Bayern Munich face Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final tomorrow evening having already secured the Bundesliga title and a place in the final of the German Cup.
Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has pinned his hopes on French striker Franck Ribery to get his side the crucial victory to progress to the final, as the German giants take on Real Madrid on Tuesday night.
Bayern go into the home leg with a one goal disadvantage as they trail 1-0 from the first game in Spain, after Karim Benzema put Los Blancos ahead.
Ribery was the victim of a lot of criticism as his performance for ‘uninspired’ and he lead the attack of the team, which despite dominating possession, lacked the clinical edge.
However, Guardiola could probably hope better from his striker as he did exceptionally well in Bayern’s 5-2 Bundesliga win over Werder Bremen.
“Franck played like he was possessed at the weekend,” Guardiola said in admiration
“He fights and fights and for this reason the people love him here at the Allianz Arena. He is one of the best players in the history of Bayern Munich and we need his help.”
Guardiola said he knew that there “will be a lot of quality on the field”, as Real would have Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo both fit. The ex-Barcelona boss claimed to be confident of the opposition not just sitting back and playing for a draw which would see them off to the final
“I really can’t imagine them playing for that result for the full 90 minutes. They don’t have the mentality just to stick men behind the ball and defend. They have the quality to change their system and it’s better if we keep them at a safe distance from our goal. They are a top team.”
He elaborated by praising Ancelotti’s philosophy
“Ancelotti will do what is best for his team and my players will adapt. They are a team who run a lot and are very fast. A Coach needs to have a lot of options and Madrid have the quality for that to be the case. I like Ancelotti’s philosophy. He also knows his players well and his mentality is not to sit back and defend for 90 minutes.”
The Bavarian giants won the treble under Guardiola’s predecessor Jupp Heynckes and are now in the running to do the same under him as they are through to the finals of the DFB-Pokal, have already won the league and could possibly win the Champions League after getting the desired result against Madrid. Guardiola understands the expectations that weigh down his shoulders.
“I can understand that if we only win the league and the DFB-Pokal, that maybe would not be enough. It’s an honour, but not easy to be here, but we have a dream of flying to Lisbon (for the Champions League final).”
Guardiola remained confident of his team’s chances of coming from behind and winning the match and said:
“I have read and heard things from Madrid saying they are in the final and that they have won. We see it differently. We are behind in terms of the scoreline but we want to come back. We know it will be difficult though.”