Franck Ribery has issued a battle cry before Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg at Real Madrid where Bayern Munich know they must be ruthless in front of goal to stage an unlikely comeback.
Bayern have it all to do at the Santiago Bernabeu after wasting several chances in last week’s 2-1 first-leg loss in Munich.
“The battle is lost, but the war is not over,” the Frenchman wrote on Twitter, borrowing from the famous Charles de Gaulle quote. “We will get our chances in Madrid.”
The 35-year-old Ribery was one of the few Bayern stars to shine in the defeat at the Allianz Arena. A dreadful error from Bayern defender Rafinha let in substitute Marco Asensio to score a second-half winner, handing holders Real a significant advantage.
After Joshua Kimmich gave Bayern an early lead, Ribery twice came agonisingly close to scoring for Munich. He stumbled at the crucial moment in a one-on-one with Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas in the first half before Marcelo equalised for Real.
Ribery wreaked havoc on the left wing and also forced Navas into an excellent second-half save. The winger and his Bayern team-mates fly to Madrid on Monday vowing to upset the odds.
“We’ll give it everything we have,” insisted Bayern left-back David Alaba, back from a thigh injury. Bayern are in an identical position to last year’s quarter-finals, when Real knocked them out.
After losing the first leg 2-1 in Munich, they won by the same margin over 90 minutes in Madrid only to bow out 6-3 on aggregate after losing 4-2 after extra time. On Saturday, Ribery was among a host of players rested as a weakened Bayern team beat their incoming coach Niko Kovac’s Eintracht Frankfurt 4-1.
– Real ‘all at sea’ –
Sandro Wagner scored in the Bundesliga victory and pin-pointed how Bayern can win in Madrid. Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes dubbed the striker ‘a fighter’ and Wagner could get the chance to be on the end of Ribery’s crosses at the Bernabeu.
“I think Real were all at sea defending every cross, so we know what we have to do,” said Wagner, the back-up for top-scorer Robert Lewandowski. “We all want revenge and have all vowed to give it absolutely everything in Madrid.”
The match could be Ribery’s last chance to show his trademark sprints with the ball at his feet on the European stage. Along with Arjen Robben, he has yet to sign a one-year extension to his contract which expires in June.
Ribery joined Bayern in 2007 and holds the club record for a foreign player of 247 Bundesliga appearances, scoring 80 goals. He also holds the joint-record of eight Bundesliga titles with Oliver Kahn, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mehmet Scholl.
Thomas Mueller, Javi Martinez, Alaba and Ribery are the four survivors from the team which won the 2013 Champions League final set to play on Tuesday. Martinez and Alaba have shaken off head and thigh injuries respectively.
According to reports, Robben will not fly to Madrid on Monday after coming off early with a groin injury in the first leg. Ribery is desperate for a crack at another Champions League final.
After suffering the heartbreak of defeats in the 2010 and 2012 finals, it was his deft backheel which Robben fired home for the winning goal at Wembley against Borussia Dortmund in 2013. Five years later, Bayern are bidding to keep their treble dreams alive with the Bundesliga title secured and the German Cup final to come on May 19.