Created on 22-11-2016 at 19:10 PM by Redaktion
They call Rostov the port of the five seas and the gateway to the Caucasus, yet it was neither water nor mountains which struck the Bavarians as they arrived in the Russian metropolis on Tuesday. It was the icy wind, shaking the Lufthansa charter plane on approach before chilling the players to the bone as they deplaned. But the most severe blow came in the evening, when the Bayern pros noticed the gusts had not eased off as they reported for the final training session at the Olimp-2, the smallest Champions League stadium this year with its 15,840 capacity. "The weather isn't ideal. It's a bit cold," said Robert Lewandowski. "However, we needn't be concerned with whether it's minus five, minus ten or plus 30 degrees, but just hit the gas and win."
"It isn't so important whether it's hot ot cold," agreed Carlo Ancelotti. "We want to play well here, give it 100 percent and win," the FCB head coach declared on Tuesday evening. The Italian does not expect a clear-cut victory like in the first leg two months ago, a 5-0 win, "Rostov are a team with good defensive organisation and good counterattacks. They played well at home against Atlético recently. We'll have to fight to win."
'We want to do better'
Lewandowski too is expecting "no easy game. Rostov are still fighting for third place. It's probably going to be a completely different match compared to the first leg." The men from Munich are aiming to succeed on their 41-hour trip to the south of Russia, even if they are without Manuel Neuer, Arjen Robben, Arturo Vidal, Javi Martínez and Kingsley Coman, who are either injured or have taken knocks.
The German record champions aim to maintain their chances of winning the group against Atlético on the last matchday through their own efforts, and only a victory on Wednesday would keep that option open. "We want the group victory, and that means we must win," said Sven Ulreich, who is set to deputise for Neuer between the sticks on Wednesday evening. "We know he's quality. We don't need to worry," said Philipp Lahm. "He has our trust. He also kept goal brilliantly in Zagreb last year," added Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Bayern do not want last weekend's defeat in Dortmund to knock them out of their stride. "We know what we did wrong. Now we want to do better," stressed Lewandowski. Ancelotti is "certain we'll play better tomorrow," no matter how cold the wind blows at Rostov's Olimp-2 stadium.
Pre-match news from Rostov:
Coach Ivan Daniliants: "No matter what line-up Bayern field, Bayern are Bayern, one of the best teams in Europe. Our display in the first leg wasn't as bad as the scoreline suggests. Our well-organised defence did not allow any chances before the first goal."
Rostov are on one point in Group D, equal with PSV. The Russians will field a full-strength team on Wednesday as there are no injury concerns.