Madrid must 'improve' to overcome Bayern in Champions League | Football News - Hindustan Times
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Madrid must 'improve' to overcome Bayern in Champions League

AFP |
May 07, 2024 08:18 AM IST

"Bayern are very dangerous, they were at their best and we weren't -- we have time to improve for Wednesday," Ancelotti said.

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti is searching for the formula to take his team's performance up several notches to get past Bayern Munich on Wednesday and reach the Champions League final.

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti and Jude Bellingham celebrate(REUTERS)
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti and Jude Bellingham celebrate(REUTERS)

The Italian admitted after the 2-2 semi-final first leg draw last week in Bavaria that Real failed to find their consistent best despite earning a decent result, with the German giants largely on top.

"Bayern are very dangerous, they were at their best and we weren't -- we have time to improve for Wednesday," Ancelotti told reporters at the Allianz Arena, after Vinicius Junior's brace secured Madrid a draw.

Madrid come into the match on the back of sealing the La Liga title after a 3-0 win over Cadiz on Saturday, but with the Champions League second leg in the forefront of their minds, celebrations were put on ice.

Los Blancos players reported for training on Sunday morning and the players did not join fans at Plaza Cibeles, where they would usually party together after earning major titles.

Record 14-time Champions League winners Real Madrid instead had their sights firmly set on extending their European domination.

"We would like to celebrate with all the fans, but they understand because on Wednesday we have a very important challenge," said Ancelotti.

"It's contained joy -- we have the most important game of the season coming up."

Madrid captain Nacho Fernandez agreed with his coach.

"We're on the verge of reaching another final, we're going to give our all to get there -- that's why we can't celebrate too much," he said.

Madrid's target is achieving a fifth La Liga and Champions League double.

Ancelotti has won 12 trophies at Madrid and is close to catching the club's all-time leader Miguel Munoz on 14, secured between 1960 and 1972.

To reach the final at Wembley Ancelotti must find a way to restrain Bayern's wingers Leroy Sane and Jamal Musiala, who caused Madrid a constant headache in the first leg.

‘Team effort’

Dani Carvajal will return from suspension at right-back to try and shackle Musiala, while stopping former Manchester City man Sane might require Jude Bellingham and others tracking back to help Ferland Mendy.

"It was important when we began to defend with collective commitment," Ancelotti reminded his players when speaking about the side's improvement this season.

"The big effort was made by the forwards, rather than the defenders -- injuries helped us understand that it wasn't about individuals but a team effort."

Ancelotti only started Nacho against Cadiz from the line-up he deployed in Munich, so his players will be fresh and chomping at the bit to reach the final.

Madrid kept Bayern's prolific striker Harry Kane quiet for the most part but the England international netted from the spot after Vazquez clumsily felled Musiala.

The coach could also bring in Eduardo Camavinga to add energy and disrupt Bayern's build-up, stopping them pinning Madrid back as they did in Munich.

If Ancelotti's planning fails, Madrid always have the "magic" of the Santiago Bernabeu to fall back on.

Their remarkable string of home comebacks to reach the 2022 Champions League final is fresh in the memory, with players quick to highlight the stadium's legend and mystique.

"It's time to have a magical night at the Bernabeu," said Vinicius after the Bayern draw, of the kind 'Madridistas' have enjoyed so many times before.

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