Real Madrid secured a third consecutive Champions League final appearance after seeing off Bayern Munich.

Real Madrid secured a third consecutive Champions League final appearance after seeing off Bayern Munich.

Real Madrid secured a third consecutive Champions League final appearance after seeing off Bayern Munich.

Real Madrid secured a third consecutive Champions League final appearance after seeing off Bayern Munich.

Real Madrid secured a third consecutive Champions League final appearance after seeing off Bayern Munich.

Real Madrid secured a third consecutive Champions League final appearance after seeing off Bayern Munich.

Real Madrid secured a third consecutive Champions League final appearance after seeing off Bayern Munich.

Real Madrid secured a third consecutive Champions League final appearance after seeing off Bayern Munich.

Real Madrid secured a third consecutive Champions League final appearance after seeing off Bayern Munich.

Every football manager needs a bit of luck to secure a legacy, whether it is a single incident, the inheritance of a golden generation or the literal luck of the draw.

Zinedine Zidane can point to his route to the Champions League final as evidence that even with a team full of superstars, good fortune is paramount when the stakes are so high. But that’s only half the battle.

Real have beaten the reigning champions of France, Italy and Germany to reach the final in Kiev. But only the most blinkered Madridista could argue Zidane’s side had the better of Bayern Munich over 180 minutes. The Bundesliga champions had a total of 39 attempts across both legs to Madrid’s 16. In the Bernabeu, 10 were on target and one rattled the post. Madrid managed three, two of which found the net. If luck was a fairground ride, Zidane’s side bought a season pass on Tuesday.

The influence of a manager in the post-globalization era is naturally reduced by the wealth of talent at a club’s disposal. Never again will a team like the 1967 Lisbon Lions — all born within a bus ride of Celtic Park — lift the trophy. And the days when Brian Clough’s sheer bloody-mindedness to guide Nottingham forest to consecutive European Cups are framed in sepia. As Clough once noted of his side: “I’m a little bit of an idealist: I do believe in fairies.”

It wasn’t preternatural or divine, but Zidane can be thankful for intervention in the Bernabeu. Marcelo’s blatant handball towards the end of the first half went unnoticed by Cuneyt Cakir but did not escape the attention of the Catalan press. Still, Real’s luck ran deeper than the referee’s line of sight.

Jupp Heynckes pointed to “little details” after the game and it was fitting that in a match contested by two starting XIs with a combined value of a little over €1.74 billion, they were provided by a reserve keeper and another whose board signed him as one. Madricd have continued to view Keylor Navas as a stop-gap for three seasons since he assumed the No.1 jersey.

Sven Ulreich, meanwhile, essentially handed Madrid a ticket to Kiev with his ghastly error for Karim Benzema’s crucial second. If Heynckes felt his side gifted two goals in the Allianz Arena, Real’s second in the Bernabeu came with ribbon and bow attached. It fell to Benzemam, in the right place at the right time, to roll in his second of the evening — the decisive strike as it would turn out.

Had Isco not been ruled out through injury, Benzema might not have been on the pitch at all. The Frenchman hadn’t found the net in Europe since a 6-0 rout of APOEL in the group stage and didn’t get off the bench in the second leg against Juventus.

Zinedine Zidane has overseen an unprecedented Champions League run at Real Madrid. Zinedine Zidane has overseen an unprecedented Champions League run at Real Madrid.

At the other end, Navas put in his finest performance to date in a Madrid shirt, making eight saves overall, his highest tally in a Champions League game. Two of them, to deny Thomas Muller and Corentin Tolisso, were as valuable as Benzema’s goals. If Florentino Perez had had his way in January, Navas may have been on the bench. But Zidane stood firm and showed faith in him. Little details.

When the game ended, the Costa Rica international fell to his knees and pointed to the sky. Zidane might have done the same. It was no coincidence Navas was the first player sought out by his teammates at the final whistle. The Real boss had been saved by the keeper he fought to endorse at the turn of the year. Another detail: Zidane said in his postmatch news conference that Navas “is Real Madrid’s goalkeeper.” The inference: as long as I am here, so is he.

“Real Madrid walk on water,” noted L’Equipe on Wednesday and Zidane has certainly done a decent impression of Navas’ guiding light in Europe this season. The Frenchman’s touch in Real’s Champions League successes over the past three years is undeniable, even if he’s had a helping hand here and there.

But Real are in another final, their fourth in five years. Even Zidane admitted such dominance “is not normal.”

Neither is Zidane’s achievement, in his first senior managerial job lest we forget. History pays scant regard to luck and does not add asterisks to European triumphs accordingly. If the Real boss’ run continues for one more game in Kiev, he will achieve something no manager in history has before him: three consecutive European Cup triumphs.

Call it what you will but there’s a little more to that than a lucky roll of the dice, even if Zidane’s tactical gambles on Tuesday came up a double-six.

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan