MUNICH - Bayern Munich defend
their one-goal lead over champions Inter Milan on Tuesday buoyed
by their biggest win of the season and seemingly unfazed by the
departure of coach Louis van Gaal.
Five days after Bayern announced Van Gaal would leave at the
end of the season, they demolished Hamburg SV 6-0 on Saturday to
restore confidence after three successive defeats.
Van Gaal, whose contract was due to expire in 2012, has paid
the price for a poor campaign after the club's domestic double
last season, but the Dutchman can still go out on a high in the
Bayern, who lost to Inter in last year's European Cup final,
host the Italians in the second leg of their last-16 tie after
winning 1-0 at the San Siro last month.
"Everyone saw (against Hamburg) how Bayern can really play,"
Van Gaal said.
"The goals liberated us and this was just the perfect
preparation going into the game against Inter."
Van Gaal is likely to return Brazilian Luiz Gustavo to the
midfield to partner Bastian Schweinsteiger after he replaced
suspended Breno in central defence on Saturday.
"We said changes have to start now, to support each other
more," said Dutch winger Arjen Robben, who scored a hat-trick
against Hamburg to make it eight goals in eight league games
since he returned from a six-month injury lay-off.
"I saw our players become more confident and that is how we
Former Bayern defender Lucio is a major doubt for Inter. The
Brazilian was replaced by Ivan Cordoba with 25 minutes to go of
Friday's 1-1 Serie A draw with Brescia after pulling a muscle in
his right leg.
Lucio's presence is considered crucial with fellow
centre-back Walter Samuel already out for the season.
Cordoba had a torrid performance on Friday, gifting Brescia
an equaliser before committing a professional foul to give away
a penalty and being sent off.
Defender Marco Materazzi also came on for a rare appearance
in the game and could be another option to play alongside
23-year-old Andrea Ranocchia should Lucio fail a late fitness
Happier news for Inter coach Leonardo is that defender
Cristian Chivu and midfielder Esteban Cambiasso are back in
training after injuries and should start.
With Giampaolo Pazzini cup-tied, Goran Pandev, whose
performances have been more impressive of late, is likely to
partner the in-form Samuel Eto'o up front.
Bayern Munich: 35-Thomas Kraft; 21-Philipp Lahm, 2-Breno,
44-Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, 26-Diego Contento; 10-Arjen Robben,
30-Luiz Gustavo, 31-Bastian Schweinsteiger, Franck Ribery;
25-Thomas Mueller, 33-Mario Gomez.
Inter Milan: 1-Julio Cesar; 13-Maicon, 15-Andrea Ranocchia,
6-Lucio, 26- Cristian Chivu; 4-Javier Zanetti, 19-Esteban
Cambiasso, 5-Dejan Stankovic, 10 Wesley Sneijder; 9-Samuel
Eto'o, 27-Goran Pandev.
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