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Champions League Classics: Real Madrid 2-1 Bayern

Gen up on this epic 2012 semi-final decider before watching it in full on UEFA.tv.

Real Madrid and Bayern walked a knife-edge for 120 minutes in their 2011/12 UEFA Champions League decider before a huge test of nerve at the Santiago Bernabéu.

WATCH THE GAME IN FULL

Context

First leg highlights: Bayern 2-1 Real Madrid
First leg highlights: Bayern 2-1 Real Madrid

"We're only halfway there," winger Franck Ribéry told UEFA.com after a late Mario Gomez finish earned Bayern a 2-1 win against Real Madrid in the home leg of their semi-final. With the final taking place in Munich, getting past José Mourinho's men was almost more than Jupp Heynckes' team dared to dream of, and they were right to be wary of opponents who were running away with the Spanish title – and had won all five UEFA Champions League home games that season, scoring 22 goals.

Key players

Cristiano Ronaldo: The Portuguese phenomenon scored an unprecedented 40 goals in the 2010/11 Liga, but had already eclipsed that total as he prepared to take on Bayern again. He drew a blank in Bavaria, but remained lethal – and had successfully converted his last 24 Madrid penalties.

Manuel Neuer: Signed from rivals Schalke in 2011, Neuer soon proved himself to wary Bayern fans, breaking the club's record for consecutive clean sheets. Mindful of what might happen in Madrid, he had done his homework with goalkeeper coach Toni Tapalović providing spot-kick tips.

Five trademark Arjen Robben strikes
Five trademark Arjen Robben strikes

Arjen Robben: The Dutchman had left Real Madrid with immense reluctance in 2009, edged out by the arrivals of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaká. Up against Mourinho, his former Chelsea boss, the wide man was in for an emotional night.

What happened

Bayern's lead was overturned inside 15 minutes. Neuer had studied Ronaldo's penalty technique but could not prevent him converting from the spot after David Alaba handled, and the Portuguese then hit his tenth of the European campaign after Mesut Özil delivered a miscued clearance into his path. However, it was back to all-square when Robben dispatched a 27th-minute penalty.

The goals dried up thereafter, the visitors passing up the best of the chances during the tense 93 minutes that followed. The shoot-out was a nail-biter too; Neuer guessed right to fend off efforts from Ronaldo and Kaká, but Iker Casillas denied Toni Kroos and Philipp Lahm to even things up before Sergio Ramos skied Madrid's fourth attempt. Bastian Schweinsteiger made Bayern's fifth kick count and they were bound for the final.

Reaction

Great Champions League goals from 2011/12
Great Champions League goals from 2011/12

Manuel Neuer, Bayern goalkeeper: "I chose the right corner twice [in the shoot-out] but the reality is you never know which side the opponent will aim for. Of course, you need luck in those circumstances."

José Mourinho, Madrid coach: "Bayern won, they were luckier than us and I've learnt to be happy for them. This is the beauty of football. Nobody knows what is going to happen."

Jupp Heynckes, Bayern coach: "Manuel Neuer was fantastic, he saved two penalties and steered the third one over the bar with his eyes. The most important thing is that we reached the final. That's outstanding, historic. Nothing else matters at the moment. I guess a glass of red wine is OK today."

Elsewhere that night

There were no other UEFA games that Wednesday night, but in Serie A, Antonio Conte's table-topping Juventus prevailed 1-0 at Cesena – relegating their opponents in the process – to maintain a three-point lead over AC Milan. Kevin-Prince Boateng – half-brother of Bayern's Jérôme Boateng – scored in Milan's 1-0 win at Genoa.

Aftermath

2012 final highlights: Chelsea 1-1 Bayern (4-3 pens)
2012 final highlights: Chelsea 1-1 Bayern (4-3 pens)

Robben was reunited with former Chelsea team-mates in the final in Munich, but it would be an occasion to forget for Heynckes' side. It went to penalties after a 1-1 draw, with Ivica Olić and Schweinsteiger failing to convert, inviting Didier Drogba to slot the winner. Bayern made amends the following year, beating Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 Wembley showpiece.

Madrid failed to reach the UEFA Champions League final but it was still a phenomenal season for the Merengues, who claimed their 32nd Liga title and broke a number of records: highest points' tally (100), most goals scored (121), biggest goal difference (+89) among others. Ronaldo bagged a record 46 Liga goals and a career-best 60 in all competitions – but would smash both those records in 2014/15.

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