In the most awaited blockbuster match of this season’s UEFA Champions League, Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich and La Liga leaders Real Madrid will face each other in the first leg of the quarter-finals at the Allianz Arena. In a clash of the titans there is one thing which will be definitely on offer is a number of goals as both the teams boast of a star-studded attacking line-up.
Real will meet their former manager Carlo Ancelotti’s side after being held to a draw against Atletico Madrid on Saturday. Bayern, on the other hand, completely outplayed Dortmund 4-1 on the weekend.
However, both the teams are facing injury concerns especially in their back-four.
In the derby clash on Saturday, Pepe, who scored the opening and only goal for Real, suffered two rib fractures in the second half after colliding with teammate Toni Kroos. He is reportedly ruled out for at least a month.
His injury has come at the wrong time for manager Zinedine Zidane because it only adds to their defensive woes. Another casulaty is Raphael Varane who is already nursing a hamstring injury. This leaves Real to fall back upon the duo of captain Sergio Ramos and Nacho Fernandez to form a partnership at the centre. Despite the injuries, the quality of the game is not expected to go down as the two most powerful Spanish and German sides lock horns against each other.
However, the defending champions are not alone with injury concerns. Rival defender Mats Hummels’ ankle injury and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer’s foot injury have kept Bayern’s medical department on their toes. While Hummels will definitely miss the clash, Neuer, who sat out for two previous matches, has returned to training alongside Thomas Muller on Monday.
Meanwhile, Bayern have reached the quarter-finals of Europe’s premier knockout tournament for the sixth consecutive season and will hope to make make the most of their home advantage as they enter the match as favourites. They will also seek revenge for the 4-0 defeat that they suffered at the hands of Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals of 2014.