Penalties : Bayern Munich 3 – Real Madrid 1


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April 25, 2012
UEFA Champions League
Semifinal, penalty shootout

1 – REAL MADRID (Spa) ——————— Xabi Alonso
3 – BAYERN MUNICH (Ger) ————— Alaba, Gomez, Schweinsteiger

After battling to a hard-fought 3-3 draw on aggregate following symetrical results in both Munich and Madrid, the epic UEFA Champions League semifinal clash between German Bundesliga club BAYERN MUNICH and Spanish La Liga side REAL MADRID featured, appropriately enough, a back-and-forth saga in the decisive penalty shootout session.

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DAVID ALABA (Austria : 17 caps, 0 goals) … It is certainly alot of pressure and responsibility to place on the shoulders of any player, let alone a teenager, then, as it is imperative that a team get off to a good start in a penalty shootout competition. No matter what happens, it is always important to hit the target with that first shot and not just undermine team morale immediately by missing the net. The 19-year-old Alaba, as he has done all season long while being deployed in a variety of different positions by trainer Jupp Heynckes, got the job done and gave Bayern Munich the 1-0 advantage.
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CRISTIANO RONALDO (Portugal : 88 caps, 32 goals)
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The planet’s most expensive player was selected by Real Madrid trainer Jose Mourinho to take the first penalty for the home side. Ronaldo, of course, had already scored against Germany World Cup goalkeeper Manuel Neuer earlier in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinal match with Bayern Munich. And this very fact might have, indeed, given a vital edge to the talented Bavarian shot-stopper …
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MARIO GOMEZ (Germany : 51 caps, 21 goals) … The Bundesliga’s leading goal-scorer this season was effectively bottled up by the Los Blancos defense during the second leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinal; nevertheless, “Super Mario”, who has totaled 40 goals in all competitions for the Bavarians this season, made no mistake with his spot kick and doubled Bayern Munich’s lead in the shootout.
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KAKA (Brazil : 82 caps, 27 goals) … The 30-year-old attacking midfielder arrived at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu from Italian giant AC Milan at the enormous cost of 64.0 million Euros in the summer of 2009 but, perhaps, has not quite lived up to expectations in three seasons of La Liga football with Spanish juggernaut Real Madrid.
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TONI KROOS (Germany : 25 caps, 2 goals) … The 22-year-old midfielder had already scored two goals in the UEFA Champions League earlier this past fall and also successfully netted his penalty for the Bavarians in the D.F.B. Pokal semifinal shootout with Borussia Moenchengladbach previously this spring. Kroos had a wonderful opportunity to leave Real Madrid trailing by three goals and virtually seal the result at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. But Spain World Cup goalkeepr IKER CASILLAS would have something to say about that.
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XABI ALONSO (Spain : 93 caps, 12 goals) … The highly-experienced Spanish World Cup champion who cost almost 36.0 million Euros when purchased from English Premier League club FC Liverpool in the summer of 2009 hauled Real Madrid back into the shootout by converting his penalty and halving the deficit.
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IKER CASILLAS (Spain : 128 caps)
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PHILIPP LAHM (Germany : 85 caps, 4 goals) … the normally reliable Bayern Munich captain did not necessarily take his penalty kick in the UEFA Champions League semifinal with Real Madrid in clinical fashion and saw his shot beaten off by Casillas fairly easily.
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SERGIO RAMOS (Spain : 83 caps, 6 goals) … the 26-year-old Los Blancos defender with a winners’ medal from both the 2008 UEFA European Championships and 2010 FIFA World Cup could have leveled the dramatic shootout for Real Madrid but instead blasted his penalty well over the crossbar and harmlessly into the disappointed crowd at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu; the miss by Sergio Ramos meant that home side Real Madrid might not even have the chance to attempt its fifth and final spot kick.
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BASTIAN SCHWEINSTEIGER (Germany : 90 caps, 23 goals) … Ironically enough, it was the 27-year-old midfielder who had scored Bayern Munich’s very first goal of this 2011/12 UEFA Champions League campaign in the playoff round against Swiss side FC Zurich last August. Schweinsteiger had also struggled with injuries all this season and only recently re-established himself in the Bavarian Startelf, as well. But now, the German international was looking at writing a brand new chapter in the history of European Cup / UEFA Champions League football.
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And so with the monumental victory over Real Madrid at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in Spain, MANUEL NEUER and record German champion BAYERN MUNICH become the very first team ever to reach a Final of Europe’s premier competition that will be contested in its very own home stadium.

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