Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich: Three key players to look out for

The Hard Tackle lists three players who can have a positive impact when Real Madrid and Bayern Munich face off on Wednesday.

Only two more games remain before we crown a new UEFA Champions League winner. Bayern Munich and Real Madrid will lock horns at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night, vying for the chance to face Borussia Dortmund in the final.

Real Madrid reached the UEFA Champions League semi-finals after beating Manchester City in the previous round. The Merengues have lost only two games all season, with both defeats coming to Atletico Madrid. And they have already reclaimed their league title, meaning they are only playing for European glory.

That is also true for Bayern Munich, although the UEFA Champions League is the only trophy Die Roten can win this season. The Bavarian giants have conceded the Bundesliga crown after over a decade to the undefeated juggernaut of Bayer Leverkusen. However, they have shown promise in Europe, with the win over Arsenal in the previous round providing cause for optimism.

Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have much in common, especially with their journeys to the UEFA Champions League. And with the first leg ending in a stalemate, there is no margin of error this midweek. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle lists three players who can turn the tide in their team’s favour on Wednesday.

Joshua Kimmich

Our first pick might surprise a few, considering this player is a defender for Bayern Munich. However, stopping Vinicius Junior will be half the job done for the away side. That brings Joshua Kimmich into the picture.

Kimmich is a reluctant right-back these days, as he prefers reprising the holding midfield role. However, Thomas Tuchel has preferred the German international as a right-back, and he has also had to take up the position for Die Mannschaft. However, his defensive acumen can come to good use against Vinicius Junior.

The Brazilian international is arguably the biggest game-changer for Real Madrid, even though the numbers support Jude Bellingham. So, Kimmich, being at his defensive best, can keep the Bayern Munich backline more disciplined and intact.

A world-class performance can also help him impress the next Bayern Munich manager while arousing the interest of prospective suitors like Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool, among others. However, the primary job for Kimmich remains neutralising Vinicius Junior’s threat to help Bayern Munich get past Real Madrid.

Vinicius Junior

Our next candidate is a part of the “key battle” we mentioned in the previous section. This battle will determine which way the pendulum swings on Wednesday. The player in question is Vinicius Junior.

The Brazilian international had a stop-start season in the first half of the 2023/24 campaign. However, he has been exceptional since returning from his injury layoff, with Carlo Ancelotti’s decision to manage Vinicius Junior’s game time bringing the best out of him.

On paper, the 23-year-old will start as a central attacker in Real Madrid’s 4-4-2 formation. However, Vinicius will often drift towards the left flank whenever Jude Bellingham moves into advanced positions. That is where he will need to trouble Joshua Kimmich.

However, Vinicius might also produce his best results if he takes on Eric Dier and Matthijs de Ligt, with neither centre-back inspiring much confidence. Either way, despite Bellingham’s numbers, the Brazilian attacker will be the most pivotal figure for Real Madrid against Bayern Munich.

Harry Kane

Our list ends with a player who has been the shining light for Bayern Munich amid a sea of mediocrity at the Bavarian club thus far this season. We are talking about Harry Kane, the away side’s goalscoring extraordinaire.

Bayern finally filled Robert Lewandowski’s void by signing Kane from Tottenham last summer. Meanwhile, the England captain joined Die Roten to end his exasperating search for the first trophy of his career. However, that wait will extend for another season unless Bayern Munich can beat Real Madrid and then topple Borussia Dortmund to win the UEFA Champions League.

Kane has left no stone unturned to ensure he does his bit for Bayern Munich to win multiple trophies. The 30-year-old also has a superb record in the Champions League this season, scoring eight times while providing three assists in 11 outings thus far. A few more goals might bring silverware to Bavaria this season and end a forgettable campaign on a memorable note.

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