Monday, January 23, 2017

We will respect Benfica, insists Alonso

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 18 Mar 2016

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Midfielder Xabi Alonso has warned his Bayern Munich team-mates against complacency after they were drawn to face Benfica in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Pep Guardiola’s side had to battle back from 2-0 down to defeat Juventus 4-2 after extra time in the second leg of their last-16 tie on Wednesday, with that result securing a 6-4 triumph on aggregate.

They will next face Benfica, the current league leaders in Portugal who defeated Zenit home and away to make it through to the last eight of the competition for the first time since the 2011/12 season.

The Bundesliga club lost 3-1 to Porto in the first leg at the same stage of last season’s Champions League, only to emphatically overturn the deficit with a 6-1 victory in Bavaria.

“We have learned from the experience of last year against Porto – at this stage everyone is difficult,” the Spaniard said.

“Of course there are bigger names, but we have to focus on our tie; you can’t take anything for granted.

“We came through a tough tie against Juventus and need to keep going. We have to respect Benfica, but we have plenty of time to analyse them.”

Franck Ribery was pleased Bayern avoided some of the bigger names in Friday’s draw, although he appreciates the away leg in Portugal will not be easy.

“I think it’s a good draw for us but Benfica have a great team and some fine players. Their stadium is superb and they have fantastic supporters,” he said.

Defender David Alaba feels Benfica will be “dangerous” opponents as the two clubs prepare to meet in Europe for the first time since 1995.

“Benfica won both their round of 16 matches against Zenit and deserved to get through,” he said.

“They’re dangerous. We want to go as far as possible, so we have to set ourselves the target of beating every opponent. We’re aiming for success.”

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