Schweinsteiger and Ribery to miss Porto clash

The Bundesliga champions must cope without two of their key men for the European meeting at the Estadio do Dragao

Bayern Munich duo Bastian Schweinsteiger and Franck Ribery have been ruled out of Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Porto.

With a number of first-team players already missing the trip to Portugal, including Arjen Robben, David Alaba and Javi Martinez, Bayern boss Pep Guardiola had been hoping for some good news ahead of the quarter-final first leg.

But he will have to do without midfielder Schweinsteiger and winger Ribery with the former suffering from a virus and the latter still struggling with an ankle problem.

Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer told a press conference: “Bastian and Franck can’t play, that’s too bad.

“But we have complete faith in the players that we have available. Everyone knows the situation and the team have a real hunger.”

Defender Jerome Boateng does return, however, and striker Claudio Pizarro will also travel later today. Xabi Alonso is available following a one-match suspension.

Bayern warmed up for their return to Champions League action with a 3-0 defeat of Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, a result which maintained their 10-point advantage over Wolfsburg at the top of the Bundesliga.

Kroos, Torres & the Champions League stars one booking from a suspension

Europe’s elite club competition returns this week with four tasty quarter-final ties – but which players are in danger of missing the second leg?

The latter stages of the Champions League often sees high-profile players absent through suspension, making a huge difference to their teams’ chances of success.

Going into the first leg of this week’s mouth-watering quarter-final ties, there are a number of stars who are one yellow card away from being ruled out of the return games.

Atletico Madrid have five players – Cristian Ansaldi, Jesus Gamez, Gabi, Mario Suarez and Fernando Torres – with that status.

Their opponents, city rivals Real Madrid, have Fabio Coentrao, Marcelo and Toni Kroos on the brink.

Juventus have Stefan Lichtsteiner, Arturo Vidal, Alvaro Morata and Roberto Pereyra one act away from missing the second leg of their tie with Monaco. Paul Pogba would also have been one of the players needing to watch out if he had not been struck down with injury.

Leonardo Jardim’s men have three key players sitting one card away from a ban – Joao Moutinho, Layvin Kurzawa and Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco.

Porto have key figures Alex Sandro, Danilo, Maicon and Oliver Torres all one booking away from a suspension.

Bayern, on the other hand, only have one player walking the tightrope – defender Jerome Boateng.

PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi and defender Gregory van der Wiel will need to ensure they are not drawn into a foul in their home game against Barcelona.

Luis Enrique’s side, meanwhile, are the only team without any players in jeopardy of missing the second leg by picking up another booking.

Ibrahimovic, Pogba & the missing Champions League stars

The tournament returns with four quarter-final ties this week and there are a number of high-profile players who are injured or suspended

Paris Saint-Germain are the side struggling most with key injuries and suspensions going into the Champions League quarter-finals.

PSG face Barcelona without in-form striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is ruled out through suspension after his red card against Chelsea, with coach Laurent Blanc hoping Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi can limit the impact of his absence.

Marco Verratti is also suspended, while fellow midfielder Thiago Motta (thigh) is missing. David Luiz is another important injured player Blanc will have to do without, while full-back Serge Aurier is suspended.

Luis Enrique’s side, meanwhile, have Dani Alves suspended and Jordi Alba (groin) rated as doubtful. Thomas Vermaelen is still out.

Juventus will be without key midfielder Paul Pogba due to his hamstring injury, while Andrea Pirlo (calf) will be the subject of a late fitness check having not played since the first leg of his side’s last-16 tie against Borussia Dortmund.

Opponents Monaco were dealt a double blow over the weekend. Leonardo Jardim’s side now look set to be without influential midfielder Jeremy Toulalan, while veteran defender Ricardo Carvalho is also a doubt. Long-term absentees Lacina Traore and Tiemoue Bakayoko are still absent.

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Atletico Madrid were boosted when Mario Mandzukic was passed fit to play against rivals Real Madrid. Raul Garcia is now their main doubt with an arm injury.

Real Madrid have no major concerns having welcomed back Pepe, Sergio Ramos and James Rodriguez in recent matches. Gareth Bale missed the 3-0 win over Eibar on Saturday but has since returned to training and should be fit.

Bayern Munich will face Porto without a trio of key stars – David Alaba (knee), Javi Martinez (knee) and Arjen Robben (hip). Franck Ribery and Bastian Schweinsteiger (both ankle) are both doubts.

Porto are hoping Jackson Martinez and Cristian Tello will be fit enough to play, but they will have to be checked ahead of kick-off. Ivan Marcano is suspended.

Guardiola proud of injury-ravaged Bayern Munich

The Spanish coach was thrilled with the 3-0 win on Saturday and hopes to escape any further fitness problems before the Champions League clash with Porto

Pep Guardiola has revealed his pride at his injury-ravaged Bayern Munich side’s performance in Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt.

Eight regulars, including Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Bastian Schweinsteiger, David Alaba, Medhi Benatia and Javi Martinez, were all missing as the reigning German champions took another step towards retaining their Bundesliga crown.

Robert Lewandoswski struck twice before Thomas Muller rounded off a 3-0 victory at the Allianz Arena to secure Bayern’s 22nd victory in 28 league outings this season.

“I’m very, very proud,” said Guardiola.

“Three days after the match against Leverkusen [in the DFB-Pokal] we play against the third-best offensive team in the Bundesliga.

“We dominated. We enjoyed the game and played very well.”

On Wednesday, Bayern take their depleted squad to Portugal for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash with Porto, and Guardiola is hoping to avoid any further injury problems as his side close in on a possible treble.

“We now need three wins to successfully defend our title,” he said.

“And now we need to recuperate and focus on a very special competition. I hope that we can compete in Porto with these players and that nobody else gets hurt.”

Benatia suffered a muscle injury in Bayern’s penalty-shootout victory over Leverkusen on Wednesday and expects to miss both matches against Porto.

There was some good news for Guardiola this week, however, as Franck Ribery returned to training after missing a month with an ankle injury while Thiago Alcantara was back in action last week after almost a year out with a knee injury.

Bayern meet Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal semi-final on April 28 and sit 10 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga table with eight matches remaining.