Reunions aplenty as Bayern and Real clash in Champions League semi-final
Two of Europe’s greatest clubs will go head to head in the Champions League on Wednesday as Bayern Munich host Real Madrid in the first leg of their semi-final.
These star-studded teams are hardly strangers to the latter stages of Europe’s premier tournament and there are four men who know how it feels to represent both the white of Real and the red of Bayern.
Here we look at their experiences at both clubs.
Heynckes secured a place in the hearts of Real Madrid fans by leading Los Blancos to their seventh European Cup in 1998, and their first in 32 years, with a 1-0 victory over a Juventus side that included Zinedine Zidane.
Fifteen years later, Heynckes was a European champion again as coach of Bayern, who also won the Bundesliga and the German Cup under his stewardship that season.
It remains Bayern’s only treble in the club’s history, although Heynckes could still repeat the feat this term, before he retires — for a second time — in the close season.
Robben moved to Real from Chelsea as one of the deadliest attackers in the world but his time in the Spanish capital is remembered more for the injuries he accumulated than the goals.
After scoring only 11 times in 50 league games for Real, he found his rhythm again at Bayern, whom he joined in 2009.
The Dutchman has won seven Bundesliga titles with the German giants, as well as the Champions League in 2013, and recently followed Franck Ribery in signing a contract extension until 2019.
Kroos began in Bayern’s youth set-up as a teenager and was the youngest player to make his debut for the club when the German played aged 17.
He went on to win three Bundesliga titles and the Champions League at Bayern, but a contract dispute in 2014 opened the door to a surprise switch to Real.
Forming a strong partnership alongside Luka Modric in midfield, Bayern’s loss has been Real’s gain, as Kroos has clinched two European triumphs since, as well as the Spanish title last year.
When James lit up the 2014 World Cup with a stunning volley for Colombia against Uruguay, it seemed almost inevitable Real would come calling.
But the Colombian struggled to live up to his huge price tag and issues off the field began to chime with his disappointing performances on it.
Moving to Bayern on loan this season has revitalised James though, and all the indications are Bayern plan to take up their option to sign him permanently for 42 million euros ($51.3 million).
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