Bayern must be fearless against Real: Robben

Bayern must be fearless against Real: Robben

BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
Bayern must be fearless against Real: Robben

Arjen Robben says Bayern Munich can ill afford to show Real Madrid any fear if it wants to avoid a second-straight Champions League exit against the Spaniards.

Bayern hosts Real at Munich’s Allianz Arena in April 25’s blockbuster semifinal, first leg, in a repeat of last year’s quarterfinal.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in each leg of the 2017 quarters, after Bayern had failed to capitalize on its chances at home, as Real won 6-3 on aggregate.

“Last year we did not do well in the home game and played with a bit of fear,” said Robben.

“That should not happen on Wednesday.

“We’ll be ready. They can also be vulnerable and we can go into the game with our heads high.”

A year ago, Bayern lost the first-leg 2-1 in Munich, then went down 4-2 away.

In Munich, Arturo Vidal scored early for Bayern, but then failed to convert a penalty with the Germans controlling the game and Real on the ropes.

However the match turned as Ronaldo netted two second-half goals and Bayern had Javi Martinez sent off for a second booking.

Bayern went down fighting in the return, losing 4-2 away having played extra time with a man down after Vidal was sent off late on and Ronaldo wrapped up his hat-trick.

The Germans face a daunting task again.

Madrid has won its last five matches against Bayern, scoring 13 goals and conceding four in the process, and is bidding to win the Champions League for the third straight season.

It is easy to understand any nervousness in Bayern’s ranks facing superstar Ronaldo.

Real’s goal-machine has hit seven goals in his last three appearances against Bayern.

The Portugal superstar has scored 15 goals in the Champions League this season alone.

Real had no match this weekend, but Bundesliga champion Bayern warmed up with a 3-0 win at Hanover.

Thomas Müller and Robert Lewandowski both came off the bench to score second-half goals.

Bayern fancies its chances against Real.

Lewandowski, the team’s top-scorer who was injured for last season’s first leg against Real, has hit 39 goals, compared to Ronaldo’s 42, in all competitions in 2017/18.

Bayern has scored 14 times in its last three games -- with Lewandowski and Müller claiming four goals each.

“The chances against Real Madrid] look good,” said Müller.

“We’ve hit a purple patch and the game is coming at the right time.

“I’m sure we won’t be gifted anything, but there’s something in the air right now.”

Jupp Heynckes, who led Bayern to its 2013 treble, wants a place in the Champions League final on May 26 in Kiev before stepping down as head coach.

Just as he did in 2013, the 72-year-old could bow out with the treble.

Bayern has already secured a sixth straight Bundesliga title and is into the German Cup final on May 19.

“We have the big goal of moving into the final,” said Heynckes who will be replaced by Eintracht Frankfurt’s Niko Kovac next season.