely succeeded.

Crosses into the penalty areas were not particularly fruitful for either side (they rarely are in any game) although both penalty awards had their genesis in balls played in. Real’s started with a delicious ball from Marcelo while Bayern attempted to find Gomez. Such are the statistics the Real effort was deemed successful while Bayern’s was chalked down as a failure.

There was one area of significant difference and that was in fouls conceded. Bayern aggressively shut Real Madrid down and that often translated into fouls conceded.

Gustavo had a terrific match for Bayern but he was also a serial fouler. Eventually the referee booked him on his ninth foul and that means he will miss the Final on May 19th.

Gustav0 and Khedira were asked to play similar roles but generally operated in slightly different areas and chose different passing outlets.Gustavo plugged the area in front of the Bayern central defenders while Khedira was offered a longer leash.

Some of contrasting head-to-head comparisons. Lahm vs Ronaldo and Arbeloa vs. Ribery were interesting match ups that required defensive proficiency from the full backs and also a contribution when their teams attacked.

Arguably Lahm led himself down when he allowed Ronaldo through for the second goal but he redeemed himself going forward.

Bayern left back David Alaba is just nineteen and within minutes of the start he had conceded a penalty and then received a yellow card that means he misses the Final. A weaker character might have allowed his head to drop but the Austrian had a terrific game. Same goes for the often tempestuous Marcelo for Real Madrid. Marcelo showed boundless enthusiasm and drive going forward.

Finally a couple of representations of the role played by Mario Gomez for Bayern Munich. He wasn’t as successful as Ronaldo in front of goal.

Nor was he as mobile as Karim Benzema

But with his willingness to show for passes and his appetite for hard work he may have been more influential than both in relation to the outcome.

Anything that stood out for you in this game?

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22 responses to “Real Madrid Pay With Penalties”

  1. Ed Gomes says:

    I know Chelsea was heroic in their effort verse Barca, but to say either of these squads were anything else would be a disservice.
    In end they were completely spent, and if anything Bayern had a bit more reserve in the mental tank.

    As normal, Cristiano is getting a lot of flak for his penalty miss. Messi supporters feel relieved. But more credit should be going Neuers way. He wasn’t a well liked signing, and the fan base booed him. This performance should vindicate him and the Bayern front office.

    As for Bayern, they lost the league, but their manager isn’t afraid of what would look like tough decisions. He kept Muller on the bench and when brought on, it was for Ribery. He also had the guts to continue riding Alaba.

    As for Mourinho, what did him in was that last minute goal in the 1st leg. It was forgotten quickly due to the Classico, but it did them in.

  2. John Bladen says:

    Agree on Marcelo, Bobby. As stated elsewhere, I don’t see Real a lot, but this is far and away the best game I’ve seen him play. He stayed clear of much of the garbage that often detracts from his game.

    So… what odds do you think punters might have gotten on Messi, Ronaldo & Kaka all missing penalties in a space of 24 hours?

  3. Eric says:

    Another good one Bobby. This is slightly, though not exactly, off the topic at hand, but I have a question for you:
    Is the shoulder charge officially a thing of the past? It seems that a player can’t run his opponent off the ball anymore without its being blown for a foul. It is after all called a “charge” with the “shoulder”. Has FIFA changed the rules?
    A minor thing I know…

  4. and Ramos…..(that wasn’t a serious comment)

  5. fabr04 says:

    Bobby, what do you think of Mario Gomez in general? I know he must have quality because he’s leading the Bundesliga in goals, but every time I see him I’m underwhelmed. It seems like every big club has a center-forward who can summon a bit of magic out of nothing in a big match, like Drogba’s shot that opened the scoring against Tottenham in the FA Cup semi, and I never see that from Gomez. I just see a tenacious, industrious lummox who can sometimes bundle the ball over the line. Too harsh, I’m sure, but what is it about him that’s uniquely good?

    Also, apologies if I missed a post on the Team of the Year, but I wanted to mention that, since Leighton Baines was the LB, England will surely start him ahead of Ashley Cole in Euro 2012. Right?

  6. Why does he have to uniquely good. Just look at how many goals he scores.
    Why would the PFA team of the year dictate who starts for England?

  7. Erik – no change in rules specifically. Comes down to whether the ball is within playing distance when contact is made

  8. Gilian says:

    When Madrid & Bayern drew each other, I said to myself “These are two teams that very much remind me of each other.” I knew their semi-final would be close, so I was surprised that Madrid got the favorites tag. I always figured Bayern would be a big threat because of Ribery & Robben.

  9. Grant says:

    I agree with Jonathon Wilson (among others) that the away goals rule no longer serves its purpose. The timidity in both teams last night from the second half on exemplified it. Not to forget the “caginess” of the first legs in many of the earlier rounds. Especially when an underdog starts at home they tend to be more concerned with not conceding than trying to win. I especially have never understood why the away goals rule still should apply if the second leg goes to extra time. The rule was brought in to lessen the need for replays. Now that penalty kicks are tie-breakers (and I agree with you there Bobby, you can’t beat their suspense and they certainly aren’t a lottery) let’s dump the away goals rule.

