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Feuding giants meet again

sports Updated: Apr 17, 2012 02:16 IST
AFP
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Germany star Bastian Schweinsteiger has insisted Bayern Munich must make home advantage count against Real Madrid in Tuesday's Champions League semi-final first-leg.

"It's all or nothing on Tuesday," said the Germany star, 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."

Form favours Real
Real warmed up for Munich with a 3-1 win over Spanish league strugglers 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. How they stack up: Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid

In contrast, Bayern were 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 their full strength side at the Bernabeu, even with Sporting second from bottom of the Spanish league.

"This game was important for us and then on Tuesday we will put out the team that we think is right to get a good result," said Real's assistant coach Aitor Karanka.

"Now all the games are important and before we play Barcelona (in El Clasico next Saturday) we have Munich and that is all we are thinking about."

Tough test
Madrid will certainly provide Munich with their toughest test of the season so far, but Bayern have already beaten Premier League giants Manchester City 2-0 at home in the group stages.

And they set a new record with their 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 semi-finals with Bayern prevailing three times (in 1976, 1987 and 2001) to Madrid's single success in 2000.