Real Madrid’s Lucas Vázquez ‘Very Confident’ of Victory Over Bayern Munich Despite La Liga Woes

?Real Madrid’s Lucas Vázquez insists that his side have “no worries” about facing Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi final, despite his side’s lacklustre displays in La Liga this season.

Speaking after ?a frustrating 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao at the Bernabéu – and ?quoted on the football website Goal – the 25-year-old winger said: “Of course we are thinking about that game but we do not have a single doubt. We are not worried, we are very confident.”

Nevertheless, Vázquez stressed that his side would need to prepare thoroughly for the first leg at the Allianz Arena, which will take place on Wednesday: “We have got to work all week because we want to win over there.”

Los Blancos have had a poor season by their high standards in La Liga, currently third in the table and 15 points behind bitter rivals and expected champions Barcelona.

They also needed a late Cristiano Ronaldo goal to salvage a point at home against Bilbao on Wednesday, though Vázquez does not believe the scoreline was a fair reflection of his side’s performance.

Real Madrid v Athletic Club - La Liga

He added: ??”It’s a kind of bittersweet feeling at the end of that game because we played really well and I think we dominated the game throughout. They defended well, we had a lot of chances throughout and couldn’t find the back of the net.”

Vázquez has good reason to be optimistic that his side will perform better in the Champions League than in La Liga, as they have done so for most of the season.

However, they were somewhat fortunate to stave off a stunning Juventus comeback in the Champions League quarter final, as only a controversial last-gasp penalty at the Bernabéu spared Los Blancos the prospect of extra time.


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In fact, Vázquez was at the epicentre of the controversy, as he was deemed to have been fouled by Juve’s Medhi Benatia – a decision which enraged Juventus keeper Gianluigi Buffon so much that he was sent off for dissent.

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Jupp Heynckes Reveals Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer Could Return From Injury in Time for UCL Final

?Bayern Munich and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer could potentially return from a long-term injury in time for the UEFA Champions League final.

?According to an article on the Bundesliga website, Neuer trained with the Bayern first team on Friday, taking part in the warm-up and doing some ball drills.

The keeper – who has won the Champions League with Bayern and the World Cup with Germany – has been out of action since September last year after fracturing his metatarsal.

However, his club coach Jupp Heynckes has said he is “delighted” with his first choice keeper’s “fantastic” work to come back from what was his second metatarsal fracture in just six months.

Speaking to the media, and quoted on the Bundesliga website, Heynckes said: “We’re all hugely delighted with how it’s gone. We’ve done everything right so far and the way he’s worked is fantastic.”

Nevertheless, the Bayern coach was reluctant to commit himself to a precise fixture for Neuer’s comeback: “It’s far too early to talk about [whether he’ll play in the DFB Cup final or the UEFA Champions League final]. I know what I’m doing. I have a clear plan.”

Even if Neuer returns in time to play in the Champions League for Bayern, or in the World Cup for Germany, it is far from a given that he will walk straight back into the starting lineup for either club or country.

Sven Ulreich has deputised admirably for Neuer for Bayern this season, conceding just 34 goals in 40 matches in all competitions and helping Bayern romp to the Bundesliga title – as well as progressing to the Champions League semi-finals, where they face Real Madrid on Wednesday at the Allianz Arena.

Ulreich’s coach was full of praise for his second-choice keeper’s performances this season: “His development has been phenomenal. After Manuel Neuer, Ulreich is the second-best goalkeeper in the Bundesliga.”

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Heynckes may feel that a fully fit Ulreich would be a safer bet between the posts than a half-fit Neuer short of match practice.

Similarly, Germany can call on a range of impressive goalkeepers, not least Barcelona’s Marc-André ter Stegen.

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Bayern Munich Prepare Bid for Brazil Wonderkid Paulinho Amid Interest From German Rivals

Bayern Munich have declared their interest in signing Vasco da Gama forward Paulinho this summer in an attempt to gain the upper hand over Bayer Leverkusen, who are also scouting the 17-year-old striker.

Paulinho has been attracting interest from a number of European sides ahead of the summer transfer window, largely thanks to his performances in the recent Copa Libertadores.

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The Brazil U17 international looks set to move to the Bundesliga as soon as he turns 18 in three months time. And Portuguese outlet GloboEsporte claim that Bayern Munich will launch a bid for Paulinho, who is expected to cost less than €30m, this summer.

But the Bavarians are facing competition for his signature from elsewhere in Germany, with it being reported that representatives from Bayer Leverkusen have already met with the young forward in Brazil.

(You may also like ?Bayern Goalkeeper Praises Coach for Showing ‘Trust’ & Admits Ancelotti Didn’t Communicate)

Die Werkself also sent a doctor to visit Paulinho following an elbow injury he suffered earlier this month against Cruzeiro to confirm that there was no long-term damage.

It is unsurprisingly suggested that Paulinho will be shipped out on loan, regardless of if he moves to Munich or Leverkusen, in order for the 17-year-old to get game to under his belt and to continue his development.

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Paulinho is said to have a €30m release clause in his contract with Vasco da Gama. But the Brazilian outfit are reportedly willing to part ways with their young prodigy for a cut price this summer.

