As nine-time European champions Real Madrid CF travel to FC Schalke 04, we investigate a worrying record in Germany that has brought them a solitary win in 25 trips.
Real Madrid CF have left a trail of destruction on their march to European glory over the past six decades, but there is a large tract of land that has remained mostly unconquered: Germany. Their 4-1 loss at Borussia Dortmund in last season's semi-final first leg was their 25th visit and their 18th defeat; they have managed six draws and a solitary win – against Bayer 04 Leverkusen in 2000. We look back at the good, the bad and the ugly.
Hamburger SV 5-1 Real Madrid
1979/80 European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-finals
Madrid had one foot in their ninth European Cup final after beating Hamburg 2-0 in the opening instalment of this last-four tie. Yet, in what is regarded as HSV's finest hour (and a half), those dreams were shattered. Their first-leg advantage was cancelled out inside 16 minutes by a Manfred Kaltz penalty and trademark Horst Hrubesch header.
Laurie Cunningham replied but by half-time Hamburg were in the box seat after further efforts from Kaltz and Hrubesch; Caspar Memering's last-minute strike capped a memorable triumph. "The fans didn't want to go home and stayed in the stadium for around an hour," recalled defender Ditmar Jakobs. "It was the best HSV match of all time."
1. FC Kaiserslautern 5-0 Real Madrid
1981/82 UEFA Cup quarter-finals
In a game with distinct echoes of that Hamburg meeting, Madrid arrived in Germany with a two-goal first-leg cushion – 3-1 on this occasion – yet were back to square one in no time. Two early strikes from Friedhelm Funkel gave Kaiserslautern an away-goals advantage and Madrid, the wounds of two years earlier reopened, imploded.
Isidoro San José and Cunningham were sent off before the interval and, after Ronnie Hellström had saved Rafael García Cortés's penalty, Francisco Pineda followed them down the tunnel midway through the second period. All the while the Red Devils kept picking off visitors, captained by Vicente del Bosque, with Hannes Bongartz (48), Norbert Eilenfeldt (55) and Reiner Geye (71) all scoring.
VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach 5-1 Real Madrid
1985/86 UEFA Cup third round
Mönchengladbach's Bökelbergstadion was too small to accommodate the hordes wanting a glimpse of Madrid so this tie was switched to Dusseldorf – and the 65,000 crowd were not disappointed. Amid driving rain Jupp Heynckes's side did not so much make themselves at home as raid the fridge, light a fire and fall asleep in front of the TV.
Frank Mill's strike and José Antonio Salguero's own goal put Mönchengladbach 2-0 up at the break, and better was to follow. "In the second half we completely outclassed them," said Uwe Rahn, who scored twice before Ewald Lienen added another. A consolation effort from Rafael Gordillo, who was later red-carded, would prove decisive, though, as Madrid won 4-0 at home to take the tie on away goals.
FC Bayern München 4-1 Real Madrid
1999/2000 UEFA Champions League second group stage
On paper, the Merengues' were the favourites, yet twice in nine days in March 2000, Bayern tore up the script. They triumphed 4-2 at the Santiago Bernabéu and went even better the following week, displaying the ruthless streak that would serve them so well in their run to 2001 European glory.
Madrid landed in Bavaria attempting to rebuild confidence after their chastening defeat but were two down inside the first half-hour after goals from Mehmet Scholl and Giovane Elber. Iván Helguera raised hopes of a comeback, only for substitute Alexander Zickler to sink them with two goals.
FC Bayern München 2-1 Real Madrid
2000/01 UEFA Champions League semi-finals
It was a closer affair 12 months later. Elber had earned a 1-0 victory at the Bernabéu and his header eight minutes into the return put Bayern firmly in the driving seat. Luís Figo's swift response made it a less comfortable ride, though Ottmar Hitzfeld's tactic of soaking up pressure and hitting the visitors on the break worked perfectly.
Jens Jeremies earned the hosts breathing space before half-time, rifling in following Scholl's tapped free-kick and there was no way back for Madrid. "The team performed fantastically. To beat Real twice is sensational. We have completed a small miracle," said Hitzfeld, whose team beat Valencia CF in the final.
Borussia Dortmund 4-1 Real Madrid
2012/13 UEFA Champions League semi-finals
Madrid's sixth successive defeat on German soil and certainly one of the most comprehensive as Robert Lewandowski crushed José Mourinho's men, the Polish striker becoming the first player to score four goals in a UEFA Champions League semi-final. The only really surprise as the bones were picked over the following day was how Madrid, through Cristiano Ronaldo, had briefly gained parity either side of half-time.
"Something clicked in the second half," said coach Jürgen Klopp. "I've never seen such a great goal as Lewy's third – that was absolutely amazing. It was a great experience which will remain a lasting memory for everyone involved, no matter what happens in the return leg." His team conceded twice late on in a 2-0 loss in Madrid but there was no undoing this performance.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2-3 Real Madrid
2000/01 UEFA Champions League group stage
Madrid's lone success in 24 attempts in Germany came in 2000 though they did it the hard way. Twice Del Bosque's side fell behind in this matchday two fixture, to goals from Bernd Schneider and Michael Ballack, only for Roberto Carlos and Guti to restore parity. Roberto Carlos then hit the winner 15 minutes from time, capitalising on Jens Nowotny's error and powering in.
It was the only time in 144 appearances in UEFA competition that the Brazilian left-back scored twice in a game. Madrid could do with something just as special in Gelsenkirchen on Wednesday.