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Real Madrid polish off Bayern to reach Champions League final

Real Madrid have eliminated Bayern Munich from the Champions League, demolishing the Bavarians 4-0. With Bayern needing to play catch-up from the start, the Spaniards made sure they instead widened the gap.

Overturning a 1-0 deficit from the first leg at the Bernabeu was always a tricky prospect, but one that was well within reach, provided the Spaniards - losers of three consecutive semifinals of late - didn't score.

The Bavarians - looking for an unprecedented back-to-back Champions League title - had history on their side, having got to the past two finals.

Bayern could also take comfort that they had never lost at home in Europe by more than two goals - although Real wouldn't necessarily need to net to claim a place in the Lisbon final.

From the start, Real looked happy to sit back and let Bayern hit them on the break. The closest opportunity in the first 15 minutes came when Manuel Neuer went running out to make a headed clearance. The ball dropped to Gareth Bale, who uncharacteristically blasted the ball high, a let off for the Bavarians.

Cristiano Ronaldo (l) und Xabi Alonso (Photo: Sven Hoppe/dpa)

Ronaldo scored twice to break not only a record, but any lingering Bavarian belief

It was in the 16th minute that the one thing Bayern didn't need, happened. Sergio Ramos met Luka Modric's corner as it swung outwards to bury the ball emphatically past Neuer.

Ramos scored again in a similar fashion in the 19th minute, with Di Maria's free kick finding Pepe who nodded it on to the Spaniard's head, doubling Madrid's tally.

If all looked lost by then - it was out of sight after 34 minutes, when Karim Benzema stopped a ball that had been passed upfield. The Frenchman slid it into the path of Bale, who generously - and wisely - fed it to Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese tucked it away gratefully to break the record number of goals for a player in any single Champions League season.

From very bad, to even worse

While Bayern plugged away - trying plans B, C and D - Real were content to wait for a chance to punish them on the break.

It was the pattern for much of the second half, with Bayern's Mario Mandzukic subbed for Javi Martinez, although Real Madrid looked content to take more possession for some spells.

Bayern simply couldn't muster the urgency, appearing - as the clock ticked down - to have lost any belief that remained. Star winger Franck Ribery had failed to make a real impact, and was substituted for Mario Götze in the second half - as was Thomas Müller, for Claudio Pizarro.

Ronaldo capped a night of misery for the Allianz Arena's home fans in the 89th minute - making it 4-0 as he drilled in a low free kick through the wall from outside the area - but the goal was of little consequence.

Long before the final whistle, it had become a mountain that would never be climbed without events of a miraculous nature.

Guardiola: 'My responsibility'

"We lost heavily," said Bayern coach Pep Guardiola, ruing the 5-0 aggregate score. "Today we had very few chances. We played badly, and that is my responsibility because I made a mistake."

Bayern Munich's Spanish head coach Pep Guardiola reacts during the UEFA Champions League second-leg semi-final football match FC Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid CF in Munich, southern Germany, on April 29, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ODD ANDERSEN (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

It wasn't an easy day at the office for Guardiola, pitted against his old Spanish archrivals

"We are at the highest level in Europe and such mistakes get punished," he added. "It will always stay with us a bit, but I will try to build the players back up again."

The result equaled Bayern's worst ever loss in the competition overall, a 4-0 away defeat to Barcelona in 2009.

"You dream of a perfect game, the first half was great for us," Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti said. "The team has a great spirit for working for each other. The game turned out perfectly."

One downside for Real will be the loss of Xabi Alonso for the final after he picked up a yellow card for a foul on Bastian Schweinsteiger. Madrid's Meringues go on to meet either Atletico Madrid or Chelsea in the final, depending on the outcome of tomorrow's semifinal at Stamford Bridge.

What's happened to Pep Guardiola's Bayern? Are unstoppable Real Madrid simply destined to win the Champions League? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below...

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