Champions League: Pep Guardiola admits Real Madrid athletes 'too much for FC Bayern Munich'

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema scored the only goal of the Champions League semifinal first-leg game vs Bayern Munich as Madrid counter-attacks in the first-half caught the European champions by surprise.

Last updated on Thursday, 24 April, 2014 19:29 IST
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Madrid: Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola said his side had struggled to contain Real Madrid's pace on the counter-attack as Los Blancos secured a 1-0 advantage from the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday. (Champions League fixtures)

Karim Benzema scored the only goal of the game in the 19th minute from one of a series of Madrid counter-attacks in the first-half that caught the European champions wanting at the back.

"Madrid have athletes. They are footballers, but they are real athletes," said the former Barcelona boss after suffering his first defeat in eight games as a coach at the Santiago Bernabeu.

"It is easy to say we need to play more vertically, but the quicker we move the ball forward, the quicker it comes back and that can be very dangerous for us."

Bayern enjoyed 63 percent of the possession, but failed to create many clear-cut opportunities as Madrid defended in numbers.

And Guardiola expects more of the same when his side try to turn the tie around on home soil at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday.

"I think the next game will be exactly the same. We need to control their counter-attacks, but it is a question of finding the right balance.

"Madrid are a complete team and it is true that not scoring away from home makes the tie very difficult.

"However, we will be at home, with our fans behind us, and we will give everything to reach the final."

Real boss Carlo Ancelotti admitted he didn't like having to relinquish control of the ball for large spells to the Germans.

However, just as in Madrid's Copa del Rey victory over Barcelona last week, the Italian believed his side had played to their strengths.

"I don't like to give up the ball. It is clear that you cannot control the ball for the whole game, but especially against Barca and Bayern it is very difficult to control it.

"Football, though, is not just about possession, but defending, counter-attacks and many other things. What we had tonight was the sacrifice of the players, but I don't like not having the ball because you have less chance to score."

Ancelotti had recalled World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo to his starting line-up after four games out through injury.

The Portuguese was involved in the build up to the goal and had another glaring opportunity to make it 2-0 when he blasted over soon after before being replaced by Gareth Bale with 20 minutes remaining.

Ancelotti admitted Ronaldo's withdrawal had been a pre-meditated measure to ensure he didn't run the risk of aggravating the injury, but expects both he and Bale -- who had been suffering from flu before the game -- to be 100 percent fit for the return leg.

"It was a decision that we took before the game because the only risk with Cristiano would come once the muscle got tired.

"It is normal that after 20 days he is not 100 percent but he sacrificed himself for the team and both Cristiano and Bale will be in perfect condition for Tuesday."

Story first published on: Thursday, 24 April 2014 17:02 IST

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