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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.


Bayern Munich and Real Madrid – Rights & Wrongs, The First Eleven

Written by on April 18, 2012 | 5 Comments »
Posted in UEFA Champions League

 It was generally an open and entertaining game with both teams creating chances.

 However, there was a considerable amount of fouls called and many were in areas where attacks often form in midfield.  If in doubt take him out prevailed.

Both teams played a surprising number of long balls with relatively little success. Bayern improved significantly in the second half but still never exceeded 50% success rate. Real Madrid doubled their attempts at long passing in the second half hoping to spring a player as Bayern pushed forward.

We are used to seeing Ozil operate between the lines and set up office in and around the opposition penalty area. Although he floated at times his predominant position was wide on the right side for Real as you can see from his positioning when receiving passes.

 Two seasons ago when saw snippets of David Alaba of Bayern Munich and he looked a promising but very raw young full back. At 17 it wasn’t that surprising. Putting Ozil up against him was clearly no accident but Alaba showed that he has improved leaps and bounds in the last 24 months. On Tuesday he had a 100% success rate with his tackles.

 On the other side of the coin Bayern Munich also targeted the left side of the Real Madrid defence. Lahm and Robben combined well and Lahm schooled Coentrao on the winning goal. This illustrates the positioning of Lahm as an outlet for Bayern passes.

R – Franck Ribery was outstanding. He was a constant threat to Real Madrid and occupied and held of multiple defenders many times during the game. His passing was consistent and he also scored the first goal for Bayern Munich.

Some of the passing from players we expect more from was quite awful.

   Overall, Ronaldo offered little threat to Bayern Munich. He missed an easy chance in the sequence that eventually lead to Real Madrid’s precious away goal. 

Centre backs often rack up impressive passing stats largely based around short balls being knocked back and forward. From Pepe’s graphic the short passing was not a problem but anything of distance was questionable.

Bastien Schweinsteiger is only just back from injury but nonetheless he was expected to exert a significant influence on the game. His passing statistics were poor and influence very limited. It was no surprise to see him make way for Thomas Mueller in the second half.

 Benzema was the outstanding player for Real Madrid. His movement was crisp and inventive and he seems to now have a confidence that has so often been missing since his move to Real Madrid. The graphic shows his willingness to show for a pass in different areas of the field.

Any thoughts on what you saw on Tuesday?

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5 responses to “Bayern Munich and Real Madrid – Rights & Wrongs, The First Eleven”

  1. Gilian says:

    Boo. I was @ work so missed the whole thing, but it was fun watching my Twitter timeline blow up during the game 🙂 Thanks for this recap!

  2. Boris says:

    I really hope for a Chelsea vs. Bayern final. I am sick and tired of watching Spanish teams win everything.

  3. Ed Gomes says:

    I’m shocked at how many cards were given out in this one. Both teams can be without key figures, in the final especially Real.

    I knw Cristiano used to get a ton of flack, not as much now, for diving/going down too easily. But where is the outrage in regards to Ribery. He dove in the box, he made a five course meal of some fouls as well. When I saw Kroos completely flop for the very first foul of the match, I chuckled. No mention from pundits.
    I’ve always been very critical of the Dutch, Argentina, Spanish Clubs, Arsenal and even my Benfica whine about calls when they flop and foul a ton. It’s funny seeing the Germans joining those clubs.

  4. […] the other semifinal, the holy trinity of tactical punditry – Jonathan Wilson, Bobby McMahon and Michael Cox – break down how FC Hollywood defeated Franco FC, although the Bavarians […]

  5. TR says:

    Nice summary.

    Why does Khedira start ahead of Diarra?

    The midfield for RM was exposed for me as the missing link. Why Diarra does not start is a mystery. I have heard of not getting along rumors.

    I think Bayern started to sense at they controlled the middle and forced RM further wide or long balls over the midfield per Pepe. Look for more the same in Madrid.

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