Berlin (AFP) – Arjen Robben says Bayern Munich can ill afford to show Real Madrid any fear if they want to avoid a second-straight Champions League exit against the Spaniards.
Bayern host Real at Munich’s Allianz Arena in Wednesday’s blockbuster semi-final, first leg, in a repeat of last year’s quarter-final.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in each leg of the 2017 quarters, after Bayern had failed to capitalise on their chances at home, as Real won 6-3 on aggregate.
“Last year we did not do well in the home game and played with a bit of fear,” said Robben.
“That should not happen on Wednesday.
“We’ll be ready. They can also be vulnerable and we can go into the game with our heads high.”
A year ago, Bayern lost the first-leg 2-1 in Munich, then went down 4-2 away.
In Munich, Arturo Vidal scored early for Bayern, but then failed to convert a penalty with the Germans controlling the game and Real on the ropes.
However the match turned as Ronaldo netted two second-half goals and Bayern had Javi Martinez sent off for a second booking.
Bayern went down fighting in the return, losing 4-2 away having played extra time with a man down after Vidal was sent off late on and Ronaldo wrapped up his hat-trick.
The Germans face a daunting task again.
Madrid have won their last five matches against Bayern, scoring 13 goals and conceding four in the process, and are bidding to win the Champions League for the third straight season.
It is easy to understand any nervousness in Bayern’s ranks facing superstar Ronaldo.
Real’s goal-machine has hit seven goals in his last three appearances against Bayern.
The Portugal superstar has scored 15 goals in the Champions League this season alone.
Real had no match this weekend, but Bundesliga champions Bayern warmed up with a 3-0 win at Hanover.
Thomas Mueller and Robert Lewandowski both came off the bench to score second-half goals.
Bayern fancy their chances against Real.
Lewandowski, their top-scorer who was injured for last season’s first leg against Real, has hit 39 goals, compared to Ronaldo’s 42, in all competitions in 2017/18.
Bayern have scored 14 times in their last three games — with Lewandowski and Mueller claiming four goals each.
“The chances (against Real Madrid) look good,” said Mueller.
“We’ve hit a purple patch and the game is coming at the right time.
“I’m sure we won’t be gifted anything, but there’s something in the air right now.”
Jupp Heynckes, who led Bayern to their 2013 treble, wants a place in the Champions League final on May 26 in Kiev before stepping down as head coach.
Just as he did in 2013, the 72-year-old could bow out with the treble.
Bayern have already secured a sixth straight Bundesliga title and are into the German Cup final on May 19.
“We have the big goal of moving into the final,” said Heynckes who will be replaced by Eintracht Frankfurt’s Niko Kovac next season.