Bayern look for home comforts
Jupp Heynckes is hoping the chance to play the Champions League final at the Allianz Arena will give Bayern Munich the edge against Real Madrid.
The two European giants meet in the first leg of their semi-final on Tuesday in Germany, with the Bavarians also providing the setting for the showpiece on May 19.
However, it’ll be a difficult task for Bayern as they must first beat Jose Mourinho’s La Liga leaders over 180 minutes at least, although the omens do look good for this evening’s encounter.
Real have never won in nine attempts in Munich, and their record in Germany is even worse: the nine-time European Cup winners have emerged victorious from there only once in 22 visits.
And Heynckes, who led Real to the trophy in 1998, insists that rubbish run will continue tonight, especially with a ‘home’ final acting as extra motivation to his charges.
“It’s a detail that could make the difference at the end,” the Bayern coach said. “Everybody is focused. The guys want to fulfil their dream and play a home final here in Munich. The chance to play the final on your home field comes perhaps just once in a lifetime.”
Bayern go into the game having all but failed in their bid to win back the Bundesliga title from Borussia Dortmund, although centre-back Holger Badstuber has dismissed claims their domestic disaster will affect them in Europe.
“The Champions League is different to the national championship,” he said. “We are confident because of what we have shown in the Champions League this season. It is a semi-final; not something you have every day.
“A 0-0 would be a good result. But of course we are confident we can do even better. The team spirit is good. We are no longer thinking about the Bundesliga, we are concentrating on the semi-final and we want to proceed to the final.”
Meanwhile Madrid defender Sergio Ramos knows the visitors are in for a busy evening with wing wizards Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben supplying Mario Gomez - the in-form hitman has 11 goals in the competition this season.
“Bayern have very dangerous players of great quality in attack like Ribery and Robben, but success is achieved through the collective,” Ramos said.
“Hopefully we can manage a good result there to help get to the final.”