Real Madrid CF reached the UEFA Champions League final for the first time in 12 years as a scintillating second-leg display at FC Bayern München secured an emphatic aggregate victory.
After three consecutive semi-final defeats, the visiting fans were in raptures as Sergio Ramos twice headed in early on, before Cristiano Ronaldo's record 15th goal in this season's competition all but ended the tie by the break. Ronaldo added his second late on to complete Bayern's heaviest home defeat in Europe and, more importantly, bring Madrid's Décima dream to within one match of reality.
Many had predicted these two sides would contest the final and the atmosphere was certainly befitting of the showpiece as the players were greeted by an breathtaking mosaic spanning the entire crowd. However, the home fans soon sensed danger as Manuel Neuer came hurtling out of his box and barely connected with his header. Gareth Bale reacted quickest, but his first-time lob sailed over the unguarded net.
That relief soon turned to dismay for the Bayern fans, though, as Ramos broke the deadlock with a powerful header from Luka Modrić's right-wing corner on 16 minutes. It was deja vu four minutes later as Ramos doubled his and Madrid's tally, this time diving to connect with Pepe's flick on from another set piece from the right, Àngel Di María this time supplying the perfect delivery.
Shellshocked, Bayern pressed but remained susceptible to their visitors' rapid counterattacks. Ronaldo threatened to increase the deficit but shot wide after racing through. The FIFA Ballon d'Or winner would not be denied on 34 minutes, however, as Karim Benzema sent Bale racing clear of the Bayern defence and the Welshman unselfishly squared for the Portuguese to slot under Neuer, setting a new mark for a single European Cup season in the process.
It was the kind of transitional play the hosts had prepared for, yet by the interval their dreams of becoming the first team to defend the title in the UEFA Champions League era were in tatters. Madrid, on the other hand, were beaming after a first half in which the only sour note was a yellow card for Xabi Alonso which rules him out of the final.
Four goals up on aggregate, the Merengues could afford to soak up the pressure in the second half. Arjen Robben curled narrowly wide and Franck Ribéry's low drive drew a save from Iker Casillas, but the visitors rarely looked in danger and Ronaldo's low free-kick in the 90th minute added gloss to an already impressive scoreline as Madrid reached their 13th European Cup final, their first since they claimed their ninth title in 2002.
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