FC Bayern's dream of sealing a berth in the Champions League final was heartbreakingly dashed on Tuesday evening after Jupp Heynckes' men could only draw 2-2 away to Real Madrid. Joshua Kimmich handed Bayern the lead, but Karim Benzema soon levelled the scores on the night and restored Real's lead on aggregate. Benzema netted immediately after half-time, but James replied after the hour-mark and Bayern needed only one more goal to advance, but a golden third refused to come.
The attack-minded Bavarians started with Sven Ulreich in goal and Kimmich, Niklas Süle, Mats Hummels and David Alaba in a back four. Corentin Tolisso filled the holding role behind Thomas Müller, James, Thiago and Franck Ribéry, with Robert Lewandowski as an orthodox centre-forward.
Heynckes made seven changes to the XI that saw off Frankfurt on Saturday, Ulreich, Kimmich, Hummels and Tolisso being the survivors. Sandro Wagner and Javi Martínez came on for Tolisso and James in the closing stages.
The 81,000 full house saw the Reds go straight onto the front foot, and barely three minutes had been played when Bayern scored the crucial opener. Sergio Ramos failed to clear a Müller cross, with Kimmich on hand to crash home. The hosts soon had their first chance, Cristiano Ronaldo firing wide from the centre of the box.
Real levelled the scores on the night when a Marcelo cross found the unmarked Benzema at the far post, the Frenchman heading past Ulreich. A Tolisso effort was blocked before Lewandowski tested keeper Keylor Navas. Bayern created a string of chances after the half-hour, Navas saving from Müller before denying a Lewandowski effort, James skying the rebound from three yards. Madrid replied when Ronaldo cut inside from the left, forcing a fine save from Ulreich. Navas beat Müller to Thiago's through ball, and Bayern had a very convincing shout for a penalty waved aside when Marcelo handled a Kimmich cross, before match official Cüneyt Çakir blew for half-time.
Reds rue missed chances
The second half began with a shock for the Bavarians. Ulreich slipped following a risky Tolisso back pass, Benzema walking the ball home from point-blank range. Bayern now needed two goals in the next 45 minutes and duly upped the pace, although Ronaldo soon missed two chances. Alaba drew a fine save from Navas and Süle saw an effort blocked before James levelled on the night: Navas parried his first effort, but the Colombian beat Real's defenders to the ball and netted the rebound. Now only one goal was missing for a ticket to Kyiv.
Navas performed miracles to deny a Tolisso effort from 12 yards, Varane blocking a James shot before Süle made a crucial block to deny Ronaldo at the other end. Müller saw a header saved before Hummels miscued his header in the frantic closing stages, but another goal refused to come and Bayern were ultimately left to rue their missed chances.
The Reds are back in action on Saturday, when they travel to face Köln in the Bundesliga. Bitter as the Champions League exit is, there is more silverware up for grabs this season. Having wrapped up the championship title, the Reds face Eintracht Frankfurt in the DFB Cup final on 19 May.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
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Navas - Vázquez, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo - Modric, Kovacic (Casemiro 73), Kroos - Asensio (Nacho 88) - Benzema (Bale 72), Ronaldo
Casilla, Ceballos, Hernández, Mayoral
Ulreich - Kimmich, Süle, Hummels, Alaba - Tolisso (Wagner 75), Thiago - Müller, James (Martínez 83), Ribéry - Lewandowski
Starke, Rafinha, Mai, Rudy, Dorsch
Cüneyt Çakir (Turkey)
0-1 Kimmich (3), 1-1 Benzema (11), 2-1 Benzema (46), 2-2 James (63)
Modric, Vázquez, Casemiro, Varane / -