Real Madrid earned a narrow one-goal advantage at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday evening as they beat Bayern Munich 2-1 in the Champions League semi-final first leg.
The Spanish club came from behind thanks to goals from Marcelo and Marco Asensio to claim the victory in Munich in what was an intriguing tie between two European giants.
Here are five things we learnt from the match:
Asensio the heir to Ronaldo’s crown
With Real Madrid having struggled throughout the majority of the first half, Zinedine Zidane elected to make a change. However, the departing Isco was surprisingly replaced not by Karim Benzema or Gareth Bale, but instead Marco Asensio.
The 22-year-old justified his manager’s faith by capitalising on a mistake from Rafinha and scoring the winning goal. The tenacity, pace and drive that the youngster displayed was reminiscent of Ronaldo himself. Asensio then, who has scored 11 goals so far this season, could well yet be the one to claim Ronaldo’s place in the team once the Portuguese superstar departs the Bernabeu.
Stars fail to sparkle
Speaking of Ronaldo, in a game that was billed as a colossal clash between two of the best goalscorers in the world, him and Robert Lewandowski, both failed to deliver.
Ronaldo was stifled of any service as Real Madrid were forced to defend throughout the majority of the game, and Lewandowski really struggled to impose himself on the imperious figures of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane.
Having netted 81 goals between them this season, it was disappointing to see the two superstars of world football silenced.
Manchester United and Chelsea wince at error
The links to David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois are only going to get stronger after Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas dropped yet another clanger for Bayern’s opener. Real Madrid are reportedly looking to replace him this summer and the Manchester United and Chelsea stoppers are the most likely candidates.
The Costa Rican was beaten by a strike from Bayern defender Joshua Kimmich at his near post. Whilst it was sweetly struck, Navas should have done a lot better. After his high-profile error against Juventus in the quarter-finals, questions will continue to arise surrounding his quality at the Bernabeu.
Marcelo is a risk which pays off
One of Marcelo’s main threats is his excellent ability to get forwards on Real Madrid’s left. Whilst it can sometimes hamper the team, evidenced in Bayern’s opening strike where he was caught out of position, it is so often a potent weapon.
The Brazilian was ready and waiting on the edge of the box as half-time approached, to send an excellent low strike into the net and earn what could be a crucial away goal for Zinedine Zidane’s men – before Marcos Asensio later added a second on the counter-attack.
Marcelo attacked with vigour throughout the game and caused the Bayern defence plenty of problems, showing how useful he can be to Real. His strike made it three consecutive rounds in which he has scored.
Bayern are in with a chance – albeit a slim one
Bayern Munich have to win the second leg at the Bernabeu in order to progress. Whilst it will be difficult, Jupp Heynckes’ men do have the quality within their squad to do it – and this has already shown itself to be a year of stunning comebacks in the Champions League. But after scoring two away goals, Real Madrid are halfway to reach their third successive Champions League final.