Having drawn Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals, Carlo Ancelotti believes that it is the Bavarian Giants will enter the tie as the favourites.
Real Madrid were successful in keeping a determined Borussia Dortmund at bay in the second leg to qualify for the 4th successive Champions League semi finals this season. However they have drawn tournament favourites Bayern Munich in a repeat of the 2012 semi-finals.
Speaking ahead of Real’s La Liga fixture against Almeria, Ancelotti admitted that Bayern will prove to the their toughest test this season and that the Germans are the favourites to go to Lisbon for a third successive Champions League finals.
“Guardiola has a lot of experience and it will be a tough tie. Bayern are favourites, but we’re no pushover and it will be difficult for them too.”
He seemed to be relieved to be playing in the semi-finals after Real Madrid’s disappointing performance in the second leg of the quarter-finals that saw the Los Blancos give away their 3-0 lead allowing Dortmund to crawl their way into the game. However the tie against Bayern Munich will push Real Madrid one step higher who have faced all German oppositions in the knock-out stages this year.
“This draw is good, because we’re in it. We hope to do our best and beat Bayern. They are a great team and Guardiola is one of the greatest. It will be a tough tie for both teams.”
Cristiano Ronaldo has been sidelined due to a thigh injury and is expected to miss Real’s match against Almeria and the King’s Cup final on Wednesday next week. The winger was rested against Real Sociedad and Borussia Dortmund but it now seems that he will further remain unavailable for Real Madrid. However Ancelotti believes that there is a chance that he may make a miraculous recovery and be available for the finals against Barcelona.
“Cristiano did not get injured in the training before the second leg. If we say that he has a chance to play the Copa del Rey Final, that is because it is not a very serious injury. We need to wait.”
Sitting on the third spot in the La Liga, Real Madrid are in a precarious position in the domestic league and will be hoping for a positive result against Almeria as they cannot afford to slip up any further with just 6 fixtures to go. Real Madrid does have the advantage of playing their next few fixtures at home and hence Carlo Ancelotti is hoping that a positive atmosphere at the Santiago Bernabeu will enable the players to rise up to the occasion.
“We have a lot of home games next, so it will be very important to have a good atmosphere and support from the fans. A good attitude from the players will also be important. We’re motivated and I hope the fans feel the same way.”
Joking about Jurgen Klopp’s comments where he said that a DVD should be made out of Borussia Dortmund’s second leg display against Real Madrid as an inspiration for all teams trailing miserably after the first leg, Carlo Ancelotti showed that he was capable of giving as good as he gets when it came to friendly banter.
“I heard that Klopp wants to make a DVD about the second leg. If he does that, then we can make an Oscar-worthy film about the first leg!”
It now remains to be seen how Real Madrid shape up as they enter the most important months of their present campaign. Still alive in all three competitions, will they end the season on a high or will Real Madrid end on another dry spell. Only time will tell.