Bayern Munich will not be
shying away from challenges in Wednesday's Champions League
semi-final at Real Madrid despite having seven players at risk
of missing the final, according to midfielder Bastian
Defenders Jerome Boateng, Philipp Lahm and Holger Badstuber,
midfielders David Alaba, Luiz Gustavo and Toni Kroos and forward
Thomas Muller are all a booking away from a one-game
suspension, which would rule them out of next month's title
match at their own Allianz Arena should they progress.
The Bundesliga side, four-times continental champions, have
a 2-1 advantage over Jose Mourinho's nine-times winners from the
first leg and Schweinsteiger predicted the early stages of the
return game at the Bernabeu will be crucial.
"The first 20 minutes are sure to be intense and we have to
hold firm and avoid conceding," the Germany international told a
news conference on Tuesday.
"All of us will be putting everything into challenges, we
just have to avoid picking up silly yellow cards," he added.
Schweinsteiger played in the team that lost the 2010 final
at the Bernabeu to Mourinho's Inter Milan and he agreed with the
Portuguese's remark that given Real's firepower Bayern would
probably need to score at least once to get through.
Real have won 10 of their last 11 Champions League home
games and have amassed 22 goals in five games at the Bernabeu in
this year's competition.
Forward Cristiano Ronaldo has been in scintillating form,
supported by strikers Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain and
creative forces Angel di Maria and Mesut Ozil, who plays for
Germany alongside many of the Bayern players.
"I expect that we will have to score a goal - and we will,"
said Schweinsteiger, who has only recently returned from an
"A game like this is a highlight of the season," added the
"You work towards it the whole season and it was something
that also motivated me while I was out of action."
Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, who led Real to the Champions
League title in 1998, said it was not set in stone that Real's
2-1 La Liga win at Spanish and European champions Barcelona on
Saturday, which virtually wrapped up the title, would help them.
"Normally you would say that when a team like Madrid wins
2-1 at the Nou Camp and almost clinches the title it's an
advantage," Heynckes, who also had stints at La Liga clubs
Athletic Bilbao and Tenerife, said on Bayern's website
"However, you never know for sure," he added. "I follow the
Spanish press and you can tell that people in Madrid have a
great deal of respect for us.
"It's clear that we are going to have to score one or two
goals. We are quite capable of that as we have dangerous
forwards but first we must range ourselves in a compact and
narrow way and that will create chances to counter attack."
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