Champions League: Bayern Munich face Real Madrid

Hugh Fox
April 25, 2018

Jupp Heynckes refused to be entertained by the possibility of swapping striker Robert Lewandowski for Cristiano Ronaldo.

"Real Madrid are favourites, I think it's a 60-40 situation".

Bayern have already secured the Bundesliga title and have reached the German Cup final as well.

"Ajren Robben, Lewandowski and Franck Ribery are three very hard players to defend against", said Real defender Dani Carvajal.

At the turn of the year when Real Madrid had lost the Christmas Clasico at home and been turned over by Pochettino's Tottenham at Wembley, the French coach was looked upon as a someone who would need to be sacked with sensitivity at the end of the season.

Real meet Bayern in Munich tonight for the first-leg of their Champions League semifinal. And he would know.

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Real Madrid are hoping anything Rodriguez does, Cristiano Ronaldo can do better.

James Rodriguez is available for selection despite being on loan from Real Madrid. But the secret is that there is no secret. The Italian club snuck two late goals that could prove crucial if they are able to play similar to how they did against Lionel Messi and Barcelona in their shocking comeback during the Quarterfinals.

He steered Real to the title in 1998, then Bayern in 2013, a season the Germans finished with a treble.

This is as high-profile as Champions League nights get and there is no doubt that this will be an absolute cracker of a match.

Under Heynckes, Bayern won the 2013 final at Wembley when Arjen Robben's victor sealed a 2-1 win over Dortmund on their way to the treble. They have earned 2.13 points per game away from home in the league this season and just two at the Bernabeu.

If Bayern lift the Champions League trophy in Kiev on May 26, Heynckes, who turns 73 on May 9, will make history as the oldest coach to win the European Cup.

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"It's special for a team like Madrid". Sergio Ramos will play after missing the return leg against Juventus through suspension.

Heynckes has two options for his starting 11 in the Munich arena on Wednesday. Zidane will line up as usual, with one place up for grabs.

As noted by Burt, Bale is expected to be on the bench for the semi-final showdown, with the likes of Lucas Vazquez, Isco and Marco Asensio ahead of him in the pecking order for much of 2017-18.

The narrative suggests that Real are all set for another march to victory.

Following a hard start to life in Germany, the 26-year-old has been one the stars for Bayern Munich this season, with his six goals and 10 assists in the league helping the Bavarian side their six consecutive Bundesliga title. All I can do is play as best as I possibly can until the end of the season, Madrid will exercise their option to buy me back and after that, they will have the final say.

"They won the league quite early, but they don't give the impression that they've let their rhythm drop".

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Robbie is based in Madrid and is one of ESPN FC's Real Madrid bloggers.

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