Injury-hit Bayern still world-beaters – Lopetegui

The Porto coach wants his players to use “ambition and imagination” to cause a Champions League quarter-final shock

Julen Lopetegui does not think Porto will benefit from Bayern Munich’s lengthy injury list in Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first-leg clash at the Dragao.

German champions Bayern are favourites to progress at Porto’s expense having once again dominated domestically this season, as well as impressing in Europe.

However, the Bundesliga champions were only able to put three outfield players on the bench in Saturday’s win over Eintracht Frankfurt, with the likes of Arjen Robben, David Alaba, Franck Ribery and Bastian Schweinsteiger all currently sidelined with injuries.

Lopetegui believes Pep Guardiola still has an incredible amount of talent available to him but is hopeful his team – who are unbeaten in Europe this season – can cause an upset.

“Ambition and imagination are two words we have in mind,” he told reporters. “I’d like to remind everyone that we didn’t win a ticket to this competition – we had to earn it through the play-offs.

“We are here, proud and happy to be playing among the best teams in Europe at this stage of the Champions League.

“We want to be the best performers tomorrow while maintaining respect for our opponents. We are talking about one of the best Bayern sides in the club’s history.

“Bayern have injuries but will still have seven or eight world champions on the pitch. We don’t care about the players they don’t have. We have to focus on the ones that will play.”

Guardiola has paid tribute to the style of football employed by Lopetegui and the 48-year-old returned to the compliment to his former Barcelona team-mate. 

“I feel the same way Guardiola does about facing me,” he added. “There is a lot of respect between us.

“Bayern want possession and usually they get it. We have to take good care of the ball, use it perfectly. We have to be great in attack and defence.”

Lopetegui has been boosted by the return of top scorer Jackson Martinez, who has been named in Porto’s 20-man squad for Wednesday’s first leg.