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Bayern Munich will welcome eleven-time winners Real Madrid to the Allianz Arena for the first leg of their quarterfinal tie in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night.
The Die Roten qualified to the final eight after they brutally thrashed Premier League side Arsenal 10-2 over the two legs in the last-16 stage and have been in top form this season under the management of Carlo Ancelotti. They will come into the game on a high having thrashed fierce rivals Borussia Dortmund 4-1 in the Der Klassiker in the Bundesliga over the weekend. Ancelotti will be hoping that his team put on a similar display against his previous employers.
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer hasn’t played in the last three Bundesliga games for Bayern due to a foot injury but is expected to return to the fold for the clash against Madrid. The same applies to Thomas Muller, who missed the previous two games due to an ankle problem. Ancelotti expects the duo to be ready for Madrid. Robert Lewandowski picked up a shoulder injury over the weekend, but it doesn’t seem something serious and he should be available for the continental clash. Mats Hummels suffered an injury in training after the Dortmund clash and may not feature.
Here is how Bayern Munich could line up against Real Madrid:
The German shot-stopper did not feature in the last three encounters for Bayern, but he is expected to be ready for the game and if that is the case, he will definitely start between the sticks.
The captain will start the game on the right-side of the defence for the German side. He will have a tough task of dealing with Cristiano Ronaldo and the marauding left-back Marcelo.
The Spanish international isn’t always in the limelight but is an extremely solid and reliable player for Bayern. He will start in the centre of the backline in the absence of Mats Hummels.
Partnering Martinez in the heart of the defence will be Jerome Boateng. The German international has made his return from injury not very long ago, but he will keep his place in the playing XI.
The Austrian left-back is one of the best in the business in his position. His attacking runs with pace will be key for Bayern against the Spanish outfit.
In the heart of the park, it will be Xabi Alonso who will go up against his former team. The veteran midfielder will look to provide a solid base for his team to build upon going forward.
Alongside Alonso, it will be former Juventus midfielder, Arturo Vidal. The Chilean, with his endless supply of energy, will provide the thrust for Bayern while going forward.
The 33-year old scored in both the legs against Arsenal and also found the back of the net against Dortmund over the weekend. With Marcelo’s attacking mentality being a well known one, the Dutchman would be afforded plenty of spaces to run into and he could wreak havoc against Real Madrid.
The Spaniard will play in the hole behind the striker and look to make things tick for Bayern with his silky touches and exceptional vision.
On the left-hand side of the attack, Franck Ribery will keep his place in the starting XI. The veteran winger scored one and assisted one against Dortmund and with Douglas Costa just returning from injury, Ribery would start the game.
One of the best marksmen in the game right now, the Polish international did pick up an injury over the weekend but is expected to be fit for Wednesday. The biggest threat to the Madrid defence.