Created on 29-03-2010 at 00:00 AM
By making the quarter-finals, Bayern achieved their minimum target for this season’s Champions League. Manchester United now stand between Munich and their first semi-finals appearance since winning the trophy in 2001. “We’re delighted to be in the last eight, but the players and I want more,” Louis van Gaal declared before the home meeting with United in front of a 66,000 full house at the Allianz Arena.
“We’re really looking forward to the United game. It’s always tremendous against the really big teams,” confirmed keeper Jörg Butt. Saturday’s defeat to Stuttgart has been consigned to history. “We’re looking to the future,” the 35-year-old added. “The Champions League is a different competition. What’s happened in the last league game counts for nothing,” said captain Mark van Bommel on the eve of Bayern’s 350th game in Europe.
The Bayern camp is buzzing with determination ahead of the clash with the favourites. “We’ve proved we’re a decent side in the games against Juventus and Fiorentina. Now we’re up against the top level, and it’s a massive challenge,” Van Gaal observed. “We need to show how far we’ve come on as a team,” commented Philipp Lahm.
History favours Bayern, who have lost only one of seven meetings with United, although that was the dramatic last-gasp defeat in the 1999 final in Barcelona. The current United squad features four men from that era, namely Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Wes Brown and Ryan Giggs, who made a sparkling comeback at the weekend from a long lay-off with a broken arm.
The Premier League champions will be at full strength in Munich, but the home side cannot yet call on their first-choice line-up. Mario Gomez resumed the team training programme on Sunday after recovering from a ruptured calf muscle, and Martin Demichelis, who suffered multiple facial fractures while playing for Argentina four weeks ago, appeared as a late sub against Stuttgart wearing a protective mask. Gomez is likely to begin on the bench, but Demichelis could start.