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Lewandowski returns

Bayern believe

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The Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. A magical place that gets the heart racing, where the greats of world football play and where dream goals are scored. Everything seems possible here, even before kick-off – not just for the residents Real Madrid but also for the guests, FC Bayern. On Tuesday they’ll be looking to overturn a 2-1 first-leg defeat at the Spanish theatre of football (kick-off at 20:45 CEST, live ticker and Webradio commentary).

“Anything can happen in football,” said Thomas Müller speaking from first-hand experience, and that’s the attitude the men from Munich will be taking into this classic European clash. “We’ll give everything. It’s not over yet!” declared David Alaba, epitomising the determination of the Bayern players who intend to “throw everything we have in order to emerge victorious” at the Bernabéu. In what’s sure to be a fiery atmosphere, Alaba is demanding “courage and self-belief – that will be very important. We need to keep calm and show our strengths on the pitch.” The Austrian is confident: “We can do it.”

Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge shares his belief. “The squad have great character,” knows the former world-class striker. “Bayern Munich are renowned for showing extraordinary desire in these types of games.” After losing 2-1 in the first leg, Bayern need “a superb performance and maybe a bit of luck as well”. Rummenigge promised one thing before boarding the flight to Madrid: “We’ll give everything. It would be great if the team can turn it around.”

Lewandowski set to return

Bayern need to manage a balancing act in the Spanish capital – being daring without leaving themselves too exposed to the Champions League holders. “The ideal scenario would be that we take the lead and then we only have to score one more goal. But it doesn’t have to be in the first ten minutes, we have 90 minutes,” warned Philipp Lahm, wary of going all guns blazing too early. Müller commented: “We know we’re at a disadvantage but it’s certainly not beyond the realms of possibility.” And Manuel Neuer said: “We’re always capable of scoring two goals, and in a short space of time – regardless of who we’re playing.”

Robert Lewandowski will almost certainly be able to help when it comes to scoring. The striker missed the first leg due to a shoulder injury. “It’s great that he’s fit again, it gives us a lot of confidence,” said Carlo Ancelotti, confirming that Lewandowski will play. The news was greeted with delight by his teammates, too. “He’s lethal in front of goal and we’ve missed him,” said Manuel Neuer. However there are still question marks over Jêróme Boateng and Mats Hummels, who have travelled. “The final training session will be decisive, they need to be able to work with the ball,” reported Ancelotti. Should they lose their race against time, David Alaba and/or Joshua Kimmich could start in the centre of defence.

Real without Bale

“Whoever plays will give everything for the cause,” said president Uli Hoeneß, who’s confident the personnel situation won’t determine the outcome on Tuesday. “They all have the quality and the right to play in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.” Lahm also has “confidence” in the whole squad: “We’ll put out a team that will try everything.” Neuer echoed the same sentiments: “Regardless of who steps onto the pitch, the motivation is huge. Without fail we want to be in the semi-finals!”

Real Madrid will be forced into at least one change themselves. Gareth Bale was taken off with an injury during the first leg in Munich and hasn’t overcome his muscular problem in time. Centre-backs Pepe and Raphael Varane remain sidelined. Real coach Zinédine Zidane is nevertheless confident his side “can cause every team problems”. The three-time FIFA World Player of the Year is well aware of the threat Bayern pose, though: “We know it’ll be difficult.”