With the first-leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final between FC Bayern and Real Madrid only a few hours way, Bundesliga Football takes a look back at the most significant matches that formed a rare international rivalry.
April 8, 1987: FC Bayern 4 v 1 Real Madrid
The third ever competitive match between the two giants took place in the 1987 European Cup semi-final. This match is usually seen as the beginning of the rivalry. After just 37 minutes, Bayern were leading 3-0 (Klaus Augenthaler, Lothar Matthäus and Roland Wohlfarth with the goals). Following the third, a dominated Madrid couldn’t hide the frustration anymore. Forward Juanito, to this day still honored by RM fans, lost his mind for a minute and kicked the face of Matthäus who was already lying on the ground after a kick to the back. Juanito was not only sent off but banned from all European competitions for five years. A goal by Emilio Butragueno right before half-time raised hopes that were crushed by Matthäus’ second goal of the night quickly after the break. With 20 minutes to go, Madrid defender Mino was sent off as well, the guests finished the match with nine players and a three-goal deficit that proved to be enough for Bayern to proceed to the final. Santillana scored the only goal and Augenthaler was shown a red card in a match that, considering what had happened in the first leg, had to be intense and chaotic.
March 16, 1988: Real Madrid 2 v 0 FC Bayern
One year later, the clubs met again, this time in the quarterfinal. The first leg seemed to be similar to the one in ’87, Bayern dominated and scored three goals (Pflügler, Eder, Wohlfarth). However, they stopped playing five minutes too early, late goals by Butragueno and Hugo Sanchez brought the advantage and momentum back to Spain. And they were very determined to eliminate the Germans this time. An overly physical, not to say brutal match made the FCB players lose focus. Goals by Milan Jankovic and Michel secured Real Madrid the win and the semi-final appearance in what can be described as Bernabeu hell. The true miracle of this game is that not a single player was sent off. It was at times a display of pure hatred.
February 29, 2000: Real Madrid 2 v 4 FC Bayern
Champions League group stage, the first meeting after 12 years but the rivalry was still well alive. The CL winner of 1998 against the runner-up of 1999, this was a match of highest quality. A lovely finish by Mehmet Scholl gave Bayern the lead after 20 minutes, a direct free-kick converted by Stefan Effenberg just a few minutes later seemed to be the early decider but Fernando Morientes answered immediately. Shortly before the break, holding midfielder Thorsten Fink scored from outside the box to make it 3-1. Half-time didn’t cost the match its quality, Raul brought his side back to life early in the second half. When Paulo Sergio’s header found the back of the net after a bit more than an hour, the teams finally seemed to accept the result, a brilliant match won by a brilliant FCB. But in the end it was time to celebrate in Madrid. Bayern won the second group match 4-1 and the second-leg of the semi-final where the clubs met again 2-1, yet the Spaniards eliminated them because of a 2-0 home win. Beating a team three out of four times but still eliminated, does it get any worse?
May 9, 2001: FC Bayern 2 v 1 Real Madrid
12 months after that painful elimination, it was time for revenge. The rivals faced off again in the Champions League semi-final. In the first leg, Bayern could beat Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu for the first time ever thanks to a Giovane Elber goal, providing his team with a brilliant opportunity to make it to the final for the second time in three years. And Bayern delivered at home. Again Elber scored an early goal that meant that Madrid would have to score at least twice. When Luis Figo completed the first half of the task with over 70 minutes to be played, the result of this leg was almost impossible to predict. The hosts however remained calm and when tough guy Jens Jeremies scored ten minutes before the break, Bayern fans were relieved and almost certain that this would be it – the final nail in the coffin. They were right. Madrid tried but couldn’t score, Munich made it to the final where they beat Valencia and won the trophy for the first time since 1976, the year of the first encounter between the two clubs.
March 7, 2007: FC Bayern 2 v 1 Real Madrid
Round of 16 this time, one would almost say way too early for this clash, the last competitive matches until now. Madrid managed to win the first leg at home 3-2, the world-class strikers Raul and Ruud van Nistelrooy scored for The Galacticos, Lucio and Mark van Bommel for Bayern. The memorable last-minute goal scored by the former Barcelona midfielder was a memorable one, his offensive goal celebration is unforgotten. As 1988 proved, a 3-2 home win in the first leg just isn’t enough. Still, Bayern had to score at least once to have a chance. It took them 10 seconds. Directly after kick off, Roberto Carlos lost the ball to Hasan Salihamidzic whose pass reached the right foot of Roy Makaay, the fastest goal in Champions League history (and let’s be honest here, no match would be more suited for such a record than one between these rivals). Madrid couldn’t beat Oliver Kahn and when Lucio headed the ball for the 2-0 lead it was all but over. Van Nistelrooy made the final minutes a bit more exciting by converting a penalty but the guests failed to score another. Bayern made it to the quarter-final where they lost against Milan.
As you can see, matches between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid are affairs that shouldn’t be missed. Sometimes of an excellent quality, sometimes brutal, but always close, intense and entertaining. While Madrid are favorites this year, it wouldn’t be the first time we see a surprise if Bayern can make it to the final. Check out the match preview for the first-leg clash tonight here.