Created on 12-04-2016 at 20:25 PM
The Lisbon weather has been nothing short of a lottery recently. The sun has been beating down at times, but has been replaced by rain almost without warning. It even snowed a few days ago, and on Tuesday strong winds delayed the arrival of Bayern’s plane. The Portuguese capital has it all – and there’s everything to play for too for Germany’s record champions on Wednesday (Live in English from 20:45 CET on Twitter and free Web Radio) when they meet Benfica with a place in the Champions League semi-finals at stake.
“We’re in a very, very good position and we have to use it!” urged captain Philipp Lahm. Munich aim to convert their 1-0 advantage from the first leg in Bavaria a week ago into a successful aggregate result at the Estádio da Luz. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge issued advice of his own: “I’d obviously like us to reach the semi-finals, but before then we’ll have to play 90 minutes of good football and stay focused,” the FC Bayern chairman declared.
‘We know them better now’
“The first leg result is good, but it won’t count on Wednesday,” warned Thomas Müller. “Crazy things can happen.” To prevent that, the 2013 winners will require “plenty of concentration and the necessary dose of passion.” The Reds aim to win the match in Lisbon, “but it won’t be easy,” said Manuel Neuer, “Benfica didn’t offer us many openings in Munich.” However, last week’s 1-0 victory helps Bayern in a number of ways, Pep Guardiola noted: “We know them better now and we know what we have to do.”
That of course equally applies to Benfica, whose final training session at the Caixa Futebol Campus was also affected by the weather, although a sudden downpour failed to dampen the good mood in the home camp. The only concern for the Portuguese side is Nico Gaitan, who could not exercise due to muscular problems and is rated doubtful for the match. Benfica's top striker Jonas, who has scored 18 goals in 18 competitive fixtures so far in 2016, was out on the pitch, but will not be available as he serves a one-match ban.
Chances? 'Just take them!'
“He's very dangerous, but they have more strong forwards,” commented Javi Martínez, who does not regard the ban for the 32-year-old Brazilian as a major advantage. “We have to be 100 percent focused, no matter who's playing for them.” David Alaba expects “a very intense match, we'll have to give it everything.” Neuer recalled: “The final scoreline could have been 1-1 in the first leg. We've certainly been warned!”
A draw would be sufficient for the Bavarians to advance to the semi-finals for the fifth time in a row, but Robert Lewandowski & Co refused to indulge in calculations of that sort. “We can't play for a draw,” warned the Poland international, “we have to attack too!” The striker is confident FCB will “have some chances in Lisbon, we'll just have to make use of them.” If so, the current knockout round will not be as much of a lottery as the weather conditions on the Atlantic seaboard.