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Real Madrid logo
Champions League | Semi-Finals | 2nd Leg
May 8, 2024 at 8pm UK
Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
Bayern logo

Real Madrid
2 - 1
Bayern

Joselu (88', 90+1')
Camavinga (90+11')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Davies (68')
Tuchel (90+7')

Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich Combined XI: Kane, Bellingham, Musiala

Ahead of Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, Sports Mole picks a combined XI from both squads.

Two continental titans with 20 European Cup/Champions League crowns between them prepare for battle at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night, where Real Madrid and Bayern Munich square off in the second leg of their semi-final.

Last week's opening encounter at the Allianz Arena saw Bayern both fight back and be pegged back in a 2-2 draw, as Vinicius Junior struck twice either side of efforts from Harry Kane and Leroy Sane.

Since last taking to the field in Europe, Real Madrid won La Liga title number 36 with time to spare at the weekend, defeating Cadiz 3-0 and then witnessing Girona thump Barcelona to wrestle the crown out of the Catalans' grasp.

Meanwhile, Thomas Tuchel's side are only fighting for Champions League glory between now and June and are yet to even wrap up a second-placed finish in the Bundesliga, going down 3-1 to Stuttgart at the weekend.

Borussia Dortmund will stand in the victor's way of Champions League supremacy, and here, Sports Mole picks a combined XI from both squads, using only players expected to be available for the match.


RMA-BAY combined XI

Undoubtedly the trickiest pick in our star-studded combined XI came in between the sticks, as both Thibaut Courtois and Manuel Neuer will go down as two of the greatest goalkeepers of their generation, but the pair have also endured troubling campaigns due to injury. While the former is now back from his pair of knee concerns, Neuer has more football under his belt this term and boasts a save percentage of 81% in this year's Champions League - the fifth-best record - so he gets our thumbs-up over Courtois and his capable deputy Andriy Lunin.

Dani Carvajal returns from a one-game European ban for Real Madrid this week and has enjoyed one of his finer seasons in recent memory, banishing the injury demons of years gone by. However, Bayern's pass master Joshua Kimmich has enjoyed a successful transition back to a right-back role for the German giants with two goals and 10 assists this term, so he was a simple pick. Fellow Bavarian full-back Alphonso Davies - who could soon be donning the white strip of Real Madrid - starts on the opposite flank over Noussair Mazraoui and Ferland Mendy on account of chalking up one goal and five assists this term, while teammate Raphael Guerreiro will miss the second leg due to injury.

David Alaba and Eder Militao joined Courtois in the ACL injuries club earlier this year, and while the latter has now made a full recovery, he is still not back to his best and is unlikely to start on Wednesday evening. However, Antonio Rudiger - a UCL winner with Chelsea in 2021 - is a cornerstone of Carlo Ancelotti's team, playing 42 times in all tournaments this term and making 21 blocks in the Champions League, second only to Mads Bistrup of Red Bull Salzburg, and he was a straightforward selection too.

Choosing Rudiger's central partner was a bit trickier, as Dayot Upamecano is out of favour, Kim Min-jae had a disaster of a first leg, and Eric Dier's purple patch does not erase his frequent struggles in a Tottenham Hotspur shirt. While the former would probably edge it on current form, Matthijs de Ligt - expected back from a knee injury in time for the second leg - was heroic in the quarter-final beating of Arsenal and gets our vote over his English colleague.

Real Madrid's Jude Bellingham celebrates scoring their third goal on April 21, 2024© Reuters

Leon Goretzka, Aurelien Tchouameni, Eduardo Camavinga and Konrad Laimer - particularly impressive in Europe - all merit a mention, but the number six spot belongs to Federico Valverde, scorer of two goals and provider of eight assists this season, including an exquisite volley against Manchester City in the quarter-finals. The Uruguayan may now be renowned for his exploits in the final third more so than a few years ago, but he has also made 13 interceptions in this year's Champions League, only behind six other players.

Two or three years ago, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos would have been shoo-ins, but there are two new kids on the block tearing up European defences for fun. Firstly, the pair's Blancos teammate Jude Bellingham has exceeded expectations and then some in his debut Bernabeu season, registering 22 goals and 10 assists in 38 games, including four of his own and four helpers in nine Champions League outings. While the 20-year-old's first-leg display left a bit to be desired, he will have a serious case for the Ballon d'Or if Real win the Champions League and England triumph at Euro 2024.

From a prolific youngster who left Germany to one still conjuring up magic in Munich, Jamal Musiala has a respectable 20 contributions of his own this season - 12 of his own and eight assists - and 31 successful take-ons in the Champions League puts him third in that category. The Germany international was absent from the Stuttgart loss with a minor knock, but he is expected to shake off the issue in time to terrorise the Real defence with his spellbinding dribbles.

Only Kylian Mbappe (33) and Leroy Sane (35) boast more successful take-ons than Musiala in the 2023-24 tournament, and the latter demonstrated his venomous shot as well as his penchant for mazy runs in the first leg, firing home the equaliser at Lunin's near post. The ex-Manchester City man now has 10 strikes and 13 assists under his belt from 41 matches this term and edges out Rodrygo for the right-wing position. On the other flank, Vinicius Junior continues to hit new heights in the Real XI, now boasting 21 goals and 11 assists for the season, and only one man can beat his 10 direct Champions League contributions in the 2023-24 season.

Surprise surprise, that not-so-mystery man is Bayern's terrific talisman Harry Kane, who has ripped up the record books for fun in Germany with a staggering 44 goals in all tournaments, including a joint-high eight in the Champions League, level with Mbappe. The England captain heads to the Bernabeu on a four-game scoring streak domestically and continentally, but failure to prolong his golden sequence and his dreams of that elusive team trophy may be dashed for another year.


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