Out-of-form Bayern take on in-form Real
23 February 2004
HAMBURG – Real Madrid travel to Bayern Munich for Tuesday’s first leg match of the round of the last 16 in the Champions League hoping to avoid defeat for the first time in Munich against the reigning German champions.
All seven previous matches in Germany between the two clubs that have, between them, won the showpiece of European club football 13 times, have seen Bayern emerge victorious.
There is much to suggest that Real could end their run of defeats this time around. Whereas Bayern have struggled since the winter break and are seven points behind surprise Bundesliga leaders Werder Bremen, the “galacticos” are in wonderful form and have just opened a five point cushion at the top of La Liga.
Not surprisingly, Bayern count themselves as underdogs. “The game against Real Madrid bears a huge risk, but a huge chance as well,” said manager Uli Hoeness.
After Saturday’s disappointing 1-0 victory against SV Hamburg chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge rates Munich’s chances “at less than 10 per cent” if they play in a similar way Tuesday.
The good news is that goalkeeper Oliver Kahn has overcome his back problems and is ready to take over from 19-year old Michael Rensing, who played against Hamburg.
But Michael Ballack is doubtful as he is not at full health following a bout of bronchitis. Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld will decide on Tuesday whether to field the influential playmaker.
Subject: German news