Sunday, September 23, 2018

Heynckes fired up for ´gigantic´ Real Madrid clash

SoccerNews in UEFA Champions League 13 Apr 2018

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Jupp Heynckes is anticipating a “gigantic fixture” when Bayern Munich face Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals.

The holders have been drawn against the newly crowned Bundesliga champions in a repeat of the last-four tie from five years ago, which Bayern won on penalties.

That was the season in which the German club won the treble under Heynckes and the head coach hopes the fact they have the first leg at home, just as they did in 2013, is a positive sign.

“I have to say, it’s a cracking tie. A gigantic fixture, in a very positive way,” he said. 

“I have good memories of our treble season. We played against Juventus and Barcelona at home in the first legs. I hope that’s a good omen.”

Madrid met Bayern at the quarter-final stage last term, in which Zinedine Zidane’s side claimed a 6-3 aggregate win, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring five of their goals.

Heynckes hopes the Portugal star is not quite so potent across the two legs this year.

“Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player in the world, with Lionel Messi,” he said. “He is absolutely world class. He works every day, which is commendable.

“He has often been decisive. In games like this, the team performance is important. I hope he doesn’t have his best day against us.”

Emilio Butragueno, Madrid’s director of institutional relations, is keen to earn a good first-leg result at the Allianz Arena in order to give them the best chance of reaching the final, where they would face either Liverpool or Roma.

“It’s hard to get to this stage of the competition and that’s eight years in a row we’ve done it,” he said. “The most difficult is yet to come, and the final step is always the hardest. Hopefully we can step up to the plate once again.

“Bayern are a great team and we will need to be at our best in both games.

“We need to get a good result in Munich to then take it back to the Bernabeu. At this stage of the competition it’s impossible that you don’t suffer. If we have to do so in order to get to the final, so be it. We really want to be there. It’s been a tough Champions League thus far drawing Paris, Juve and now Bayern.”

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