First knockout round, first leg – Kick-off: 20:45 (CET)
With his team on a 12-game winning run, Bayern Munich coach Louis van Gaal struck a positive note ahead of the UEFA Champions League first knockout round first leg visit of Fiornetina.
“My team is at peak fitness,” said the Dutch coach. “We had a very good training camp in Dubai. Fiorentina are a good team, I saw them against Roma. Their only problem is that they are not scoring goals at the moment. But these things can change in one game – we showed that against Juventus. As I say, Fiorentina are strong opponents. They did a great job during the group stage. I’d be satisfied with a 1-0 win.
“Mutu won’t play, but Fiorentina are not just Adrian Mutu; as Bayern are not just Ribéry and Robben. Fiorentina are strong as a team. But we will play our own game, trying to dictate things.
“This is not the group stage with six games. Now we have just two games – every single detail, every single mistake could be decisive. My team knows Fiorentina. We studied a lot of videos, but we are talking about the Champions League last 16: every team have their special qualities, every team is strong at this level.”
Bayern’s opponents, by contrast, have endured a dip in form and lost two players to injury over the weekend. Yet coach Cesare Prandelli hopes this match could be a turning point for his team.
“We have good memories of Munich although we lost [3-0] to Bayern the last time we were here,” he said. “We are proud to be here again and will play with real determination. It’s not the right time to focus on our poor recent results in Serie A. I’ve received a lot of positive signals from the players, and, who knows, perhaps the game against Bayern will be the turning point?
“We will try to take advantage of our experience against Bayern, but it’s more important to play with will and enthusiasm, caution and lots of discipline. If we can get a good result, we will have a chance at home. I want my team to be angry about our recent results.
“For our supporters this game is very important and I hope we will not disappoint them. Of course, key players are missing but we have a lot of potential as a team.”
Prandelli will be without the injured trio of Cristiano Zanetti, Alessandro Gamberini and Mario Santana, while Adrian Mutu is suspended after failing a drugs test.