Attacking fest expected

Real Madrid's star player Cristiano Ronaldo during training in Madrid yesterday. The Spanish giants lead 2-1 from the away leg and remain on course for a third straight Champions League title.
Real Madrid's star player Cristiano Ronaldo during training in Madrid yesterday. The Spanish giants lead 2-1 from the away leg and remain on course for a third straight Champions League title.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Zidane wants early goal to keep Bayern at bay while German side must make chances count

MADRID • Bayern Munich and Real Madrid are long-standing rivals on the European stage, but both clubs will be singing from the same hymn sheet today - that attack is the best policy at the Bernabeu.

Real coach Zinedine Zidane has promised his side will look for the early goal against the German league winners in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final, as they seek to remain on course for an unprecedented third consecutive European Cup.

The LaLiga giants hold a 2-1 lead after the Munich leg last week, but the Frenchman insisted the job was nowhere near complete.

"The key for us is (to) think about winning the game and go onto the pitch wanting to do that. We need to go out to score quickly and that's what we'll try to do," Zidane told a pre-match news conference.

"It's a semi-final, we know how important it is and what we have to do. We don't have to change what we're doing.

"Our focus and determination will be there, we don't need to change much. What we did in the first leg was good, but we now need to show in the return that what we want is to go through (to the final)."

With first-choice right-back Dani Carvajal out with a hamstring problem, he faces a selection headache because the likely replacement Nacho has sat out the past month with a thigh injury.

BE HUNGRY

Our focus and determination will be there, we don't need to change much. What we did in the first leg was good, but we now need to show in the return that what we want is to go through.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE, Real Madrid coach, on keeping up the pressure in the second leg.

Spanish media reports have indicated that winger Lucas Vazquez could be asked to deputise, but Zidane said no decision had been made. Midfielder Isco is also a doubt following a shoulder problem.

"Nacho has been out, but trained a lot recently, and today he's with us and ready to go in that respect," Zidane added.

"We have time ahead of the game and we'll think about what we're going to do."

Real captain Sergio Ramos echoed the coach's sentiments, saying: "We got a good result over there (in Germany), but we need to think that it's still 0-0. We want to defend our title, and beat the Germans, too.

"We're making the impossible look easy. In the last four years, we've won three Champions League titles. In such a small amount of time, it's a challenge to carry on breaking records."

Ramos, meanwhile, revealed that that the deposed Spanish champions had no plans, as per Zidane's instructions, to give Barcelona a guard of honour in their league meeting next weekend at the Nou Camp despite the Catalan side securing the title on Sunday.

"What Zidane says is gospel. We're making too much fuss out of all this. Barca have the title, which is what they wanted, but there will be no guard of honour - full stop," the defender said.

"They want to enjoy their title and the same for us and ours, we need to eliminate the Germans and to reach another final."

But, as far as Franck Ribery is concerned, Bayern have no intention of letting the two-time defending champions dictate the play.

The French winger, who twice came agonisingly close to scoring in the first leg, issued a battle cry - with the Bavarians fully aware that they have to be ruthless in front of goal to stage an unlikely comeback.

"The battle is lost, but the war is not over," he tweeted, borrowing from the quote by famed French leader Charles de Gaulle. "We will get our chances in Madrid."

Team-mate Sandro Wagner, who Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes dubbed "a fighter" over the weekend, may also feature alongside Poland forward Robert Lewandowski, with the Germany striker itching to get the chance to be on the end of Ribery's crosses.

"Real were all at sea defending every cross (at the Allianz Arena), so we know what we have to do," said the 30-year-old. "We all want revenge and have all vowed to give it absolutely everything in Madrid."

However, treble-chasing Bayern will be without defender Jerome Boateng and, according to Kicker magazine, winger Arjen Robben. But regular left-back David Alaba has been passed fit after missing their home tie.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 01, 2018, with the headline 'Attacking fest expected'. Print Edition | Subscribe