Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone says he will not rest on his side’s slender advantage tonight, insisting his team will be for the win in Bavaria.
“Let’s go out and win. We know that the draw gets us through but we cannot think of staying in it. Winning is the essence of the game,” said Simeone last night.
“I do not have any shame to acknowledge that I have fear — now and before every game.”
Simeone gave little away about whether influential defender Diego Godin would return from the hamstring injury that ruled him out of the first leg but praised the performances of fellow centre-backs Jose Gimenez, Stefan Savic and Lucas Hernandez this season.
“We are fortunate to have four major centre-backs,” he said. “Godin’s presence is very important but the form of Gimenez, Hernandez and Savic gives us security.”
Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng is confident he will be able to play in the crucial Champions League clash against Atletico Madrid tonight.
Boateng made his return from three months out with a groin injury against Borussia Monchengladbach at the weekend, playing 68 minutes of a 1-1 draw which meant Bayern had to wait a little longer to confirm themselves as Bundesliga champions for the fourth successive season.
The Germany international had been one of Bayern’s most consistent players during the first half of the campaign and his return could prove timely, with Pep Guardiola’s team looking to overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit against the Spanish side at the Allianz Arena.
“Of course, I can play,” Boateng told the club’s official website. “I will do my very best to recover as much as possible. We want to give it our all, and so do I.
“It’s clear that I am not yet back at the level I was at before the injury, but it doesn’t matter when it comes to this match.
“I was just happy to finally be back out on the pitch I am very pleased, even though I played two or three bad passes. But I need to get a feeling for the pitch again — the passes, the scenes, the turns.
“That’s all new to me after three months, but I am pleased, and will not change my game because of two or three bad passes. I want to play on Tuesday.”
For his part, Guardiola was coy last night on whether Boateng would feature. “We will talk with him and then decide,” he said.
Another player desperate to play in the semi-final second leg is Franck Ribery. The winger missed the home draw with Monchengladbach with a back problem but was free to train on Monday as he called on Guardiola to pick him as the man to unlock Atletico’s dogged defence.
He told Kicker: “I am doing a lot better. I am ready for the game against Atletico. I am really looking forward to playing against them. I have to play.”
For Guardiola, tonight could be the night that defines his spell in Germany ahead of moving to Manchester City next summer.
Win, and he is into the Champions League final; lose, and his time with Bayern might be remembered as much for three semi-final exits as it will be for their domestic dominance.
Atletico lead courtesy of Saul Niguez’s superb solo goal at the Vicente Calderon last week but Bayern have a formidable home record in the Champions League and must be confident of turning the tie around.
Since losing the 2014 semi-final to Real Madrid, Bayern have won all 11 Champions League games in Munich. Another victory would equal Manchester United’s record in the competition from 2006 to 2009.
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