José Mourinho's Real Madrid CF have waltzed into the UEFA Champions League semi-finals undefeated and with a staggering 32 goals to their name. But they face a tough old adversary in opponents FC Bayern München, one of the few teams who have had the edge over Madrid in this competition.
Ten years ago, Bayern and Real Madrid were the dominant forces in European football. The German giants twice reached the UEFA Champions League final between Madrid's seventh (1998, under current Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes), eighth (2000) and ninth (2002) triumphs, finishing as runners-up in 1999 and lifting their fourth trophy in 2001.
Since then, however, UEFA Champions League success has proven surprisingly hard to come by for both. Bayern fell at the final hurdle to FC Internazionale Milano in 2010, while Madrid have failed to even make it that far, instead watching arch-rivals FC Barcelona earn a hat-trick of titles.
Bayern and Madrid are familiar foes, having locked horns 18 times in Europe's elite club competition; the Bavarians triumphant on ten occasions to the Spanish side's six. Few teams in Europe would relish the task of taking on free-scoring Madrid at the moment – a team that has already hit the 100-goal milestone in the Liga – but Bayern can draw confidence from that impressive head-to-head record.
Another fillip for Heynckes' charges is the knowledge that three of Bayern's ten victories against Madrid have come in semi-final ties; the Merengues have celebrated just once (a 3-2 aggregate win in 2000) in four previous meetings at this stage.
Should either side need any extra motivation for this encounter, it is worth mentioning that only once in those four ties have the winners of this semi-final failed to go on to lift the trophy. That win, in 2000, set Real Madrid on course to beat Valencia CF for the title, but Bayern knocked out Madrid at this stage en route to their 1976 and 2001 trophy wins.
They are also desperate to play the final before their home crowd at the Fußball Arena München. Can they repeat their trick and deny Madrid their first UEFA Champions League final in ten years, or will the all-white steamroller rumble on?
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