After convincing victories to open the preseason mini-tournament, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich square off in the Audi Cup final Wednesday at the Allianz Arena. The meeting marks the first time these clubs have met since Real Madrid bounced Bayern out of Champions League with a 4-0 second leg victory in the 2014 semifinals.
Even with Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema sidelined with injuries, Los Blancos turned in a stellar performance against an overmatched Tottenham side with a 2-0 victory Tuesday in Germany. Former Spurs star Gareth Bale’s strike in the 78th minute ruled out any chance of a Tottenham equalizer, and padded the score after forward James Rodriguez’s header in the 35th minute.
It was the fourth straight victory for Madrid, upping their preseason record to 4-1 under the new guidance of manager Rafa Benitez. The absences of Ronaldo and Benzema also afforded more time to Los Blancos reserves like forward Jese and midfielder Borja Mayoral.
The home matchup against Munich, followed by Sunday’s friendly against friendly against Norwegian side Valerenga, will cap Madrid’s preseason before they start La Liga against Sporting Gijon on Aug. 23.
Pep Guardiola has a much smaller window for his side before they begin the next term, following a 3-0 trouncing of AC Milan. The three-time Bundesliga winners begin German Super Cup play against FC Nottingen on Sunday, and start their league defense versus Hamburg on Aug. 14.
In control from the start and never relinquishing it, second-year Munich defender Juan Bernat opened up the scoring with deflected shot finding the back of the net in the 23rd minute, and midfielder Mario Gotze created some distance with a left-footed strike in the 73rd. Polish forward Robert Lewandowski scored in the 84th to provide the finishing touch.
Munich’s margin of victory could have been far wider if the ball had bounced more in newcomer Arturo Vidal’s favor. The former Juventus star watched as his early free kick sailed just over the bar and another strike clanked off the post prior to the half.
While winning the Audi Cup is not at the top of either club's 2015-2016 ambitions, the match promises to be a spirited affair considering the two sides' talent level. A capacity crowd is expected in Munich to watch the two storied clubs compete with their season openers looming.
Prediction: Bayern Munich over Real Madrid, 2-1
Start Time: 2:45 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN Deportes, ESPN 2
Live Online Stream: Watch ESPN