Bayern trails Real Madrid 1-0 in Champions League

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 28, 2014 at 6:25 am •  Published: April 28, 2014
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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:

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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."

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POSSESSION IS GOOD, GOALS ARE BETTER

Pep Guardiola's mantra about controlling 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 Benzema.

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 conceded in the first leg.

"Madrid is a fast team. If you lose the ball you have to get back into position straight away. They're one of the fastest teams in the world," Guardiola said. "I know (Madrid coach Carlo) Ancelotti's mentality and I rate his football. I can't imagine he will defend the result for 90 minutes.