After falling behind to a 17th-minute Franck Ribery strike, Real battled back to 1-1 when Mesut Ozil tapped in what could prove a priceless away goal eight minutes after the break but, instead of going for the kill, Mourinho appeared willing to settle for a draw and hauled off creative pair Ozil and Angel Di Maria, replacing them with full-back Marcelo and defensive midfielder Esteban Granero.
It might have worked out, securing a slight advantage for next week’s second leg in Madrid but for another dreadful performance from Mourinho’s Portuguese compatriot Coentrao, for whom Real paid Benfica €30 million.
Coentrao was unable to cope with tricky Bayern forwards Ribery and Arjen Robben and allowed Philipp Lahm to skip past him and cross for Mario Gomez’s 90th-minute winner, sealing Real’s first defeat in Europe’s elite club competition this season.
Although he was given unequivocal backing by his coach and team-mates, the latest below-par performance from the 24-year-old was rubbished in the Spanish sports media and he was ridiculed on Twitter. Daily Marca noted that it was Coentrao, who was criticised recently after being photographed smoking in public, who conceded the free-kick that allowed CSKA Moscow to score a late equaliser in their last-16 first leg in February.
“The 30-million-euro full-back saved the best until last [against Bayern] when he was very late closing down Lahm, who was able to cross under no pressure for Mario Gomez to score,” the paper wrote sarcastically. It also speculated whether the Benfica fans had erected a statue of their club president for convincing Real to pay so much for the Portuguese international.
But German international Ozil said: “We believe in our strengths and I am convinced we will get to the final. I am a bit sad about the defeat but I have a positive feeling.”
Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge fancies his side’s chances of finishing the job in Madrid. “It was an emotion-laden match,” Rummenigge said on the club’s official website.
“Real showed just what a good team they are. They played very well at the start, but they were a little shocked by our goal. What they have up front with [Karim] Benzema, Ozil and Cristiano Ronaldo is really first class.
“At the end we had the luck on our side and we’ve won 2-1. We can be proud of the victory. We’re not without a chance in Madrid.”
Bayern’s players were also bullish about their chances of going through, although Gomez sounded a note of caution by admitting 2-1 was a “dangerous” result.
“It’s always positive when you win in the last minute,” Gomez said. “You don’t play down having Real as the opposition. Apart from the early minutes of the first and second half, we’ve done very well. We’re angry about conceding a goal.
“Mourinho has made a team out of a group of individuals at Real, but they didn’t show it last night, which is to our credit. A 2-1 win is a dangerous result, but we’re always good for a goal with the strength we have up front.”
Lahm added: “The second goal was vital. Madrid will have to come at us now, and that obviously plays to our strengths. We can afford to sit back a little.”
Bayern largely nullified the threat of Ronaldo and will be looking for a repeat performance in next week’s second leg in the Spanish capital. Thomas Muller said: “Madrid are dangerous. It was a Champions League semi-final, so there are no bad teams. But as everyone saw, we gritted our teeth and we wanted a result. It’s terrific we scored at the end. It means we have every chance.”
Robben added: “A huge compliment to the team. We made it very difficult for Madrid and we created a few chances.
“It’s a shame we let in a goal, but it’s still a positive result. We obviously have to watch ourselves, because Real have so much quality in attack, as we saw when they scored. But I’m confident we’ll make it.”