Video: Five classic games between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich
Real v Bayern: north vs south, Latin verve vs Teutonic swagger, and all those old chestnuts. They're two of Europe's greatest teams, and together they share one of Europe's greatest rivalries. Here are five classic games from the archive
1. Real Madrid 1 Bayern Munich 1, March 1976
If you told Paul Breitner to do something, he would do the exact opposite. In 1974, he inspired Bayern Munich to their third straight Bundesliga title and first European Cup, and scored in the World Cup final as West Germany beat Holland in front of a jubilant home crowd.
So what next? Well, evidently you acrimoniously walk out on Bayern, describing it as a “nouveau riche money-based aristocracy”, you walk out on the German national side, claiming you “don’t feel German at all”, and you go to a side that had finished eighth in La Liga. Fair enough, that team was Real Madrid. But Breitner’s move created more than shock waves in an era when foreign players were the exception rather than the norm.
Breitner was convinced to go to Real by one person alone: their president Santiago Bernabeu, after whom the club’s stadium had been named for the last two decades (by way of perspective, imagine Arsenal playing in The Sir Chips Keswick Stadium). “The only truly wise man I’ve ever been privileged to know,” Breitner would say of Bernabeu. “In purely sporting terms, Real’s star was shining a little less brightly, but the club had class, an incredible reputation, proving that they really were as ‘royal’ as the name suggests.”
So perhaps it was fate that threw Real and Bayern together in the European Cup semi-final just a couple of years later. It was their first meeting, and the first leg contained all the regal needle and theatrical flourish that one would expect from a clash of two of European football’s great aristocrats. Roberto Martinez opened the scoring for Real, but just before half-time Gerd Muller equalised while Real were still protesting a corner they felt should have been awarded.
It got worse for Real in the second half. Martinez broke his nose in a collision with goalkeeper Sepp Maier. Towards the end, Santillana was shoved over in the penalty area, only for the referee to wave play on. An incensed Madrid fan, later named as “el Loco Del Bernabeu”, evaded police and rushed onto the pitch to attack Muller and the referee. Photographs of the incident were reproduced worldwide, and it was a major embarrassment for Real Madrid, who had long resisted the metal cages that many European stadiums had installed.
Two decades later, the newspaper AS tracked down the spectator, a man called Jaime, who revealed that his father had stopped speaking to him as a result of what he did, and that he was so ashamed he did not return to the Bernabeu for two years.
Breitner, who had missed the first leg through injury, returned for the second. “What I hated, though,” he later said, “was that I was unable to contribute to the team effort as I would have reached. I was only 70 per cent of my normal self and just couldn’t make any meaningful contribution.” Bayern won the second leg 2-0, on the way to claiming their third consecutive European Cup.
But the semi-final against Real had left its mark on both clubs. Bayern fans heartily booed Breitner and fellow German midfielder Gunter Netzer, accusing them of being traitors. Real fans never forgot the casual brutality of the Germans, their sneering arrogance, the condescension of the Bayern president Wilhelm Neudecker, who said that nothing about the Bernabeu had impressed him. One of European football’s great rivalries had begun.
2. Bayern Munich 4 Real Madrid 1, April 1987
Depending on your point of view, Juanito was born either half a century too late or a quarter of a century too early. A real brawler’s brawler, a man who bled white, a talented winger who chose Real Madrid despite Barcelona making an offer almost twice as large, in the modern age Juan Gomez Gonzalez would have attained pantomime villain status at worst, cult hero worship at best.
He was a fine player, representing Spain 34 times and scoring at the 1982 World Cup, winning five La Liga titles with Real, the league’s top scorer in 1984. But Juanito will always be remembered for what he did a few years later, in a European Cup semi-final in Munich.
Real were already 3-1 down when Lothar Matthaus came steaming in on right-back Chendo with a lusty, two-footed challenge that would almost certainly have been a red card today. Leaping to his feet, Chendo took a running jump and flattened Matthaus with a firm shove. But as he lay on the turf, Matthaus could scarcely have guessed that his night was about to get even worse.
For entering stage right was Juanito, his heart full of rage and frustration, bringing his studs down into Matthaus’s back, spinning round to taunt his victim and then, in full view of referee Bob Valentine, lifting his right knee once more and bringing it down with a fearsome crack on Matthaus’s jaw.
That was the end for Juanito, both literally and figuratively. He was sent off, naturally, and missed the second leg, in which Real were eliminated 4-2 on aggregate. Uefa banned him from European competition for five years. And perhaps the incident persuaded Real that the 32-year-old veteran with the temper of a child was no longer a risk worth pursuing. He was released at the end of the season, and allowed to join second-division Malaga. He was never the same force again.
In 1992, a year after retiring, Juanito was getting a lift back to his home town of Merida after watching Real playing Torino at the Bernabeu. It was 2am, and a timber truck had shed its load of logs on the N5 highway near Toledo. The car ploughed straight into the logs, and Juanito was the only victim. To this day, Real fans recognise him in the seventh minute of every home game by chanting his name: the street fighter who was often flawed, but never forgotten.
3. Bayern Munich 4 Real Madrid 1, March 2000
Matthaus was still on the scene 13 years later, and perhaps it is a touch fanciful to suggest that he was hanging on for one last crack at his favourite enemy. But it was fitting that his last competitive game for Bayern before moving to the United States should be at the Olympiastadion, with ‘DANKE LOTHAR’ banners hanging from the stands, against Real Madrid.
