Lucky or just savvy?
Real Madrid have reached a third consecutive Champions League final – but only just, after they clung on against Bayern Munich.
Zinedine Zidane’s side drew 2-2 at the Bernabeu, winning 4-3 on aggregate , but would have gone out on away goals had they conceded one more to the German club.
They “relied on luck” according to former Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard, while BBC Radio 5 live summariser Chris Waddle questioned Zidane’s tactics.
Zidane argued that the Champions League was “in the DNA of the club”, adding: “We never stop fighting up to the very last minute, just as the Bayern players did tonight.”
So are Real into the final through good fortune, or are they just too good in Europe?
How they rode their luck
There were certainly fortuitous moments for Real. Bayern goalkeeper Sven Ulreich’s mistake gifted Karim Benzema a goal just moments into the second half before Corentin Tolisso and Thomas Muller’s efforts were well saved by Keylor Navas.
Mats Hummels also headed wide and Robert Lewandowski missed a number of key chances as Bayern recorded 22 shots on goal, including 10 on target throughout the game.
Real Madrid had to make seven blocks, had only had 40% of the overall possession and made more than 150 fewer passes than their opponents – but it was still enough to reach their record-breaking 16th European Cup final.
In contrast, Real produced two goals from three shots on target, compared with Bayern’s 10 efforts on goal.
Former England international Waddle said afterwards if you “give Real chances, they will take them”, but criticised some of their key players and questioned Zidane’s tactics for the semi-final.
“Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t come to life, Benzema has got more to offer but Gareth Bale might play in the final,” said Waddle.
“Real Madrid have got quality players but I just think Zidane got the balance wrong tonight. Luka Modric was at right-back at times. I didn’t get that.
“The one thing is, they haven’t played well but they have still managed to score four goals over the two legs.”
But former Chelsea midfielder Lampard said Real Madrid were “at a lower level” this year.
“It is not the Real Madrid of the last few years,” Lampard told BT Sport. “I wonder whether they can do it again.”