Real Madrid moved a step closer to a first Champions League final appearance in 12 years when a Karim Benzema strike gave the record nine-time winners a 1-0 win at home to holders Bayern Munich.

Bayern dominated possession in the semi-final, first leg at the Bernabeu without posing much of a threat to the home goal and Benzema's 19th-minute effort means Real will have the advantage going into next week's return in Munich.

Despite the victory, Real may live to regret not converting a couple of clear chances in the first half when Champions League top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo, back after injury, and Angel Di Maria both produced wasteful efforts.

Bayern almost equalised late on but Mario Goetze was denied by a brilliant Iker Casillas save.

It was a losing return to Spain for Bayern coach Pep Guardiola, who mostly got the better of Real in four trophy-laden seasons in charge of their arch rivals Barcelona between 2008 and 2012.

With decorated Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti in his first season, Real have high hopes they can finally claim the elusive 10th European crown they have been chasing since their last triumph in 2002.

The opening goal came from exactly that scenario. Toni Kroos had a shot blocked in the Real penalty area and the home side picked up possession and poured forward.

Ronaldo played Fabio Coentrao in on the left and his low cross evaded the Bayern defence and found Benzema waiting at the far post to tap into an empty net.