Against Raul and Morientes – another emblem of his longevity – Matthaus was awesome. He had never been the quickest player, and tears to his cruciate ligament and Achilles tendon had slowed him still further over the years. Now at the centre of a three-man defence, Matthaus would occasionally break cover to spring forward in attack, or step in to make the tackle after spotting an early danger. Matthaus spotted a lot of early danger.
Mehmet Scholl opened the scoring despite being offside – not marginally offside, but ridiculously, comically offside – and Giovanni Elber doubled the lead after Fernando Hierro had misjudged a long punt from Oliver Kahn. Ivan Helguera pulled one back for Real, but two late goals from Alexander Zickler completed the rout. Having won 4-2 at the Bernabeu, this made it eight goals against Real in the space of barely a week.
But if Vicente del Bosque has one defining quality, it is his ability to learn from defeat. A couple of months later, the two sides met again in the semi-final, and Del Bosque decided on a completely different approach. In came the trickery of Steve McManaman and the searing pace of Nicolas Anelka, as Real went all-out attack. It worked – by half-time Real were 2-0 up, and when Anelka scored a crucial away goal in the second leg, Real were home and dry.
4. Bayern Munich 2 Real Madrid 1, March 2007
The interesting thing is that just before Real Madrid kick off, you can see Sergio Ramos about 30 yards behind anybody else, tying his laces. If this were Monday Night Football, you could well imagine Gary Neville analysing that for about 10 minutes. But let’s just mention it, and then fill you in on what happens next.
Ruud van Nistelrooy taps the ball to Gonzalo Higuain and then sets off upfield. This, after all, is his job. Higuain lays it back to Fernando Gago, who plays it left to Roberto Carlos. This was where things started going wrong for Real.
Roberto Carlos was nearing his 34th birthday by this point, and it was fair to say he had been going downhill for a while. The game was moving away from his carefree, marauding style. The new vogue was for defenders who could actually defend, and those surging breaks up the left wing were becoming less frequent, and less rapid. But none of this is a problem as Gago passes the ball to him.
The problem was that he isn’t concentrating. The ball bobbles off his foot and runs into the path of Hasan Salihamidzic, who powers past him with the sort of burst of speed that Carlos once dished out to opposition full-backs as a matter of course. Ramos, laces now firmly tied, fails to spot the danger until it is too late, and leaves Roy Makaay unmarked as he rushes to cover. Salihamidzic slips the ball inside, and Makaay finishes past Iker Casillas first time.
The clock stops at 10.12 seconds. It remains the fastest ever Champions League goal. And Real, let’s remember, kicked off.
He was an underrated player, Makaay: never quite given the love he deserved in an era when brilliant Dutch strikers were two-a-penny. If there is a Champions League round at your local football quiz, chances are he will be one of the answers: one of only eight players to score hat-tricks for two different teams (Inazghi, Owen, Eto’o, Simone, Van Nistelrooy, Shevchenko and Drogba are the seven you’re looking for), and with a better strike-rate than Henry, Eto’o, Ibrahimovic, Del Piero and many more. Nowadays, he coaches the Feyenoord under-13 team.
But it was Carlos who came out of that match worse. After Bayern won the game 2-1 to go through on away goals, it was the aging Brazilian who bore the brunt of the criticism. Two days later, after meeting president Ramon Calderon, he announced he was leaving Real, describing the Bayern game as “a sign”.
He continued: “It is a signal that God is giving me, to understand that this decision is better for me. I am 33 years old and I do not deserve to suffer most. I have been at this club for 11 years. But you lose a game, and all the blame has fallen on me. I do not accept that.”
5. Real Madrid 2 Bayern Munich 1; agg 3-3, Bayern won 3-1 on penalties, April 2012
I’m still fairly young (28, since you ask), and although I’ve watched a lot of football, there’s no way I’d ever claim to have watched All The Football. And yet, the first half-hour of this semi-final second leg contained perhaps some of the best football I’ve ever seen humans play. Not just outstanding counter-attacking from Angel di Maria who turned David Alaba into a husk of a man within a matter of minutes. Not just the furious pace of Cristiano Ronaldo, who set about a startled Bayern in those opening exchanges and quickly put Real into a 2-0 lead. Not just the rousing counter-offensive from the visitors, who with unshakeable resolve got themselves back into the game when lying down and taking it seemed the only realistic option.
But it was the little things, too. The desperate last-ditch tackle by Sami Khedira when Franck Ribery seemed almost certain to score. Alaba, deciding the only acceptable weapon with which to fight fire was fire, burning Alvaro Arbeloa on the left as if he were simply jogging. A pass of the rarest genius by Toni Kroos to set Mario Gomez free for a chance he fluffed. The wide-eyed, haunted look in the eyes of the two goalkeepers, as if trapped in the path of an oncoming train.
So it was 2-1 at half-time, matching the score in the first leg, and to be fair the game calmed down a bit after that. That wasn’t to say either side played for penalties, but with Bayern searching for that crucial second away goal, there was an understandable nerviness to Real Madrid as half-time gave way to full-time gave way to extra-time.
And so, penalties. Ronaldo had his saved, a sign that we were entering a sort of twilight zone, where the rules of football need not necessarily apply. Casillas then saved from Kroos and Lahm to put the shoot-out level, but then Ramos put his penalty miles over the bar, and that was pretty much that. Within hours – minutes – GIFs featuring the world-record skydiver Felix Baumgartner getting hit by Ramos’s penalty were thudding across the internet. It was a very modern way to commemorate one of the classic European rivalries.