Toni Kroos expects Bayern Munich to come out and attack Real Madrid in Wednesday’s mouth-watering Champions League quarter-final clash at the Allianz Arena.
Former Bayern favourite Kroos is in his third season with Madrid, having left the Bundesliga giants at the end of the 2013-14 season.
That campaign culminated in glory for Madrid, who claimed their 10th European title under current Bayern boss Carlo Ancelotti thanks to an extra-time victory over rivals Atletico Madrid in Lisbon.
In the semi-finals, Kroos played 180 minutes as Bayern were humbled 5-0 on aggregate by a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Madrid, with Pep Guardiola’s decision to go for all-out attack backfiring spectacularly during the first half of a 4-0 second-leg defeat in Munich.
The 27-year-old midfielder told a pre-match news conference that, although Bayern are a different team with Ancelotti at the helm, he does not think the side that put two goals past Borussia Dortmund in the opening 10 minutes of Saturday’s 4-1 Klassiker win will be able to resist another high-octane start.
“It’s easy to predict what Bayern want to do,” he said. “I think they’re going to attack us from the start and try to press us high up the pitch.
“Not for 90 minutes like they did under Guardiola, they will step back a bit, but here at home they are going to pressure us a lot and have a lot of possession, of course.”
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) April 11, 2017
Bayern’s top scorer Robert Lewandowski faces a late fitness test to see whether he has overcome a shoulder injury sustained against Dortmund.
At his earlier news conference, Ancelotti jokingly wished for Madrid forwards Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale to be stationed on the bench, in the stands and at home respectively.
Kroos was in a more charitable mood towards Lewandowski.
“I always say that in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, Bayern and against Real Madrid, I’d prefer that both teams are at full strength,” he said.
“We’ve got some injured players well right now and hopefully Bayern can play with their strongest team
“I like challenges. We’re Real Madrid and we have to take the game to Bayern.”
Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, Ancelotti’s assistant at Madrid three years ago, believes Kroos has a vital role to play on his return to his homeland.
“We know the importance that Toni has for us,” he said. “He’s a very intelligent player but not just with the ball. Tactically he’s very good as well.
“He always knows where to position himself on the pitch and gives instructions to his team-mates as well.
“He knows how to manage the ball and manage possession very well.”
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