  10. Astronomer says:

    I am also in the camp that wants to get rid of the away goals rule.

    However, the rule’s supporters would say that because of the away goals rule, the number of games that have to be decided via penalty kicks has gone down.

    I grudgingly have to admit that they do have a valid point in that regard.

    If the away goals rule were NOT in place, many more two-legged match-ups that end in ties over the two legs would have to be decided by penalty kicks.


  11. Grant says:

    Would last night’s game have gone to penalties if Real Madrid had not been so afraid of conceding a second? I suspect that knowing it doesn’t matter when you score/concede (home of away), just who scores more would encourage the home team in the first leg to attack. Nowadays it seems they are more concerned about conceding that precious away goal. A more open first leg would inevitably lead to more open second legs. Put it this way, if you asked a manager would he prefer to win 1-0 or 2-1 at home in the first leg, what would he say? Ipso facto, remove the away goals rule and you encourage more risk-taking and goal-scoring.

  12. fabr04 says:

    My Leighton Baines crack was just my passive-aggressive way of saying that I believe ACole deserves the LB spot more than Baines, both on the team of the year and for England.

    Forgot to say earlier that IMHO the referees did well in both CL matches this week. The Alaba hand ball was…harsh, but I can see why it was given, and in the end it might have hurt RM more than helped because they seemed to lose an intensity that they never recovered when they went up so early.

  13. TR says:

    One thing I have not seen mentioned, except toward Alaba by Bobby, is what character the German side had. No panic, no drop in intelligence in their play. In case you noticed, Schweinsteiger was mentioning to his side to stay calm after Ronaldo’s second goal, and behind him a worried looking Mourinho was trying to tell his exuberantly celebrating players to not overdo it. The Nou Camp were whistling RM as Bayern played the ball around. I did not realize what a skill side Bayern are, and showed attractive mentality and skill for Bundesliga soccer.

  14. TR says:

    Gomes played as well as I have ever seen him play. He did some very good things.

  15. TR- talked about it on FSR on Wednesday night.

  16. Grant – being as old as I am I can remember what it was like before the away goals rule. Away teams simply dug in and looked to keep the score down – it was all about coming home with a 0-0 draw or a 1-0 loss. So when you say that the away goals rule negates attacking play from home teams you have to accept that getting rid of it will have a knock on impact on away teams – they will be less willing to push forward. A change does not just change one thing.

  17. John Bladen says:


    You beat me to it…

    For those of us old enough to remember european football before the away goals rule, Chelsea’s tactics against FCB or Inter Milan’s similar effort a couple of years ago bring back less than fond memories.

    The away goals rule has not solved all the problems relating to negative football. But if you think clubs are playing ‘tactically’ for fear of conceding now, it’s nothing compared to the way these games used to be played. 9 outfield players behind the ball and a single attacker occasionally venturing beyond the centre circle was the norm. The “Forest of legs” that Chelsea put up over two matches (and for which Cahill, who did play well, was the only one creditted for…) was nothing compared to the 1970’s & early 80’s.

    Since we are venturing into thought experiment here… I’d be interested in comments back regarding this:

    Suppose football was to adopt a version of basketball’s “illegal defense” rule? Namely, that the neither team can have more than a certain number of players in the penalty area (either offensively or defensively) at any one time.

    The benefits are obvious… more space to create goals & chances, less ability for the defending team to recover from a mistake. Among the downsides is that it’s a harder call to judge in an 11 man sport than in a 5 man one, obviously; and that rules limiting players location on the pitch tend to seem artificial (like the gadgets so commonly used in motor racing today to produce the illusion of competition, for example).

    Agree/disagree? If you agree, what number would you think appropriate?

  18. Astronomer says:

    At the end of the day, the away goals rule’s principal net effect is that it substantially decreases the probability of penalty kicks deciding the outcome of a two-legged match-up.

    Even though penalty kicks are a source of overpowering drama and tension, they remain a controversial way of settling a tie and so my expectation is that UEFA will keep the away goals rule in place for the foreseeable (maybe even far-off) future.


  19. Astronomer says:

    John Bladen,
    It is doubtful that your suggested rule is (ever) going to be implemented.

    We already have enough controversies over the current “offensive” off-side rule.

    What you are in essence proposing is the “defensive” version of the off-side rule (well, sort of).

    It is going to lead to even more yelling and screaming (over both calls and non-calls) if it is ever put into practice.

    So, hopefully, we will never go down that route in the future.


  20. TR says:

    It is a good time to be a fan of the game with art approach (Barca), and flash and speed approach (RM) and positive mentality, consistent build and some technical (Bayern and others Bundesliga) and mostly guts, drive and some skill (English) all vying for supremacy in both trophies and the way to play the game.

  21. TR says:

    Bobby noted on FSR. Kroos isn’t German was LOL funny. Bingo. No surer test!

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