Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 29th 2014 Contents A60
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, April 29, 2014
MUNICH---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 today and will seek
to use Bayern s recent weakness in
defending against counterattacks to its
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
today 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
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
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
"I have to support him. Every day,
every week I think what I can do to
help Franck," Guardiola said before the
game against Werder.
POSSESSION IS GOOD,
GOALS ARE BETTER
Pep Guardiola s mantra about con-
trolling possession is coming under
scrutiny following a few unconvincing
performances. Bayern dominated in
Madrid, especially in the first half, but
lost the game to a perfectly executed
counterattack finished by Karim Ben-
Werder used the same game plan:
while Bayern spent most of the first
half passing the ball around, Werder
used the two chances in had off fast
breaks to score two goals, a 100 percent
efficiency. Bayern turned the game
around in the second half, when some
of its regulars came off the bench.
Bayern has conceded eight goals in
its last three Bundesliga games at home
and was ripped apart 3-0 by Borussia
Dortmund s counter game. It is the only
one of four semifinalists to have con-
ceded in the first leg.
Munich has not been good to Real
Madrid before. Bayern has eight wins
against Madrid at home, with one draw.
Madrid has a terrible record in Ger-
many: two wins with 19 defeats and
six draws. But Real Madrid eliminated
two German sides in the two previous
rounds this season, Schalke and Borussia
Dortmund. Madrid won 6-1 at Schalke,
but lost 2-0 in Dortmund and came
close to being eliminated.
Madrid and Bayern have met in Euro-
pean Cup semifinals five times, with
Madrid coming through only once, in
2000. In the most recent matchup, Bay-
ern won on penalties in 2012.
The last two times Real Madrid won
the title, it defeated Bayern --- in the
semifinals in 2000 and in the quarter-
finals in 2002.
If there is one Real Madrid player
more than any other who will be eager
to play well at Bayern Munich it is
defender Sergio Ramos.
Ramos, who has lifted several trophies
with Madrid and the World Cup with
Spain, suffered perhaps his lowest
moment as a football player when he
missed a spot kick in a penalty shootout
against Bayern two years ago at the
same stage in the Champions League.
Bayern went through to the final after
goalkeeper Manuel Neuer saved Cris-
tiano Ronaldo s and Kaka s spot kicks
before Ramos launched his try well high
over the bar at the Santiago Bernabeu.
"It was hard but you have to put it
behind you, look forward and leave bad
memories behind you," Ramos said.
"These moments define your profes-
sional career. We hope everything goes
well and that I can finally play in a
Champions League final."
Real Madrid has been seeking that
elusive 10th European Cup title since
2002, and missed out the last two sea-
sons by falling in the penultimate stage.
Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti oversaw
Milan s home and away wins (both 2-
1) over Bayern in the 2002-03 group
stage, then overcame the German side
5-2 on aggregate in the round of 16 in
2006. In the following season, Ancelot-
ti s Milan got past Bayern in the quar-
"At this stage in the competition the
psychological aspect is more important
than tactics," Ancelotti said. "We have
to be strong mentally in order to do our
best to reach the final." (AP)
defender Dani Alves has received
an outpouring of support for his
response to a racist taunt during
a match, while Villarreal issued
a lifetime ban to the season-ticket
holder who threw a banana at
Alves, who is black, was about
to take a corner in Sunday s 3-2
win at Villarreal s El Madrigal Sta-
dium when a banana landed on
the pitch in front of him. The Brazil
international picked it up, peeled
it and ate some of it before throw-
ing the rest aside.
"Villarreal deeply regrets and
condemns the incident that hap-
pened," Villarreal said in a state-
ment yesterday. "The club has
already identified the (culprit) and
has decided to withdraw his season
After the match, Alves said
humour was the best way to com-
bat racism in sport. That sentiment
has led fellow football players, offi-
cials and even political figures from
around the globe to respond with
solidarity by picturing themselves
eating a banana.
Barcelona teammate Neymar
posted a photo of himself on Insta-
gram holding a peeled banana
alongside his son, who was holding
a doll that resembled a banana.
Fellow Brazil teammates Hulk
and Fred also lent support via their
social media accounts.
Argentina striker Sergio Aguero
and Brazil women s striker Marta
both posed for photos while biting
into bananas, while former Brazil
international Roberto Carlos also
posted an internet photo of himself
with the fruit.
"We have suffered this in Spain
for some time," Alves said Sunday.
"You have to take it with a dose
of humour. We aren t going to
change things easily. If you don t
give it importance, they don t
achieve their objective."
Brazilian President Dilma Rouss-
eff, who has been actively con-
demning racist acts in Brazilian
football, also expressed her support
to Alves, while Italian Prime Min-
ister Matteo Renzi and Italy
national team coach Cesare Pran-
delli also shared a banana in a pho-
Rousseff praised Neymar for
getting behind his teammate and
reiterated that Brazil will "raise the
flag against racial discrimination"
during the World Cup.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter also
commented on Twitter, saying that
"what (Alves) tolerated last night
is an outrage." (AP)
Bayern looks to
overcome 1-0 deficit
Bayern's Bastian Schweinsteiger
celebrates after scoring his side's
fourth goal besides team mate Franck
Ribery of France during the German
first division Bundesliga football
match between FC Bayern Munich and
SV Werder Bremen in Munich,
southern Germany, Saturday. AP
Alves gets support after
racist banana taunt
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