FC Bayern München coach Ottmar Hitzfeld insists his side must play "50 per cent better" than they did in their 2-1 win against Hannover 96 on Saturday if they are to overcome AC Milan in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
The German champions geared up for the visit of Carlo Ancelotti's side with an important away win, their 800th Bundesliga victory, thanks to second-half goals from Martín Demichelis and Bastian Schweinsteiger after falling behind in the first half. "We'll have to play 50 per cent better than that against Milan," Hitzfeld, who had made several changes to the side that drew 2-2 at San Siro last week, told the club's website. "We had six new players, so we were too passive and struggled to settle. We let our opponents control the game and we pulled out of our tackles.
"In the first half, my players didn't look as though they were determined to win at all costs. We finally gained control by increasing our physical approach. We had to react and we reacted well. A draw would have been no use to us." The gloss was taken off the result by a growing injury list. Demichelis is likely to miss the Milan game after pulling a calf muscle while Hitzfeld will definitely be without veteran Mehmet Scholl, who tore a muscle in his right thigh during training and is expected to be out for up to three weeks. Key midfielder Schweinsteiger, meanwhile, bruised his left knee against Hannover but the Bayern coach expects him to recover in time. "He would be a big loss, but we still hope he will play," Hitzfeld said.
Victory puts Bayern on 50 points, six behind leaders FC Schalke 04, but they remain two points out of the UEFA Champions League qualifying spots after the top three all won. AC Milan also revived their hopes of returning to the UEFA Champions League next season with a 3-1 win against Empoli FC. "It was really hard," midfielder Gennaro Gattuso said. "For us, finishing in fourth place is crucially important. We didn't take it easy, the UEFA Champions League is essential for the club and for everyone here. There is no question that we have to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, it's too important."
January signing Ronaldo scored Milan's opening goal and then set up Alberto Gilardino for the second, which cancelled out Luca Saudati's equaliser shortly before half-time. Giuseppe Favalli completed the scoring with 12 minutes to play as the Rossoneri climbed above Empoli and to within a point of fourth-placed US Città di Palermo.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.