Munich – Bayern Munich are confident they will compensate for the absences of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez when they meet Manchester United in the Champions League quarter-final second leg and book their spot in the next round.
Midfielder Schweinsteiger, who scored the equaliser in their 1-1 draw at Manchester on Tuesday was sent off in the last minute with a second yellow card following a hard tackle on Wayne Rooney.
Fellow holding midfielder Martinez was also booked in the game and has been ruled out of the return leg in Munich next week.
“The 1-1 is a good result and we will happily take that with us,” said winger Arjen Robben.
“In a week we have to finish the job. Every player suspended will be missed and without Schweinsteiger and Javi we will have to up our performances,” said the Dutchman.
Coach Pep Guardiola is also missing midfielder Thiago Alcantara through injury, leaving a gaping hole in his midfield for the return leg.
His options for the holding midfield positions have now been reduced to captain Philipp Lahm and attacking midfielder Toni Kroos.
Guardiola, however, will have Brazil central defender Dante, who was suspended for Tuesday’s encounter, back for the return leg.
Dante’s return should help seal Bayern’s defence, vulnerable on Tuesday against United’s quick counter-attacks that could have seen them take a lead late in the first half.
“We will have Dante back and with him we will manage to reach the next round,” Robben said.
The five-time European champions, who have already clinched the Bundesliga title with seven games to spare, are chasing their second straight Champions League crown, a feat not accomplished by any team.
With the German Cup still up for grabs as well, Bayern are also eyeing an unprecedented back-to-back treble.
Their away goal may prove crucial given their strength at home, Gaurdiola said.
“That away goal is extremely important,” said Guardiola, angry that United’s Antonio Valencia escaped a second booking for a similar challenge like Schweinsteiger.
“Obviously a 1-1 is a dangerous result but I have full confidence in my players.”
“We will have 11 players on the pitch next week. This can happen and we will solve this issue (with suspensions),” Guardiola added. – Reuters