Guardiola hopes Ribery will shine

28 April 2014 03:31

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola is banking on Franck Ribery to rise to the occasion and inspire his side to a second-leg fightback in their Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid.

The holders go into the home leg trailing 1-0 from the first game in Spain after Karim Benzema's goal decided the contest, despite the visitors dominating possession at the Bernabeu.

Ribery was criticised for his performance in Spain when the Germans lacked a cutting edge, but he shone in Saturday's 5-2 Bundesliga win over Werder Bremen and Guardiola is expecting him to play another starring role on Tuesday.

"Franck played like he was possessed at the weekend," Guardiola said. "He fights and fights and for this reason the people love him here at the Allianz Arena.

"He is one of the best players in the history of Bayern Munich and we need his help."

Guardiola knows there "will be a lot of quality on the field", though, with Madrid likely to have Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo both fit. And the Bayern boss is confident the Spaniards will not play for a draw, which would see them through to the final.

"I really can't imagine them playing for that result for the full 90 minutes," the Catalan said.

"They don't have the mentality just to stick men behind the ball and defend.

"They have the quality to change their system and it's better if we keep them at a safe distance from our goal. They are a top team."

Bayern have already wrapped up the Bundesliga title, are through to the final of the DFB-Pokal and are seeking to become the first side to defend the Champions League title, having won it at Wembley last May.

The Bavarian giants won the treble under Guardiola's predecessor Jupp Heynckes and the former Barcelona coach knows failing to repeat the achievement would be regarded in some quarters as a failure.

"I can understand that if we only win the league and the DFB-Pokal, that maybe would not be enough," he said.

"It's an honour, but not easy to be here, but we have a dream of flying to Lisbon (for the Champions League final)."

Bayern are only without defender Daniel van Buyten, with the Germans able to rest the likes of Arjen Robben, Philipp Lahm and Mario Gotze at the weekend ahead of their biggest match of the season.

Source: PA