I’ll assume that readers of this blog post saw both games and have seen highlights replayed over and over and over again. You already know that, unlike the quarter-final game at the Santiago Bernabeu, there were no major refereeing decisions in both UCL semi-final games.
It was all about both teams scoring, over 2,5 goals being scored in both games and a lot of questions arising. Of all of those questions, thought I’d put a few of them up for discuss. For the record, I’ll be looking forward to seeing your comments in response to some of these questions I’ll be raising.
- What if Bayern Munich had a full squad?
Jupp Heynckes must have had something up his sleeve; some very special plan, a different kind of tact to deal with his opponents from Spain. It is assumed that every other team that made it this far in the UCL –either by luck or by chance – must have had some sort of plan to enter the final.
But losing a first team member to injury is enough to destabilize any good plan. Make the number of injuries two and you’re looking at an impending implosion and disaster if the manager is not good enough to switch things up quickly enough.
Bayern Munich lost Arjen Robben and Boateng to injuries. This made the manager make forced substitutions, not tactical ones.
This question takes nothing away from Real Madrid’s win in Germany. On the contrary, this question is asking whether Real Madrid would have been able to cope with the full fire-power of the Bavarians? Imagine if there was an Arjen Robben complimenting Ribery’s amazing efforts up front on the night?
Imagine Arturo Vidal was somewhere in the middle of the park, checkmating Luka Modric and his “twists and turns”?
- Salah is enough upfront. But can Liverpool’s leaky defense go all the way?
After putting Manchester City to the sword 4-1 at the Anfield stadium earlier this season, the Reds allowed the Cityzens almost draw level in the game. The next two meetings between both sides were pretty straight forward. There was no “defensive drama.”
That was until Liverpool first let a 2-goal slip against West Brom over the weekend and then conceded 2 late goals against AS Roma, giving the Romans some sort of lifeline.
10 – Mohamed Salah has scored 10 goals in the Champions League this season, the most by a Liverpool player in a single season in European competition. King. pic.twitter.com/aJJkiIxis6
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 24, 2018
For a side that wants to win the UCL, they’re close enough. And they have a certain Egyptian king in their ranks who can help their cause. But with that sort of defense, can they win another UCL title or will it be a repeat of the 2007 UCL final?
- Salah the best player in the world?
When a player has scored more goals in a season than the two gods in the world of football, then you know he can’t be overlooked.
Once an outcast in the Blue part of London, Mohamed Salah left for AS Roma and then returned to England in grand style. He has been so good, he has led the Reds into the semi-final of Europe’s biggest club competition.
In his last 8 games in a Liverpool shirt, the Egyptian has scored 12 goals. He has now scored 43 goals in all competitions this season and has become a strong contender for the European Golden Boot. What’s more? His consistency is making many around the world mention his name in the same context as either the Ballon d’Or or FIFA’s The Best award. But has he done enough to break the duopoly of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi?
- A third UCL title in a row for Real Madrid maybe?
Frank Ribery will be wishing he had done more than run Carvajal ragged on the night and get a goal for himself against Madrid. He must be among the many wondering how Zinedane Zidane’s men can play so poorly and still win games in the UCL.
For the love of me, Cristiano Ronaldo was absent in that game – save for the goal he scored from an offside position. Modric was probably the man of the match for the Los Blancos. Isco had a bad game. But Real Madrid were able to take an advantage to Spain for the return leg set to be played next week.
150 – Real Madrid have won 150 Champions League matches, becoming the first team to reach this milestone in the competition's history. Advantage. pic.twitter.com/qAaefbjMlZ
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 25, 2018
They’re doing what champions usually do. Whether they’re playing really well or not, they have found a way to make sure things work in their favor. With two finals remaining to retain their title, can Real Madrid dominate Europe again? Win the UCL again?
What do you think? Do you think I missed out on other questions? Would you like to chip in on the ones I’ve discussed above? Please leave me a comment and share your thoughts with me. Will love to hear from you.
Author: Rotimi “Papi the Great” Daramola
Rotimi Daramola aka Papi the Great is the owner of ForTheGoal.
A freelance sports writer who focuses on football, Rotimi is also a freelance writer, a copywriter and a football analyst who regularly appears on radio and television to talk football. You can follow him on twitter @papi_thegreat to keep up with his writings, engage him and also find out about how you can secure his writing services.