MUNICH (AP) - Bayern Munich seems to be going through a bumpy ride right in the crucial part of the season.
Dominant until a few weeks ago, Pep Guardiola’s team has been less-than-convincing in some recent matches.
In the Champions League, Real Madrid takes a 1-0 lead into the second leg of the semifinals on Tuesday and will seek to use Bayern’s recent weakness in defending against counterattacks to its advantage.
With 14 titles between them, nine of them Madrid‘s, these are two of the most successful Champions League teams. Bayern is hoping to become the first team to retain the title.
Here are five things to know about Tuesday’s match:
THE RIBERY FACTOR
Franck Ribery adds an element of the unexpected to Bayern’s game.
The mercurial France winger makes Bayern’s game more difficult to figure out. His dribbling and goal scoring often make the difference. The problem is, Ribery has been far from stellar in recent weeks.
Ever since losing out in the Ballon d’Or vote (Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo won the title), Ribery appears to be in a sulking mood. The sensitive Frenchman has had little impact in recent matches, including the first leg in Madrid.
Ribery may have woken up just in time. In Saturday’s 5-2 win over Werder Bremen, Ribery scored a goal and played a role in two in what was his best game in weeks. Coach Pep Guardiola was seen encouraging one of his key players on the touchline.
“You know how important he is for this club, for the players. He played with aggression (against Bremen). He was playing like he was angry, and he needs that … He needs to be angry with himself,” Guardiola said Monday.
“He’s always fighting, fighting, fighting. He’s one of the best players in Bayern’s history. We need him and a good performance to reach the final.”
POSSESSION IS GOOD, GOALS ARE BETTER