Porto 'know how hard it will be'
Sunday did not look like a day of rest in Porto. Around 1,000 fans gathered at the airport to wish their heroes well as they set off for Munich in the second half of the mission to reach the Champions League semi-finals. "It was incredible," declared defender Ivan Marcano. The Porto coach Julen Lopetegui added: "That will definitely give us a boost. We want to make our fans happy." There is no doubting the level of euphoria in the Portuguese camp after the 3-1 win against FC Bayern in the first leg.
That was also evident at the visitors' pre-match press conference at the Allianz Arena on Monday night. "We're looking forward to the game and we're up for it," reported Lopetegui who is well aware the quarter-final tie is far from over despite Porto's comfortable lead. "We're fully focused. We want to put on a great display against one of the best teams in the world but we know it will be difficult."
The primary aim on Tuesday night will be to defend well. "We don't want to concede," announced the Basque manager. "And when we've got the ball we'll be looking to attack and play our game." Jackson Martínez is fit and he will be trying to get one over again on Jérôme Boateng, Manuel Neuer and Co.
The Colombian, who has already scored six goals in the Champions League campaign, will be up front. He will have the support of two-goal striker Ricardo Quaresma and the lively Algerian Yacine Brahimi. Lopetegui will have to make changes in defence: The two full backs Danilo and Alex Sandro are both serving one-match bans. The coach is not unduly concerned. "The game will be decided by small differences at the end of the day."
Central defender Marcano, missing a week ago, returns to the starting line-up. "We're going to try and play on the front foot and perform like we did a week ago," said the Spaniard. If they manage that then it will be difficult for FC Bayern - that is the conviction in the FC Porto camp. "It's all about the semi-final. We'll obviously do all we can," added Lopetegui, "but it will be a big challenge for us. We're up against one of the favourites to win the Champions League."
The FC Porto squad: Helton, Fabiano, Ricardo Nunes (goalkeepers); Martins Indi, Maicon, Marcano, Casemiro, Quaresma, Brahimi, Jackson Martínez, Quintero, Reyes, Evandro, Herrera, Hernâni, Ricardo, Óliver Torres, Rúben Neves, Gonçalo Paciência and Aboubakar.