Bayern Munich and Real Madrid played a wildly entertaining and wide open 30 minutes of football to start the second leg of their UEFA Champions League semifinal tie, but shifted into a slower-paced, conservative, tactical battle for the rest of the match. Real Madrid took a 2-0 lead early, but Bayern answered with an away goal that locked up the tie at 3-3. With the tie even, both teams changed their strategy and eventually found themselves in a penalty shootout. In penalties, Manuel Neuer came up huge with two saves, sending the Bavarians through to the UEFA Champions League final.
Madrid took the lead after just six minutes of play through a penalty kick. David Alaba was the man whistled for the penalty, with the referee catching him blocking an Angel Di Maria shot with his arm. Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up and buried the penalty. They doubled their lead from open play in the 14th minute, once again through Ronaldo. Mesut Özil provided the assist, hitting a pass into the box for an unmarked Ronaldo, who calmly placed a shot past Manuel Neuer.
Bayern Munich produced a surprising answer, and it was an absolute gift from Los Merengues. In the 26th minute, Pepe was called for a push in the back on Mario Gomez, who was trying to get on the end of a Toni Kroos cross. Gomez had almost no chance to get to the cross, so it was inexplicable that Pepe felt the need to ever put an arm on the Bayern striker. He went down easily, but Pepe had no reason to touch him in the first place. Arjen Robben stepped up and like Ronaldo at the other end, converted his penalty calmly.
Robben almost gave his side the aggregate lead with a free kick in first half stoppage time, but Iker Casillas made a terrific save. It wasn't obvious live, but Karim Benzema deflected the free kick with a handball, and it was a much more egregious one than the one Alaba committed on the other end.
Neither manager made any changes at halftime, but the game still changed considerably. The first half was very fast and open, with both teams regularly going through the midfield with long passes, but the second half was played at a slower place and was played almost exclusively in the middle. Bayern's deep midfielders did a better job of winning the ball than Madrid's while Kroos came deep to find the ball much more often than Özil, allowing Bayern to control possession.
Both teams had chances throughout the second half, but they were really just half chances. Both Neuer and Iker Casillas looked very composed between the sticks throughout and, despite some minor hiccups, both teams defended much better in the second half than they did in the first. Benzema was Madrid's biggest threat, forcing a save in the 57th minute and getting free down the endline in the 77th, but on that occasion his cross was blocked.
Bayern's best chance of the second half came late, in the 86th minute. Arjen Robben put a low ball right to the feet of Gomez, who had a chance to shoot, but he appeared to contract the Yips. His touch was absolutely woeful.
When one of the best strikers in the world takes a touch like that, it's more or less a sign from the divine that this game requires extra time. No one scored in the final four minutes of regular time, and the match headed for 30 more minutes of football.
With the result of the match still up in the air, the biggest events in the first half of extra time were the yellow cards. Luiz Gustavo and Holger Badstuber, both on potential suspension, picked up yellow cards. That made it three Bayern players -- those two and Alaba -- who picked up suspensions for the final before knowing whether or not their team would be there. Jupp Heynckes also made one substitution in the first half of extra time, bringing on Thomas Müller for a tired Franck Ribery.
Jose Mourinho started the second period of extra time by making an understandable, yet risky substitution. Gonzalo Higuain, who was also facing a suspension if he picked up a yellow card, entered to relieve Benzema up top for Madrid. Los Merengues made their final change six minutes later, bringing on Esteban Granero for Özil.
There was one bit of controversy in the 115th minute when Neuer and Granero came in contact in the penalty area. Granero attempted to shield a ball and Neuer bravely, but perhaps stupidly, went around Granero with his leg and attempted to make a tackle. He missed the ball and he appeared to make some contact with Granero's leg, but the Madrid substitute certainly made the most of minimal contact, leading the referee to book him for diving.
That was easily the biggest moment extra time, which was cautiously played like the second half. With the teams unable to separate themselves with 210 minutes of football, they headed to penalties.
The penalty shootout was a remarkable one, with both goalkeepers coming up when their teams needed them most. David Alaba scored the opener for Bayern Munich, which was followed up by a terrific save by Neuer on Cristiano Ronaldo, low and to his right.
After Gomez made his penalty, Kaka tried to go to the same spot as Ronaldo and achieved the same result, hitting the hand of Neuer.
It appeared at that point like Bayern had things under control, but they certainly made it hard on themselves. Toni Kroos and Philipp Lahm both missed their penalties while Xabi Alonso made his, gifting Madrid a way back into the shootout.
They made nothing of that gift.
With the shootout tied, Sergio Ramos stepped up to the spot. This time, Neuer didn't need to make a save. The Madrid defender hit an absolutely abysmal penalty, skying it a mile over the crossbar to give Madrid a chance to win the tie.
Bastian Schweinsteiger stepped up cool and composed and made the winning penalty, setting up a home Champions League final for his team.
We have live coverage of the game 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.