Bayern Munich is widely recognized as the most dominant team in European soccer but Real Madrid is the team with their best chance of stopping Bayern Munich from winning back-to-back UEFA Champions League titles.
When Pep Guardiola took charge at Bayern Munich, there wasn’t much he could do to make Bayern more intimidating than they already were. Jupp Heynckes had led them to a perfect and splendid treble season last year in an emphatic style. However, Guardiola has pushed all the right buttons to make the Big Red Machine truly invincible.
Under the Spaniard, the Bavarians dominate high possession and overwhelm teams with its sheer number in the attacking third, reminiscent of the Barcelona way but not without a distinct twist. But if you had to pick a team in soccer today that has been tailor-made to attack their few weaknesses with precision, then it’s Real Madrid.
Los Blancos are perfectly equipped to not only thwart Bayern’s advances but retaliate to good effect as well, as they arguably stand the most devastating counter-attacking team on the planet. The two teams who play on Wednesday night have various different elements to the game, while the fixture looks to be treated like a typical clash which was seen between Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona and Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid a couple of years ago.
Bayern has reached further with Guardiola
Towards the end of Guardiola’s Barcelona stint, he tried to devise a ‘Plan B’ but didn’t have the necessary players to succeed in his attempt. The ones he had were phenomenal technicians, but they remained slaves to the brand of soccer that was instilled in them through the uncompromising philosophy preached at La Masia.
But Bayern aren’t all about the tiki-taka style of soccer. The German outfit under Guardiola has remained far more flexible with his systems that have made him a more proactive manager as well. Bayern have the ability to cycle through formations with ease and are capable of taking a more direct route as well. This season, they have started operating three different systems during the course of a single game.
Likewise, Real Madrid has been transformed by Carlo Ancelotti and what’s admirable is that he did so while maintaining and perhaps even honing their best feature which is their threat on the counter-attack. With the emergence of Jese Rodriguez and the arrival of Gareth Bale, Madrid boosted their pace in attack this season, although Rodriguez has been sidelined due to injury and the Welshman remains a doubt for the fixture.