They are winning ugly rather than with galactico glamour.
Real Madrid took another step towards a third successive Champions League title with a 2-1 semi-final first-leg win at Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena.
But Zinedine Zidane’s side inflicted the German champions’ first home defeat of the season via dogged determination rather than dashing style.
“How do they do it?” said BBC Radio 5 live football analyst and former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin.
“They weren’t brilliant – they have some incredible individual players. But you watch some other teams and you are blown away by them as a collective.
“But for Real there is nothing spectacularly special out there apart from Cristiano Ronaldo, maybe Marcelo, and the rest of them are very good players playing quite well.
“I really can’t tell you how they do it. They survive with a bit of luck, Bayern had a load of chances, but Real somehow find a way.”
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, speaking on BT Sport, said: “Real know how to get job done. There’s a ruggedness about them. And they have individuals who can turn games in an instant.”More sport informaiton please click here
Real had only 40% of possession and managed seven shots at goal compared to the hosts’ 17, but goals from Marcelo and Marco Asensio gave them a one-goal lead for the return leg at the Bernabeu after Joshua Kimmich’s opener for Bayern.
“I think if we had won 5-2, Real couldn’t have had many complaints,” said Bayern defender Niklas Sule.
However, the Spanish side’s midfielder Toni Kroos says Real’s individual quality came to the fore in the decisive points in the match.
“We have to be there at the important moments, we were,” said the Germany international.
Real have lost twice in their Champions League campaign, being hustled and harried to a 3-1 defeat by an excellent Tottenham display in Novemberthen scraping through to an aggregate win in spite of a 3-1 reverse on home turf against Juventus in the last eight.
‘It was strange’
Bayern have fallen at the semi-finals in three of the past four seasons, and manager Jupp Heynckes was left ruing what might have been with Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller and Franck Ribery all missing good chances.
“We had so many chances, it was strange. I’ve never seen us have so many chances in a semi-final, especially against a team like Real Madrid,” he said.
“We simply weren’t clinical enough and we gifted Real their goals.
“We want to do whatever it takes to put this result right next week. It’s our duty. We didn’t deserve to lose today, so I’m confident.”
German football writer Archie Rhind-Tutt believes Bayern are missing the now Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, despite their former manager’s inability to win Europe’s elite competition with the club.
“I would also ask how well Bayern are playing this season?” he told BBC Radio 5 live.
“They have won the Bundesliga by a country mile but have not really raised their level when they have had to win. I wonder how much of a difference that made tonight?
“The standard has dropped ever since Pep Guardiola left Bayern, in terms of the standards of their performances. If you talk to their fans, they would say that they have not seen the same football since he left. Bayern would play teams off the park for the entirety of games. They miss him.”