Despite a rather even all-time record against Real Madrid, Bayern Munich's recent history against the Spanish side has been poor, and that run continued on Wednesday.
Marco Asensio came on as a second-half substitute and scored the winner off the bench, with Real Madrid taking a 2-1 win over Bayern Munich in the opening leg of their Champions League semifinal matchup. Joshua Kimmich had opened the scoring for Bayern, but Marcelo pulled Real Madrid even just before halftime to kick-start the reigning champions.
The match was the 25th meeting between the two sides in European cup play, with both sides entering at an even 11-11-2 and Real Madrid holding a 37-36 edge in goals. Real Madrid padded that edge by one and took a step toward a fourth final in five years–and a third straight–by putting together a sound road performance for a second straight year. It was in Munich last year where Cristiano Ronaldo's double gave Real Madrid a 2-1 edge in the first leg of the quarterfinals, after Bayern had scored first.
Bayern suffered an early injury setback in the opening minutes Wednesday, when Arjen Robben went down with an apparent foot or leg injury. He was forced off, with Thiago Alcantara summoned off the bench to replace him.
After a wide open early couple of minutes, both teams settled into chippy, feeling-out pattern. Isco nearly had a chance for Real Madrid after a perfect long ball from goalkeeper Keylor Navas, only to have his powerful blast from 20 yards blocked before it could reach the Bayern net in the 18th minute.
Bayern found the breakthrough in the 28th minute, and it came from an unlikely source. Kimmich, the versatile right back, got in behind on the right channel and beat Navas with a powerful near-post finish, giving the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Kimmich had acres of space with which to work, largely because Marcelo was quite lackadaisical in getting back to defend while Sven Ulreich took a quick goal kick to start the sequence.
The good news was tempered by a second key injury for Bayern, though, with Jerome Boateng going off injured in the 34th minute, replaced by Niklas Sule.
Thomas Muller thought he'd given Bayern a 2-0 lead in the 43rd minute, when Rafinha took a lay-off pass from Franck Ribery and crossed to the right side of the box, only for Muller to have his powerful first-time effort blocked by Sergio Ramos.
Real Madrid tilted the scales a minute later through, Marcelo, who more than made up for his lax defending on Kimmich's goal. His left-footed rocket from the top of the box beat Ulreich and leveled the score, and, more importantly, gave Real Madrid a vital away goal.
Bayern nearly answered immediately on a free kick, with James's curled service finding Lewandowski on the doorstep, only for his header to bounce right into Navas's gut.
Real Madrid took the lead in the 57th minute through Marco Asensio, who had entered the match at halftime for Isco. A giveaway by Rafinha sparked a Real Madrid counter, with Lucas Vazquez playing Asensio in position to finish with his left to make it 2-1.
Bayern Munich attempted to fight back through Ribery, who twice had chances from the left side denied by Navas within the ensuing five minutes.
On the other end, Ronaldo thought he'd given Real Madrid a 3-1 lead in the 71st minute after a wicked volley, but he was judged to have taken a long ball over the top down with his arm.
Five minutes later, Real Madrid almost scored again, with Karim Benzema, on for an injured Dani Carvajal, putting a close-range shot on frame only for Ulreich to make a kick save and preserve the one-goal deficit.
That opened the door for Bayern Munich to equalize, which it nearly did in the 88th minute through Lewandowski. He was played through into the Real Madrid box off a lovely combination in the final third, but he uncharacteristically put his chance wide of the mark to spoil the opportunity.
Here were the lineups for both teams:
The second leg will be played at Madrid's Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday, May 1. The winner will play either Liverpool or Roma in the May 26 final in Kiev. Liverpool holds a 5-2 edge after the first leg of their semifinal.