Real Madrid are set to take to the field without Gareth Bale as they aim to overcome Bayern Munich en route to the UEFA Champions League Semi-Finals.
Real Madrid mounted a comeback in the first-leg of the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Finals to earn a 2-1 advantage going into the second leg – which is set to played at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.
However, the goal advantage might just be neutralised by the injury to Gareth Bale, who will be missing the tie, combined with the return of Robert Lewandowski, who has returned to training and is set to feature at Santiago Bernabeu, irrespective of whether he starts the match or not.
Zinedine Zidane lamented on Bale’s absence in the pre-match conference while laying emphasis on the abundance of quality available at his disposal in the current Real Madrid squad, which will help cope with the Welshman’s absence.
“He’s worked hard to get back with the team and after his injury, three months off, he returned really keen. He has some discomfort that is preventing him from being at his best and I hope he’ll be back with us soon. He’s not going to be with us tomorrow as we don’t want to risk him.”
Carlo Ancelotti, on the other hand, will be returning to the Santiago Bernabeu, his former home, along with Xabi Alonso, who is set to hang up his playing boots at the end of the season, and is likely to on the receiving end of a warm welcome from Los Blancos faithfuls on Tuesday.
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The current Bayern manager, however, did provide a positive update on Lewandowski, stating that he is back in training, but there is no guarantee as to whether he will be fit enough to start the game.
“He’s fine, he trained yesterday with the rest of the squad and had no issues. His presence will be a help, he scores a lot of goals and is a very important player. Having him involved gives us confidence. I’m no doctor, we want Lewandowski to play but don’t know if he’ll be fit.”
“Boateng and Hummels both trained alone yesterday and we’ll have to see how they get on with the ball. They’re in with a chance of featuring.”
Bayern’s depleted central defence could be put to test by Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Isco, who has been in scintillating form of late.
The appointed referee is Viktor Kassai, who officiated in the very fixture in the 2011-12 UEFA Champions League semi-finals, where Real Madrid emerged victorious by 2 goals to 1, a result Los Blancos would hope repeats itself as they aim to make the semi-finals in the defence of their European crown.