Real Madrid had to sweat, but it remains on course for a Champions League three-peat.
The Spanish power held off a valiant Bayern Munich rally, ousting the German champions on a 4-3 aggregate after a 2-2 draw at the Bernabeu on Tuesday. Just like in the first leg, Joshua Kimmich opened the scoring, only for it to be answered by two Real Madrid goals. On Tuesday, they both came from Karim Benzema, and even though James Rodriguez pulled one back against his parent club, Bayern couldn't find the final goal that tilted the balance in its favor.
Kimmich got the scoring started early in Madrid, just like he did in Munich. Playing in an advanced position, the right back pounced on a poor clearance, beating Keylor Navas from close range with a powerful finish. The goal brought the aggregate score level, with Real Madrid still ahead via the away goal tiebreaker.
Real Madrid padded its aggregate lead in the 11th minute. Benzema, who has labored through a difficult season, was found on the doorstep by Marcelo, and the Frenchman headed home to equalize on the day, capping a 28-pass sequence. The goal gave Real Madrid a 3-2 aggregate lead, and another Bayern goal would make the series level on aggregate and away goals.
Bayern Munich wasted a golden opportunity to do just that in the 33rd minute. Robert Lewandowski was fed by Mats Hummels and had a close-range chance saved by Navas, but the rebound popped up in the air for Thomas Muller. His header wasn't on target, but it put James Rodriguez in position for an agile follow-up in front of an empty goal. His chance pinged off the bar, though, letting Real Madrid off and keeping the scoreline the same.
Bayern was left to rue that 20 seconds into the second half, when a catastrophe in the back gifted Real Madrid a second goal. Corentin Tolisso's back pass was weakly hit toward Sven Ulreich, and a moment of indecision by the goalkeeper let the ball slip by him and gifted him a chance facing an empty net. The goal made it 2-1 on the day and 4-2 on aggregate, requiring Bayern to score two more goals to stay alive.
Both teams had chances go begging after that. One Bayern's end, David Alaba had a rip tipped around the post by Navas. On Real Madrid's, Cristiano Ronaldo had a volley opportunity fall to him at an open goalmouth, only for the in-form star to uncharacteristically put his chance over the bar.
James made things quite interesting just after the hour mark. Navas made a save on James's original shot but yielded a rebound that the Colombian pounced on and finished to make it 4-3 Real Madrid on aggregate. James, as he had indicated previously, did not celebrate against his parent club, but the damage put Real Madrid in peril of going out. One more Bayern goal would tilt the scales via the away goal tiebreaker.
Navas more than made up for that in the 74th minute, when he robbed Tolisso of a would-be go-ahead goal with a diving, instinctual save after the ball had fallen for the French international in a dangerous spot.
Bayern Munich continued to threaten late and came close in the second minute of stoppage time. Hummels got his head to a corner kick, but he couldn't steer his chance on frame, sending it wide of the post and giving Real Madrid a chance to kill off precious seconds.
Bayern continued to press after regaining possession though, and had one final chance go begging, with a ball over the top just out of Thomas Muller's reach after he got in behind the defense.
Here were the lineups for both teams:
Real Madrid will face either Liverpool or Roma in the May 26 final in Kiev. Liverpool carries a 5-2 aggregate lead into Wednesday's second leg in Rome.