First knockout round, second leg (First leg: Sporting 0-5 Bayern Munich)
It would take a record comeback for Sporting to deny Bayern Munich a place in the Champions League quarter-finals, but Jurgen Klinsmann insists his players “have a duty to perform” in Tuesday’s first knockout round second leg.
Bayern’s 5-0 first-leg triumph in Portugal has given the return game the air of a foregone conclusion. However, Klinsman insisted that he wanted to retain his side’s unbeaten record in the competition this season.
“We want to continue our run in Europe,” said Klinsmann, aware that Bayern lost 2-1 at home to Anderlecht in last term’s UEFA Cup after a 5-0 victory in Brussels. “We can’t allow that to happen again. We have made a statement, and don’t want to undo all of the good work. I expect my team to take this game very seriously.”
Klinsmann can count on captain Mark van Bommel, suspended for Saturday’s 5-1 Bundesliga win over Hannover, to add bite in midfield, and also hinted that second-choice goalkeeper Hans Jorg Butt could make his first competitive appearance for the club. Franck Ribéry (bruised shin) is sidelined, leaving Zé Roberto to occupy the left flank and Bastian Schweinsteiger is to switch to the right after Hamit Altıntop tore a hamstring at the weekend. With Luca Toni nursing a persistent achilles injury, Lukas Podolski will again partner Miroslav Klose in attack.
“Just because Sporting were beaten 5-0 doesn’t mean they’re a bad team, and they’ll be determined to show what happened was just an accident,” added Klinsmann. “We have to forget the result from the first leg. We have one and a half legs in the quarter-finals, but we’re not through yet. A full house, the Champions League – we have a duty to perform and put on a show for our fans.”
To progress, Sporting would have to better Deportivo La Coruna’s 4-0 second-leg triumph against Milan in 2003/04, a victory which enabled the Spanish side to claim an unlikely 5-4 aggregate success and a place in the semi-finals. That feat appears unlikely, yet Paulo Bento expects the visitors at least to restore lost pride
“I’m sure I’ll find the players to replace him and do as well as he can,” said the coach, who should deploy Yannick Djaló and Derlei up front, with Helder Postiga yet to recover from the knee complaint which kept him out of the first leg.
Injured duo Fabio Rochemback (shoulder) and Leandro Grimi (knee) have also remained in the Portuguese capital, although midfielder Simon Vukcevic may start after recovering sufficiently from flu to feature in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat of Paços de Ferreira.
“The outcome of this round is already certain,” said Bento. “We’re here to defend Sporting’s image – it’s a question of pride. We hope to win, but mostly we want to give a good account of ourselves to set us up for the rest of the season.”