Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti will make a late call on top scorer Robert Lewandowski before Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final meeting with Real Madrid.
Poland international Lewandowski took his goal tally for the season to a phenomenal 38 in 40 matches with a brace as Bayern dispatched his former employers Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.
But the 28-year-old was substituted after 72 minutes with a shoulder injury during Der Klassiker and only returned to training on Tuesday.
Although Ancelotti told a pre-match news conference at the Allianz Arena that Lewandowski came through the session well, he explained he undertook just 20 minutes of work and must be assessed again before kick-off.
“Robert Lewandowski trained today, just 20 minutes because he had a problem in the last game,” Ancelotti said.
“This morning he had a good sensation. We will check definitely tomorrow.
“If he doesn’t have pain he is going to play; if he does have pain he will not play.”
Lewandowski also gave Bayern an injury scare ahead of the Dortmund game, when he left training early with a sore hamstring and Ancelotti added: “Of course we have to control what he thinks – he had a good sensation in 20 minutes of training.
“I don’t know really tomorrow if he will be ready or not.
“We have to wait but this doesn’t change our idea of the game, our strategy and the confidence we have for this game.”
Ancelotti confirmed Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer would return having missed his side’s past three Bundesliga games due to a foot injury, although centre-back Mats Hummels (ankle) misses out.
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It means more of the pre-match intrigue will focus upon Lewandowski, with the hope being that he can pit his goalscoring wits against four-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ancelotti coached Ronaldo for two seasons in Madrid, most notably leading the club to their 10th Champions League triumph in 2014, and he paid tribute to both players’ phenomenal goal record, noting plenty of similarities.
“They are the same, they score goals. They have more or less the same statistics of one goal per game this season,” he said, although Ronaldo’s customary productivity has slipped to a still impressive 26 in 36 this term.
“The difference in the positon they play on the pitch. Ronaldo likes to play more on the left and Lewandowksi in the middle.
“But they are top, top strikers because the numbers speak for them.
“They are really professional, really serious characters – always focused on what they have to do on the pitch in training and during the match. There are no big differences.”
Another figure from Ancelotti’s recent past is Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, who served as the Italian’s assistant during his Santiago Bernabeu tenure.
“With Zidane, when you are an assistant who had such a fantastic career as a player, he could help us with his charisma and his personality,” Ancelotti added, while acknowledging a debt he owes to the younger man.
“That’s what he did during my time at Real, where he was a great assistant because he had such a good relationship with the players.
“I changed a little bit my idea of football, that the players are more important than the system.”
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