Giants renew bitter rivalry

Giants renew bitter rivalry

After a gap of five years, Bayern face Real in first-leg semis today

From Juanito stamping on Lothar Matthaeus’ head to an entire team storming off the pitch in a friendly, there is no love lost between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, who resume their bitter rivalry on Tuesday. 

The luck of the draw has ensured a five-year truce between the two swaggering giants, who have been European champions 13 times between them. But the peace will be shattered when they clash at the Allianz Arena in their Champions League semifinal first leg. 

It will be their fifth semifinal meeting in Europe’s top club competition and offers Real Madrid, well on course to win La Liga, the chance to bring Bayern’s season to a miserable conclusion. 

The Bavarians have already seen their Bundesliga title challenge fizzle out and are now playing to keep alive their dream of playing the Champions League final in their own stadium.  There is an endless list of ingredients to spice up an encounter whose history of violence, slanging matches and red cards would not be out of place in South America. 

Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes and forward Arjen Robben both have scores to settle, having left the Bernabeu through the back door after their spells at Real.  Heynckes was the coach, who ended Real's 32-year wait for their sixth European Cup title in 1997/98, and yet despite this was removed. 

Dutchman Robben was booted out after being told he was not wanted by club president Florentino Perez. 

The pre-match comments have been the usual banal fare with players and officials offering respect for the opposition and playing down rivalries. 

“There are a lot of elements to take into consideration and the first of those is Bayern’s history,” said Real director Emilio Butragueno. Yet Butragueno is all too aware of the bitterness between the two clubs, having played for Real during the 1980s.  

The first meeting between the two sides, in the 1975/76 semifinals, set the tone. 

Real’s Roberto Martinez broke his nose in a collision with Bayern goalkeeper Sepp Maier and a fan known as ‘El Loco del Bernabeu’ (The Bernabeu madman) ran onto the pitch and attacked the referee and Bayern striker Gerd Mueller. 

Bayern went on to the win the competition for the third year in a row. Their next competitive meeting, another semifinal 11 years later when Bayern again won, brought the infamous incident where Juanito stamped on the back and then the head of Matthaeus while a team-mate kicked the German playmaker’s thigh. 

Juanito, who died in a car crash in 1992 at the age of 37, was given a five-year European ban. Even when the matches were supposedly friendly, there was trouble.  In 1981, Bayern’s entire team stormed off the pitch during a match in Real’s pre-season Santiago Bernabeu trophy tournament after they had a player sent off for making obscene gestures to fans. 

It got little better during Real’s so-called Galacticos era when Bayern goalkeeper Oliver Kahn became public enemy number one among Real fans, while the Spaniards were seen in Bavaria as showboaters. 

Before a first knockout round meeting in 2004, Bayern’s Peruvian striker Claudio Pizarro said: “We’re going to score five goals against those clowns.”

It brought a predictably furious reaction from Spain but Real had the last laugh, winning 2-1 on aggregate. 

There was none of the trash talk from Bayern’s Bastian Schweinsteiger following Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Mainz 05.  “It’s all or nothing on Tuesday,” he said, aware that Bayern have won eight and drawn one of nine home meetings against Real.
Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid factfile

* Head-to-head record

* Played: 18

* Wins: Bayern 10, Real 6, draws 2

* This is the fifth time these two European heavyweights have met in the semis of Europe's premier club tournament and Bayern hold the advantage, having failed to advance to the final just once.

* Bayern have reached the CL semifinals five times before and gone on to the final three times. In the European Cup as a whole they total 13 semifinals and eight finals. Real have been in six previous CL semifinals and three finals. They hold the record of 22 previous European Cup semifinals and 12 finals.

* Bayern have a great home record against Real with eight wins and one draw in nine matches. Real's only draw came in the knockout round in 2004 when Roberto Carlos scored a late equaliser to make it 1-1.

* Real are not at their best when they travel to Germany. They have won only once in 22 away games against German clubs, a 3-2 victory over Bayer Leverkusen in the 2000-01 CL season. They have lost 15 of those games and conceded three goals or more eight times.

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