Dieter Hecking thinks Real Madrid are still favourites to progress to the Champions League semi-finals but feels Wolfsburg deserve respect for their first-leg heroics.
Hecking’s men take a 2-0 aggregate lead into Tuesday’s return match of the quarter-final tie after Ricardo Rodriguez’s penalty and a Max Arnold strike sunk Madrid at the Volkswagen Arena last week.
The victory was Wolfsburg’s fifth in succession in the competition, a streak that includes triumphs over CSKA Moscow, Manchester United and Gent and is somewhat at odds with their form in the Bundesliga, where they are without win since March 5.
“Everyone knows that we are not playing perfectly in our league, but that’s compensated by the Champions League,” coach Hecking told a pre-match news conference.
“We are playing well and we already had one magnificent day, now we need another one. We know our league form is not that well, but we hope to move forward in the Champions League.
“Are Madrid favourites? I think so. Why should we change our opinion? If we compare the history of both teams, we know who is favourite. We played well in one match, now we have to do it again. Our task is for the favourite to fail.”
A packed Santiago Bernabeu will roar Madrid on in the hope of a victory that could come to define Zinedine Zidane’s tenure as coach, although Hecking and his fully fit squad are not fazed by the prospect.
“We have the same attitude as against Manchester or Moscow,” he explained. “We will see tomorrow, we are used to it now in the Champions League and I think we are going to do pretty well.
“Real Madrid will try very hard. We know what Real Madrid is, we know what the Bernabeu is. It is intimidating. We have a lot of respect, but we also deserve respect after our performance in the first leg.
“We are just going to play football. If there are 80,000 supporters, it doesn’t really bother me. We came here to play football and that’s it.
“We need to be brave, we are really happy with the task we have ahead. We laughed a lot at lunch, we are not stressed, but really happy. We are calm, and we want to make history.”
Hecking added: “I hope Real Madrid will play well. The first leg they maybe they were a bit surprised, but I don’t think we will surprise them tomorrow. They will try to score. If we score though, it will be very difficult for them.
“Maybe Zidane will be able to surprise me. I’m sure he thought hard about it after the first leg.”