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Countdown to Madrid

News ticker: ‘Special game’ for Guardiola

The build-up to Bayern’s Champions League semi-final first leg tie away to Real Madrid is in full swing. On the eve of the showdown in the Spanish capital, travel, training and press conferences dominate the agenda. and our very own English-language Twitter feed keep fans up to date.

+++ 6:15 pm: A taste of the Bernabéu +++
Bayern’s pre-match shakedown at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu is underway. Following the usual procedure prior to Champions League matches, the first 15 minutes are open to the media. After that Pep Guardiola prepares his men for tomorrow evening’s showdown behind closed doors. All members of the traveling squad are out on the turf and building up a sweat in 6-on-2 and 7-on-2 drills, while Manuel Neuer warms up with goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic. Bayern will train and taste the atmosphere at the Bernabéu for an hour or so. That's all from our news ticker for today. See you again tomorrow in the final hours prior to the big kick-off!

+++ 4:15 pm: Rest before training +++
The players have been sent to their rooms at the team hotel for relaxation, before the squad transfers to the Bernabéu and the final pre-match workout at 6 pm.

+++ 3.36 pm: ‘Special game’ for Guardiola +++
“It's obviously special for me personally to be back in Madrid. We face one of the best teams in the world. We need a top performance if we’re to come away with a good result,” declared Pep Guardiola on his return to Spain. Javi Martinez feels Real are a more dangerous attacking proposition under Carlo Ancelotti than his predecessor José Mourinho. “The most important thing will be to stop their fast counter-attacks,” remarked Munich's Spain international.

+++ 3:15 pm: Big hearts and passion decisive for Lahm +++
The FCB press conference is underway. “It's a meeting between two top teams with lots of Champions League experience,” said Bayern skipper Philipp Lahm. “These games are often decided by passion and big hearts, and we’ll need both tomorrow evening. But if you can’t deliver that in a semi-final, when can you? We have what it takes to stand our ground in Madrid.”

+++ 2.35 pm: Van Buyten returns to Munich +++
Only a brief flying visit to Spain for Daniel van Buyten, who has turned round and flown straight back to Munich for the imminent birth of his third child (see news at 11.10 am below). Best of luck to the Van Buytens!

+++ 1.45 pm: No-risk policy with Ronaldo +++
Real boss Carlo Ancelotti says he is “confident and looking forward to the clash, although we face very, very good opponents and we’ll have to be very, very focused.” Ancelotti said Cristiano Ronaldo is likely to play, “although we won’t take any risks. The semi won’t be decided tomorrow, but in Munich.“ Gareth Bale is fit. Fábio Coentrão will start at left-back with fit-again Marcelo on the bench.

+++ 1.25 pm: ‘You can’t name a favourite’ +++
Xabi Alonso
described FCB as a “magnificent team,” but also said “we’re in good shape too. You can’t name a favourite.” Real have been knocked out in the semi-finals for the last three years in a row, “and now we want to take the next step.”

+++ 1.14 pm: FCB on the ground +++
The Bayern party has landed in Madrid, with the Real Madrid pre-match press conference currently in progress.

+++ 11.20 am: Bale and Ronaldo train for Real +++
FCB are in the air – and Real Madrid’s final pre-match workout is underway. Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, who was rated doubtful yesterday due to flu, are taking part.

+++ 11.10 am: Neuer and van Buyten on board +++
Bayern’s Lufthansa plane has taken off from Munich for the two and a half hour flight to Madrid. Of the 270 passengers 19 are players, including fit-again Manuel Neuer, youngsters Mitchell Weiser and keeper Leopold Zingerle, and Daniel van Buyten, who is expecting to become a father for the third time soon. Thiago, Xherdan Shaqiri, Diego Contento, Tom Starke and Holger Badstuber all miss out with injury.

+++ 10.05 am: Rummenigge: We respect Real +++
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is speaking at the airport: “We travel to Madrid with respect and humility,” said the Bayern chairman, “we need a result we can build on in the home leg, which means scoring at least one goal.“ Rummenigge called for FCB to show “passion” at the Bernabéu.

+++ 09.05 am: Today’s online programme +++
We have full coverage of the build-up to Real v Bayern here at and We complement our news ticker and preview with a facts and stats feature later in the day. Our fascinating photo gallery looks back at previous Bernabeu clashes between the sides. Our premium club TV channel presents the News, with our exclusive video preview and interview with Matthias Sammer due on the day of the game.

+++ 09.00 am: The schedule in Madrid +++
Bayern are expected in Madrid at around 1.30 pm. The squad transfers by bus to the team hotel, where Pep Guardiola, Philipp Lahm and Javi Martínez will address the international press conference at approx. 2.45 pm. Guardiola will supervise his squad’s pre-match workout at the Bernabéu from 6 pm.