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Bayern vs Madrid: European football's great rivalry


As soon as the first two names were pulled out of the pots the memories came flooding back. No other clubs have met as often in Europe’s top club tournament. Real Madrid and Bayern have clashed a total of 12 times - once in the group stage and 11 times at the knockout stage. The overall balance of those 24 meetings couldn’t be closer: 11 victories each and two draws. In the direct, qualifying ties Madrid have gone through six times and Bayern, five while on the one occasion when they both landed in the same group, both advanced to the next round. Until quite recently, Bayern were Madrid’s bogey team. Out of all of the clubs Madrid have met in Europe, the Bavarians are the team who have got the Bernabéu’s backs up the most. But it’s been the other way around in the last few years, Madrid have improved their position in the head-to-head figures against Bayern, but....

Raúl and Oliver Kahn try to state each other out in the May 2000 semi-final
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Raúl and Oliver Kahn try to state each other out in the May 2000 semi-finalDIARIO AS

Eventful encounters

Putting the numbers to one side, close your eyes and images of some of the previous, colourful run-ins with Bayern start to emerge – many of which Madrid would rather forget… Such as the episode in the 1976 encounter when a spectator, dubbed El Loco del Bernabéu (The Bernabéu Mad Man), ran onto the pitch and punched the ref; Amancio’s sending off in his final European appearance in Munich, Juanito stamping on Matthäus’ head - which earned him a red card in the 1987 semi-final and Augenthaler’s ‘bull’s horns’ goal celebration earlier in the same game, UEFA imposing a two-match ban on Roberto Carlos for slapping Demichelis, Van Bommel’s one-fingered bras d'honneur salute to the home fans, Sergio Ramos having a perfectly legal goal wrongly ruled out which cost Madrid the tie, Ramos’ shoot-out penalty miss which many people still enjoy reminding him about... And then there was the sweet revenge of that 0-4 win in Munich, with Guardiola on the bench.

The 1981 Trofeo Bernabéu
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The 1981 Trofeo BernabéuDIARIO AS

Feisty friendlies

And the feuding hasn’t been limited to official competition. In 1980, a Madrid side without time to fully prepare themselves accepted the invitation of a pre-season friendly in Munich and were royally thumped 9-1 – which remains the heaviest defeat in the club’s history. The following summer, Bayern were invited as guests in the Trofeo Bernabéu and in their semi-final meeting with Dinamo Tbilisi, the players, with Rummenigge at the fore, arrogantly squared up to ref Pes Pérez before storming off the pitch before half-time then refusing point blank to return. So all in all we have another installment of one of the greatest rivalries in European football, one which has become a little diluted in recent seasons because of the Clásico. It’s a great rivalry which is still there - and always will be.