Pep Guardiola acknowledged that some in the press have already written off his Bayern Munich squad off ahead of the return-leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinal in Munich on Tuesday. Real Madrid took the first-leg, 1-0, at the Bernabeu last Wednesday and is the favorite to progress to the final in Lisbon on May 17.
However, during his press conference ahead of Tuesday’s clash at the Allianz Arena, Guardiola replied that that’s not how he sees it. “We’re close to [the final], but we’re behind on the scoreboard. I’ve also read and heard that Madrid are in the final and that they’ve already won it. We see it differently. We’re behind on the scoreboard and we’ll try to score.”
Asked how he planned to defend against Madrid’s blistering counterattack spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, the Spaniard said: “They’re a team that runs incredibly, they are so fast. When you lose the ball you need to get back fast, but the further they are from our goal the better,” he said. “Possible we’ll need to use some of our other weapons, too.”
Speaking of his ‘other’ or as-yet-unused weapons, the former Barcelona manager noted that Bayern would need a big game from star player Franck Ribery. “It’s not necessary for the coach to say how important he is for the team and his teammates,” he said of Ribery, adding: “He always fights for the team, that’s why people love him and why he’s one of the greatest in Bayern’s history. We need him.”