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Schweinsteiger and Martínez

Big losses, but solutions to hand

The evening seemed destined to belong to him. He touched the ball more times than any other player (111), played the most passes (95, level with Philipp Lahm), and scored the vital away equaliser – and then the game moved into the last minute. Bastian Schweinsteiger was yellow-carded for a foul on Wayne Rooney and dismissed for a second bookable offence. The midfield later left Old Trafford tight-lipped and with his head down. He will miss the return against Manchester United at the Allianz Arena next week with a ban.

“It’s obviously a bitter blow to lose Basti and Javi,” said Lahm. The FCB captain voiced his disagreement with the decision by referee Carlos Velasco Carballo not to brandish a second yellow at United winger Antonio Valencia for clattering into Jérôme Boateng earlier in the match. “He committed two bad fouls in quick succession but wasn’t sent off,” complained Lahm.

Pep Guardiola agreed with his captain: “Carballo is a very good referee and had a good game. But the [Schweinsteiger] decision was unfair.” Matthias Sammer said: “You have to be consistent at this level.”

However, nothing can be done about the second sending-off of Schweinsteiger’s 499-game Bayern career (including 34 games in the third division for the reserves), as the club and players know. “We have to accept it,” said Arjen Robben. The same applies to Javi Martínez after the defender collected his third yellow of this season’s competition. “We have to fight for the pair of them, so they can come back in the semi-finals,” said the Dutchman, looking ahead to next Wednesday’s return at home to United.

Thiago, Badstuber, Contento injured

Once again, the depth in the squad will be invaluable at the Allianz Arena. Alongside Schweinsteiger and Martínez, Thiago and Holger Badstuber are definitely out injured. Diego Contento hurt a foot in the final pre-match training session and may not recover in time for the midweek showdown. On the plus side, Dante is eligible again after serving a one-match ban on Tuesday night.

“We’ll field a team of 11 men as always. These things happen. We’ll find a solution,” commented Guardiola, although he knows Schweinsteiger will be sorely missed after running into great form again following an injury lay-off. The midfielder has contributed four goals and two assists in his last six matches.

Intriguingly, the FCB vice-captain’s only previous sending-off came seven and a half years ago on 18 October 2006, when he was sent for an early shower in a 1-0 win away to Sporting Lisbon. That was also in the Champions League, and Bastian also scored.

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