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Ribery fit to face Atletico in Champions League semi-final

Franck Ribery will be available for Bayern Munich’s Champions League semi-final against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.

Former France international Ribery came on during the second-half of last week’s 1-0 first-leg defeat at the Vicente Calderon and suffered a back injury.

He sat out Saturday’s 1-1 Bundesliga draw at home to Borussia Monchengladbach but Pep Guardiola confirmed the winger is set to feature as Bayern aim to avoid a third successive semi-final exit under his stewardship.

“Ribery is fit and he is one more option for us. This is good, because he is a great player,” said Guardiola, ahead of potentially his last Champions League match as Bayern boss, before departing to Manchester City for next season.

“It’s the third semi-final in a row for us, It’s a real honour. We need our best performance to reach the final.

“We must not think about how many goals we have to score, first we need to defend well and control the game. 

“It will be my last Champions League game in Munich. I have always been treated wonderfully, it’s a wonderful city and country.

“Personally, I have learned a lot which will help me during my career.

“We have achieved a lot during the last [three] years. It really is very difficult to make it to the final in this competition.”

Guardiola anticipates a tough outing against Diego Simeone’s tirelessly committed Atletico but believes his men have the qualities to overturn the deficit – highlighting the potential importance of defenders David Alaba and Joshua Kimmich, along with the midfield tenacity provided by Arturo Vidal.

“It’s difficult to play against Atletico,” said the former Barcelona coach. “They stay very tight. But we will do all we can to fight our way through that.

“We will try to attack with the whole team and not give away any counterattacks.

“This time we have players fit and we’re well prepared for this game. We’ve had Alaba and Kimmich in defence and conceded very few.

“We’ve shown what we can do. If my team plays with Vidal’s aggression like last week, then we have to win. Vidal’s body language is unbelievable, he has a lot of influence on the team.”

Guardiola added that he will assess Jerome Boateng’s fitness after the defender returned from more than three months on the sidelines to complete 68 minutes against Monchengladbach.

Mon 2 May, 2016
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