Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid

An entertaining first leg ends 2-2 at the Allianz. Real Madrid will be happy with that result, going back to the Bernabeu with honors even. Bayern may find themselves a bit disappointed with that result as they controlled the game for large swaths of time. Bayern seemed to be in the driver’s seat until Toni Kroos played a peach of a ball through three defenders which Vinicius Jr dispatched with ease. Bayern seemed like they may equalize before halftime but couldn’t find the back of the net. At halftime, I was just thinking “Here we go again”, Real are somehow going to come away with the win despite all the pressure from Bayern. They just find a way to win in the Champions League despite everything that gets thrown against them. Bayern came out in the second half looking for the equalizer, and it wouldn’t take long for them to find it as Konrad Laimer found Leroy Sane on the right wing. Sane took matters into his own hands and drove at the Real Madrid defense before smashing a shot past Andrey Lunin at his near post. This bit of individual brilliance is what Bayern needed to solve the Real defense. Shortly after Lucas Vazquez dangled a leg and brought down Jamal Musiala for a Bayern penalty. Say what you want about the call, I think it’s a penalty even thought Musiala was looking for it. Vazquez put himself in a bad spot by dangling his leg, giving Musiala every reason to go down. Harry Kane dispatched the penalty as he always does, and suddenly Real found themselves 2-1 down. Once Real went down, they sort of found another gear and began to look more threatening. Real would eventually earn themselves a penalty with Rodrygo getting position on Kim Min-Jae before being brought down for a penalty. Vinicius calmly dispatched the penalty to even the score, and that’s how the game would end, 2-2. This game could’ve very easily gone in Bayern’s favor had they been a bit more clinical, so I think they feel like they should’ve gotten more out of this game especially since it was at home. Real, I think, will be happy with this result going back to the Bernabeu tied up, as they always seem to work their magic there. Vinicius Jr. also has the most goal involvements in the UCL since 21/22 with 31, which I actually found a bit surprising, but credit to him as he’s been able to find a new level in the UCL. Sane is the real driving force behind Bayern, and yes it did take him since October to score, but pretty much any attack of danger was coming through Sane. If the second leg is anything like this first leg then we’re in for a treat, and I expect all the big stars to leave their mark on the game.

PSG vs Borussia Dortmund

An end-to-end and exciting first leg ends 1-0 to Dortmund, which I was honestly surprised about as I thought that PSG would have the individual skill to handle Dortmund. Both teams had chances to open the scoring before Niclas Füllkrug got Dortmund on the board in the 36th minute. An excellent piece of individual skill as Füllkrug brought the ball down perfectly and found the bottom corner, leaving Donnarumma no chance. PSG’s attack lead by Mbappe and Dembele got themselves into good positions, but they just could not solve the Dortmund defense. Mbappe came close soon after halfime, hitting the post after cutting inside from the left wing, and in the same sequence the ball eventually came out to Achraf Hakimi at the top of the box who hit the inside of the opposite post and rolled painstakingly across the goal before the danger was gone. PSG kept pushing and came close a couple of times with Mbappe and Fabian Ruiz saw his header go wide of the goal in a chance that he would surely want back. Jadon Sancho showcased his quality throughout the game, getting the best of Nuno Mendes on multiple occasions before finding a teammate. Now, no one scored as a result of any Sancho passes or crossed, but the Manchester United loanee’s performance showcased what he can do when he has confidence. Sancho was a constant threat during the game and Dortmund will need another performance like this one to go through to the final. PSG will certainly have their work cut out for them but only being down one goal is not the end of the world for this group. They showed the resilience against Barcelona in the quarters and they will need more of that in the second leg. I still believe that PSG will go through, but maybe not as convincingly as I had previously imagined. They will need their big stars to step up and take over the game. Dortmund will just need to stick to their gameplan like they did in the first leg. They’re halfway there and it will be a monumental challenge to get it done, but there is certainly a chance.