After winning the Champions League with Real Madrid, Bayern Munich boss Carlo Ancelotti will be looking to get one over his former team and his former assistant in Zinedine Zidane. Bayern Munich welcome Real Madrid to the Allianz Arena later on Wednesday for their first leg quarter-final Champions League match.
If Bayern Munich can defeat the defending champions, they will definitely become the favourites to win the Champions League this season. Real Madrid have lost nine of their 11 away games against Bayern Munich in European competition, winning and drawing just one. But the last time the two teams met at the Allianz Arena, Real Madrid defeated them 4-0 which was the worst defeat they ever suffered at home.
Things are certainly different now, but Bayern Munich fans will still be a little worried as they will be without first choice defender Mats Hummels after he damaged ankle ligaments over the weekend. They will welcome back goalkeeper Manuel Neuer following a minor foot operation ten days ago.
The biggest concern for them, however, will be the availability of star striker Robert Lewandowski. The Polish striker had injured his shoulder and is still not 100 percent fit to start despite training. Ancelotti said his absence will not affect the way they play on Wednesday and had a lot of praises to dish out for his former assistant Zidane.
"He has been training just 20 minutes because he has problems with his shoulder, but we had a good feeling beforehand. We will finally decide whether he can play on Wednesday - if he is in pain, he won't play. I don't know if he will feel better but that will not change our idea or our strategy, nor our self-confidence. We know how important Lewandowski is, but we can be strong without him," ESPN quoted Ancelotti as saying.
Real Madrid go into this match unbeaten in their last five matches, but they did draw to rivals Atletico Madrid in their previous match. Zidane will have a point to prove when he comes up against his former boss in Ancelotti. The Frenchman won the Champions League trophy in his first season in charge of Real Madrid and the Real fans will expect nothing less this season.
Like Bayern Munich, Real Madrid have a number of injury concerns of their own. Defenders Pepe and Raphael Varane are ruled out of both the legs with a rib fracture and a hamstring injury respectively. Their right back, Daniel Carvajal, is also a doubt after he trained on his own on Monday.
Real Madrid's front three in Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale are all fit and will be expected to start, but Ronaldo's and Bale's form has not been that good lately and they will have to step up if they are to come out of this match with a win.
During his pre-match press conference, Zidane said that his team is not lining up against Ancelotti and his team and despite knowing each other really well, no one is at an advantage or a disadvantage. He also spoke about his sides chances in this match saying they do not fear them.
"We know each other very well, but that doesn't mean anything: it's not an advantage or a disadvantage. It's two good teams coming up against each other and that's all there is to it. We're not lining up against Carlo. I've learned a lot from him," Zidane said.
"I don't fear Bayern, I'm more bothered about what we do. We'll come up against a Bayern side that'll start strongly, they always do and all the more so at home. They know how to dominate a game and they always try to play with greater intensity than their opponents. We face fine opposition, but ultimately what I'm bothered about is what we do. We're a strong and well-balanced side," he added.
Where to watch
The Champions League quarter final match between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid is set to start at 7:45 pm local time, 12:15 am IST and 2:45 am EST.
TV and live streaming information
India: TV: Ten 1 HD, Ten 2. Live Streaming: Sony Liv.
UK: TV: BT Sport 3. Live Streaming: Watch BT Sport.
USA: TV: Fox Sports 2. Live streaming: Fox Soccer 2 Go.
Spain: TV: Movistar+, beIN Sports Connect España, beIN Sports Spain.
Germany: TV: Sky Sports 2/HD, Sky Sports 1HD. live streaming: Sky Go Deutschland