Champions League Cracker in Store as Bayern Munich Face Real Madrid
“It is not how you start the race or where you are during the race, it is how you cross the finish line that will matter.”
Cristiano Ronaldo never used to give much respect to Robert D Hales’ quote, Portugal’s own used to tear off at 100mph and his stunning physical attributes enabled him to stay out front for the whole season.
But now well into his 30s, Ronaldo heeds the words of Hales as he now manages his body to ensure he is at peak form for the business end of a season.
When he failed to fire at the start of the current campaign, at a time when his Real Madrid side was going through a poor form spell, some were questioning whether Ronaldo’s time at the summit of the game was over.
Since the year began, the engine has been turned up and Ronaldo has delivered consistent excellence to drive Madrid forward. Too much ground had been ceded to Barcelona in the Liga title race, but the defence of their Champions League crown remains alive and Real are now two games away from the final in Kiev.
Those two games will not be easy, German titans Bayern Munich stand in their way. But Real has a peak-form Ronaldo in their ranks and the Bundesliga side still have open wounds from the previous occasions the world player of the year has hurt them.
Last season, a Ronaldo hat-trick helped Real knock out Bayern at the quarter-final stage, while in 2013/14 he was on target twice in a semi-final success. On each occasion, Real went on to lift the trophy and they will have designs on repeating the feat.
Bayern’s players have talked positively about having plans in place to shackle Ronaldo, but it can be tough to halt a force of nature. His past record and current form will bring all his Portuguese confidence to the game.
Ronaldo has never lacked for self-confidence, but he knows he can hurt Bayern and he also has the added incentive of records being within his grasp. He is two strikes adrift of his own single-season record for most goals in the Champions League (17), while Radamel Falcao’s 18 goals is the most in any European competition in a single campaign.
Bayern’s last Champions League success came back in 2013, and the man in the dugout that day, Jupp Heynckes, is back in charge of the club. Pep Guardiola failed to deliver European glory, Carlo Ancelotti likewise, so the club turned back to the wise old head of Heynckes.
Bayern has the talent to trouble Real, and Heynckes will have the belief that victory can be delivered, but the current champions of Spain look to be peaking at the right time and can be backed to reach the final at 1.85 with 188BET – while Bayern is priced at 2.05.
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