Real Madrid needs a comeback, Bayern Munich needs a miracle.
Madrid just needs a 1-0 win at home over Juventus on Wednesday to put the Champions League titleholders back in the final – and probably set up the first ”clasico” in club football’s biggest game.
Because no one expects Bayern Munich to overcome its 3-0 deficit against Barcelona in the second leg of their semifinal on Tuesday, meaning at least one of the fierce Spanish rivals is likely to be in Berlin on June 6.
Here is a closer look at this week’s second-leg semifinals:
Not so fast, say the Italian champions.
Juventus will aim to protect its 2-1 advantage on Wednesday at the Santiago Bernabeu, after former Madrid forward Alvaro Morata and Carlos Tevez scored in their first meeting in Italy.
But Cristiano Ronaldo snatched a valuable away goal to salvage an otherwise poor performance by the 10-time champions. That was the Ballon d’Or holder’s 54th goal of the season.
Juventus received a boost when Paul Pogba returned from an injury-absence of 52 days and marked his comeback with a goal to secure a 1-1 draw against Cagliari on Saturday.
Pogba, who had been out since tearing a right thigh muscle at Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16, was involved for an hour and the talented young midfielder could play a key part at Madrid.
”Ready for Madrid? I’m always ready,” the 22-year-old Pogba said. ”We know it’s going to be really difficult. They’re playing at home as well so it’s going to be even harder for us but we want to win and we’ll do everything we can to win this match.”
Massimiliano Allegri has a full squad to choose from and had the luxury of resting most of his regular players over the weekend, having won the Italian league the previous week.
Four losses in a row and six hours without a goal do not instill confidence that Bayern can mount a remarkable comeback against a Barcelona side that has won eight games in a row by the combined score of 28-1.
And not with Lionel Messi in top form. The Argentina forward almost single-handedly destroyed Bayern with his 52nd and 53rd goals of the season and an assist for Neymar in the first leg.
Since winning the Bundesliga title, Bayern has exited the German Cup on penalties to Borussia Dortmund, lost 2-0 at Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, been humbled at Barcelona, and on Saturday lost 1-0 at home to modest Augsburg in the league.
Manager Pep Guardiola is going through his toughest period since taking over from Jupp Heynckes, who won the treble with Bayern in 2013.
On Friday Guardiola testily answered a reporter’s question with, ”How many times has Bayern won the treble? Once. OK?”
The Catalan hasn’t been helped by injuries to Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and David Alaba.
Guardiola’s friend and former teammate Luis Enrique does, however, have a chance to match Guardiola’s feat in his first year at Barcelona by winning three major titles.
Barcelona’s 2-0 win over Real Sociedad on Saturday left it one win away from clinching the Spanish league title, and it is also set to play Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final. The victory over the weekend gave Luis Enrique 47 wins in 55 games this season, equaling a club record of 47 wins in 64 games set by Guardiola in 2011-12.