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Picking the Best Potential Bayern Munich Lineup to Face Hannover on Saturday

?Hannover 96 host Bayern Munich on Saturday, and a win will all but guarantee them Bundesliga survival. Hannover currently sit six points clear of the relegation play off places. 

Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes will have their midweek tie against Real Madrid in the semi final of the UEFA Champions League in mind when selecting his starting XI for this weekend fixture. 

A heavily rotated squad will feature against Hannover, so this is the side Heynckes should select to keep his star-men fresh for the Champions League. 

Torhüter

  • Ulreich

    Ulreich26

?Sven Ulreich has been Bayern’s number one for the majority of the season after Neuer picked up an injury at the start of the campaign. 

After a shaky first few weeks of the season Ulreich has since adapted to the starting berth extremely well. 

Verteidigung

  • Kimmich

    Kimmich32

  • Boateng

    Boateng17

  • Süle

    Süle4

  • Rafinha

    Rafinha13

Süle and Rafihna should come into the starting line up for the weekends fixture to give Mats Hummels and David Alaba a rest. 

The two replacements will be hoping to prove their worth to the Bayern Munich squad before the season ends after Bayern confirmed last week that Niko Kovac will take over as manager next season.

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This game gives Rudy, James and Tolisso a chance to make their mark on the team ahead of the Real Madrid tie. ?

Jupp Heynckes will be looking to replace Arturo Vidal in Bayern’s starting XI against Madrid on Wednesday after he suffered an injury this week ruling him out of the rest of the season. This game gives the Bayern coach the perfect chance to assess his options ahead of the midweek tie. 

Sturm

  • Wagner

    Wagner2

Sandro Wagner has been impressive since joining from Hoffenheim in January, scoring seven in just ten games for the club. 

He should start against Hannover 96 on Saturday to keep Robert Lewandowski rested, but the German striker definitely deserves another start after netting a brace against Borussia Mönchengladbach last time out. 

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Hannover 96 vs Bayern Munich Preview: Previous Encounter, Key Battle, Team News, Prediction & More

Hannover 96 welcome Bayern Munich to the Niedersachsenstadion this weekend. Hannover will be hoping that the visitors are complacent after having already wrapped up the league title in a 4-1 win against Augsburg on the 7th April. 

A win in this game means very little for both sides. An unlikely victory for Hannover will see them consolidate a position in mid-table, while Bayern will be looking to gain momentum for their  Champions League tie on Wednesday with Read Madrid. 

FC Augsburg v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga


Previous Encounter

Last time these two sides faced each other Bayern emerged 3-1 victors. 

Arturo Vidal headed Bayern Munich into the lead before Robert Lewandowski had a goal ruled out for offside. 

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Hannover’s Niclas Fuellkrug had the chance to put the away team level, but Sven Ulreich, in goal for Bayern, saved his penalty. 

Hannover did equalise through Charlison Benschop but just moments later Kingsley Coman put Bayern ahead again with a powerful effort from a tight angle. Lewandowski sealed Bayern’s victory by scoring a penalty late in the second half. 


Key Battle

Salid Sané vs Sandro Wagner

FC Bayern Muenchen v Borussia Moenchengladbach - Bundesliga

Jupp Heynckes is expected to rotate his squad heavily for this weekend’s fixture in preparation for the Champions League semi final. As a result Sandro Wagner is expected start ahead of Robert Lewandowski.

Since joining Bayern in January Wagner has scored seven in just ten appearances, and has benefitted from playing with better quality players than he did at Hoffenheim. 

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The striker will face a tough battle on Saturday though. Salid Sané has had a strong season at Hannover and his aerial prowess will come in useful up against Wagner whose talents are in the air. 


Team News

Niklas Süle and Rafinha are expected to come into the Bayern starting XI to give Mats Hummels and David Alaba a break with the game against Madrid in mind.

Heynckes is likely to drastically change is midfield as well. Tolisso and Sebastian Rudy will be desperate to prove themselves ahead of the midweek Champions League fixture, with the injured Arturo Vidal’s place in the team up for grabs.

Oliver Sorg has recently returned to training for Hannover after recovering from a back injury and will return to the back-three. Felix Klaus will miss out, however, having to serve a one-match ban, so Martin Harnik should start on the right wing. 

VfB Stuttgart v Hannover 96 - Bundesliga

Possible Hannover 96 Starting XI: Tschauner; Elez; Sané; Sorg; Albornoz; Bakalorz; Sch-wegler; Korb; Bebou; Fullkrüg; Harnik

Possible Bayern Munich Starting XI: Ulreich; Kimmich; Boateng; Süle; Rafihna; Müller; Rudy; Rodriguez; Tolisso Bernat; Wagner 


Prediction

Heynckes will not allow complacency on Saturday, and will hope to go into Wednesday’s tie with Real Madrid on the back of a good result. 

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Hannover are a good defensive outfit but Bayern simply will have too much for them at the weekend, despite a much-changed team. 

Prediction: Hannover 96 0-4 Bayern Munich 

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