Real Madrid Vs. Bayern Munich, 2012 UEFA Champions League Semifinal: Final Still Up For Grabs

Franck Ribery of Bayern scores the first goal during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final first leg match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Real Madrid at Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany. Real Madrid and Bayern meet again on April 25, 2012. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Bayern Munich hold a fragile-looking 2-1 lead over Real Madrid halfway through their UEFA Champions League semifinal. Who'll make it through?

And now it's crunch time. Real Madrid and Bayern Munich face off Wednesday at the Santiago Bernabeu. At stake is a place in the Champions League final. Last week, Bayern won 2-1 at the Allianz Arena, a result about as neutral you can get as far as two-legged ties are concerned. The visitors have a one-goal lead, but Real Madrid have an away goal, so they're probably just as happy with the score as the Germans.

Although the two sides' European fortunes are essentially similar, one's doing far better than the other in domestic competition. Real Madrid's 2-1 win at Barcelona -- an amazing feat for Jose Mourinho's men -- opened up a seven-point cushion at the top of the table and puts them in prime position to take the La Liga title. On the same day that Madrid produced its historic result, Bayern Munich found themselves on the outside looking in, as Borussia Dortmund successfully defended their Bundesliga crown with a 2-0 win against Borussia Monchengladbach.

Bayern Munich would desperately love to make up for their poor domestic performance by winning the Champions League final, a competition in which BVB fell flat on their face. Becoming European Champions on their own ground would be a spectacular way to make up for their league woes, and you'd have to imagine that Jupp Heynckes' men will be going all-out to make things happen.

But that doesn't mean that Real don't want to raise the Champions League trophy just as badly. Although they've all but bested Barcelona in La Liga, they'll want to show off their dominance with continental triumph as well. This is the competition that Jose Mourinho was brought in to win, and he's not far away from it now.

With Bayern resting a number of players that started last Tuesday for their 2-1 win over Werder Bremen, expect a similar lineup to the one we saw last time out, with the possible exception of Thomas Muller in for the barely-fit Bastian Schweinsteiger. Real, on the other hand, may need to freshen things up. They've had a reasonable break, but the same lineup has started two matches in a row, and Mourinho may want to use the likes of Gonzalo Higuain or Kaka to get some fresh legs out onto the pitch.

Projected Real Madrid Lineup (4-2-3-1): Iker Casillas; Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Alvaro Arbeloa; Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira; Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil, Angel di Maria; Gonzalo Higuain.

Projected Bayern Munich Lineup (4-2-3-1): Manuel Neuer; David Alaba, Holger Badstuber, Jerome Boateng, Phillipp Lahm; Toni Kroos, Luiz Gustavo; Franck Ribery, Thomas Muller, Arjen Robben; Mario Gomez.

Game Date/Time: Wedneday, April 25, 2:45 p.m. ET, 8:45 p.m. local

Venue: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain

TV: FX (U.S. - English), FOX Deportes (U.S. - Spanish), Sportsnet HD (Canada), ITV 1 (U.K.)

We'll have pre-game and live game coverage in our Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich StoryStream. For more on the two teams, head over to Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid and Bayern Munich blog Bavarian Football Works.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.