UEFA Champions League
Champions League: Real Madrid's late magic beats Bayern Munich, sends 14-time winners to the final
UEFA Champions League

Champions League: Real Madrid's late magic beats Bayern Munich, sends 14-time winners to the final

Published May. 8, 2024 6:23 p.m. ET

Real Madrid will play for a 15th European title in next month's Champions League final in London.

The continent's most successful team scored two late goals to overcome a 1-0 deficit and beat Bayern Munich on Wednesday in the semifinal second leg in the Spanish capital. Real substitute Joselu had both goals, which came in the 88th and 91st minutes.

The result wasn't without controversy, though: Bayern had what they thought was a last gasp equalizer ruled out because of a blown offside call; video replays showed that the referee's assistant erroneously raised his flag, causing the center ref to stop play. 

Los Blancos' won't care. Their victory sets up a meeting with another German side, Borussia Dortmund, in club soccer's most important match on June 1 at Wembley Stadium.


Below are a few quick thoughts on Wednesday's thriller. 

Play of the game

Davies' opener was beautiful. The winger cut in from the left wing in the 68th minute and unleashed an unstoppable shot past Real keeper Andriy Lunin and into the side netting. It was a worthy first career Champions League strike for the Canadian:

It's been an interesting season for the 23-year-old, a longtime starter for Bayern who helped the club win this competition in 2020. Davies hasn't been a first choice this campaign under manager Thomas Tuchel; he came in off the substitutes' bench on Wednesday after Serge Gnabry left with an injury late in the first half. The speedster's glorious strike was a reminder to both Bayern and Real — which is reportedly interested in bringing Davies to Madrid this summer — of his all-world ability. 

Turning point

Real Madrid's history in the competition seems to give Los Blancos superpowers, especially at home. So it was again at Estadio Bernabeu. Joselu, a 34-year-old journeyman who had never appeared in the Champions League before this season, changed everything when he equalized with just two minutes of regular time to play:

With the momentum effectively swung at that point, Madridistas had to fancy their chances in extra time. Joselu made sure it never got that far.

Key stat

It's hard to argue that Real didn't deserve to advance based on the numbers, with the hosts dominating by every single metric. Perhaps the most gaudy was shots, with Real holding a 19-8 advantage.

What's next for Bayern Munich?

It's a cruel end to a miserable season for Bayern, which saw its 11-year stranglehold on the Bundesliga title ended by Bayer Leverkusen. German Cup elimination meant the Champions League was the only salvation for Tuchel — who had already agreed to leave the club at season's end — and his team.

They were close. Really close. But the cold hard reality is that Bayern expects to win every trophy it competes for, and it came up empty-handed on every front in 2024-25. Hey, at least motivation won't be an issue next year.

What's next for Real Madrid?

A first-ever final at Wembley. That it happened is no surprise; with the all-important second leg at home, Real was always going to have the advantage after leaving Munich last week with a share of the spoils, But the almost comically predicable way that it happened speaks to the aura surrounding Europe's most decorated side and an indisputable fact: when Europe's most coveted trophy is at stake, Real Madrid is never beaten before the final whistle sounds.

Doug McIntyre is a soccer writer for FOX Sports. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports and he has covered United States men's and women's national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

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