Bayern Munich Were On The Cusp Of All German UCL Final, Then Real Madrid Happened

Bayern Munich Were On The Cusp Of All German UCL Final, Then Real Madrid Happened

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Two late goals and 14-time European champions Real Madrid dramatically secured their spot in the final of the UEFA Champions League 2023-24. But, until the 88th minute of the game, the football world was getting ready to embrace an all-German title clash in Europe’s most elite club football competition. Bayern Munich had one leg in the final, having led the scoreboard until the 88th minute when Joselu, a former Stoke City, Newcastle United, and Espanyol striker stepped up to pull his team level, thanks to a mistake from Manuel Neuer, one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time. A few minutes later, Real Madrid struck again through Joselu, making it 2-1 up, and turning the semi-final clash upside down, just like they have time and again. A repeat of the 2013 Champions League final, between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund was on the cards, but in a matter of minutes, Real Madrid happened.

Gone are the days when Sergio Ramos used to step up in injury time and head home winners for Real Madrid in the Champions League. Los Blancos don’t even have the services of the talismanic Cristiano Ronaldo to bank on to produce those clutch moments that got them to 14 Champions League titles, 7 more than the second-placed AC Milan and 8 more than their opponents on the day, Bayern Munich.

Yet, Real Madrid, arguably the most powerful football club in the world, found a way to pull the rabbit out of the hat, with their former youth player Joselu stepping up twice in a matter of minutes to all but seal a spot in the Champions League final for his team. “Real Madrid pulled off a Real Madrid” was to be the headlines in the papers the next day. But, the script had a final twist in store. Well, almost.

Just a minute before the full-time whistle was to be blown, Bayern Munich found themselves in a promising position, with Thomas Muller, Noussair Mazraoui, and Matthijs de Ligt looking to test Real Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin one last time in the search of an equaliser, but to the surprise of everyone, the linesman raised the offside flag, prompting the referee Szymon Marciniak blew his whistle right before De Ligt could test Lunin with his shot.

What Do The Rules Say?

The Bayern defender did proceed with his plan and found the back of the net, but the goal didn’t count as the referee had blown his whistle. But, was that in accordance with the rules? Well, not really.

As per the latest instructions given to the match officials, assistants are told to keep the flag down on close offsides, and only raise it when a goal is scored or at the end of the attacking move. But that didn’t happen in the game. Bayern players had the right to be angry, and even their head coach Thomas Tuchel went berserk on the sidelines, explaining the same to the match officials. But, to no avail.

The VAR couldn’t be put into use in this specific case as the referee’s whistle was blown, prompting some to suggest that Real Madrid players stopped competing upon hearing that whistle. But, visuals later in the game did suggest that Bayern right-back Mazraoui was marginally onside in that piece of action.

Had the game gone on, Bayern might have scored a legitimate goal and pulled the scores level 1-1. But, the refereeing mistake robbed them of the opportunity to do that.

After the game, De Ligt revealed that the linesman apologised to him for the decision, admitting his mistake. But, not much could be done. A number of Bayern stars, as well as their manager, went on a post-match rant, explaining how the German giants were robbed in a Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid, once again.

Thomas Muller:“The referee’s decision was strange. This happens often in Madrid, and it happened to me before with 2 Ronaldo offside goals. No one can explain this.”

“I don’t want to say that Real Madrid always has the referees with them but that made the difference today”.

Matthijs de Ligt:“Real, when you think they are dead, have a last breath… that is why they have 14 Champions Leagues. The linesman told me: sorry, I made a mistake. It’s been a shame.”

“It was a disaster. An absolute disaster and it’s clear violation of the rules”.

Thomas Tuchel:“The clear rule is that the scene must continue. The first mistake was made by the linesman, the second by the referee.”

“This would not have happened on the Real Madrid side.”

Max Eberl, Bayern director:“We were all for a German Final. Everyone except the Polish referees!”

It isn’t the first time that Bayern Munich were at the receiving end of some debatable decisions in a Champions League match against Real Madrid.

Back in 2017, a number of controversial decisions by referee Viktor Kassai seemed to have ‘robbed’ the German side of their chance to make it to the semifinals. The referee’s decision to not book Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro and send off Bayern’s Arturo Vidal worked well in favour of Los Blancos, leaving the Bundesliga giants fuming.

In an interview, former Real Madrid defender Marcelo admitted that the referee failed to give a handball offense against his team in a Champions League semi-final against Bayern. The decision eventually resulted in Bayern’s elimination in 2018.

It wasn’t the first time that Bayern Munich had to fight an ‘uneven battle’ against Real Madrid, it might not be the last.

It all could’ve been an all-German UEFA Champions League final, with Borussia Dortmund already through, but, ‘Real Madrid happened’.

Topics mentioned in this article

real madrid,bayern münchen,uefa champions league,football IndiaLevel sports

Bayern Munich Were On The Cusp Of All German UCL Final, Then Real Madrid Happened

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