Bayern concedes title race, focuses on Real
BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger (L) says the team will now solely focus on the Real Madrid game. AFP photoBayern Munich’s Bastian Schweinsteiger has said the focus is now on Real Madrid in tomorrow’s Champions League semifinal as the Bavarians have thrown in the towel on the Bundesliga title race.
“Now we have to concentrate on Tuesday,” said the Germany star, who is working his way back to fitness after damaging ankle ligaments.
“It’s all or nothing on Tuesday.
“We have to go to the limits and beyond, but we can do it with our fans behind us.
“It won’t be easy, and it comes down to mental strength. I hope we show that mentality which is a Bayern trademark.”
Bayern’s goalless draw at home to Mainz on Saturday left the team eight points behind defending champion Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga with three matches left.
“Regardless of the result (against Mainz), the championship has been decided,” said Bayern’s director of sport Christian Nerlinger, whose team face Dortmund in the German Cup final in Berlin on May 12.
“Our focus now is on the Champions League and the German Cup.” Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes said Dortmund had deserved to win their league title as Saturday’s 2-1 win at Schalke was their 25th Bundesliga match without defeat.
“They are almost there,” he told yesterday’s edition of German daily Bild. “You have to say, they have deserved to be German champions, because they have played consistently this season and ultimately they have always focused on the next match. The team has played very well.” With Munich’s Allianz Arena hosting this year’s final on May 19, Bayern are bidding to become the first team to lift the Champions League title in their own stadium.
Inter Milan was the last team to lift the European Cup, under the tournaments previous guise, on its own ground when it beat Benfica 1-0 in the 1965 final at the San Siro.
Spanish league leader Real warmed up for the trip to Munich with a 3-1 win at home to Sporting Gijon, second from bottom in La Liga, which saw Cristiano Ronaldo score his 41st goal of the season.