FOOTBALL / History favours the German club in head-to-head clashes
Bastian Schweinsteiger has insisted Bayern Munich must make home advantage count against Real Madrid in Tuesday's Champions League semifinal first-leg.
“It's all or nothing on Tuesday,” he said, with Munich's Allianz Arena set to also host this year's Champions League final on May 19.
“We have to go to the limits and beyond, but we can do it with our fans behind us. It won't be easy, and it comes down to mental strength. I hope we show that mentality which is a Bayern trademark.”
Real warmed up for Munich with a 3-1 win over Sporting Gijon on Saturday with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring his 41st league goal of the season, a record achievement currently matched only by Barcelona's Lionel Messi.
In contrast, Bayern was held to a goalless draw in Munich by mid-table Mainz which effectively handed the German league title to Borussia Dortmund with Bayern eight points behind with three games left.
Coach Jupp Heynckes, who took Real Madrid to the 1998 European title, paid the price for resting his stars with captain Philipp Lahm, midfielder Thomas Mueller, wing Franck Ribery and striker Mario Gomez all starting on the bench.
Real fielded virtually its full strength at the Bernabeu, even with Sporting second from bottom of the Spanish League.
Real will certainly provide Bayern with its toughest test of the season so far, but the German club has already beaten Premier League giant Manchester City 2-0 at home in the group stages. And it set a new record with a 7-0 hammering of Basel in the Round of 16 at the Allianz Arena.
History favours the Germans as the clubs have met in four previous European Cup semifinals with Bayern prevailing three times (in 1976, 1987 and 2001) to Real's single success in 2000.
Goalkeeper Iker Casillas is the only survivor of the most recent clashes.
Bayern has an impeccable home record in this European campaign and boasts an overall unbeaten record at home against Madrid with eight wins and one draw over the years.
Bayern holds the upper hand with 10 wins to Real's six from the club's 18 past matches.
The most recent meeting came in the 2006-07 round of 16 when Bayern prevailed on away goals, losing 3-2 in Spain, but winning the return leg 2-1 in Munich. — AFP