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UEFA Champions League live: 12 March

UEFA.com's team of reporters from across Europe bring you all the latest news, views and interviews ahead of this week's UEFA Champions League round of 16 second legs.
 
 
Published: Monday 12 March 2012, 11.10CET

UEFA Champions League live: 12 March

UEFA.com's team of reporters from across Europe bring you all the latest news, views and interviews ahead of this week's UEFA Champions League round of 16 second legs.

The 2011/12 UEFA Champions League round of 16 concludes with the second set of return legs this week. UEFA.com's team of reporters and correspondents from across Europe will bring you all the build-up as we count down to kick-off on Tuesday.

All times CET.

Monday 21.38, UEFA.com newsdesk
That is it for today's coverage, but our UEFA Champions League live service will return from 11.00 on Tuesday morning. We will have press conference news from all four of the coaches involved on Wednesday, starting with José Mourinho at around 13.15. We will also have all the build-up from London and Madrid to Tuesday’s fixtures.

Monday 20.20, Alessandro Massimo at San Siro
Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda admits his team will have to step up a gear against Inter tomorrow, following a run of four straight losses. "They are a very tough opponent so it will be crucial to improve on our recent performances. Inter won their last Serie A fixture so they are starting to recover and will be up for this match."

 Monday 18.45, Paul Bryan, UEFA.com Spanish newsdesk
CSKA have landed in the Spanish capital and are enjoying a post-flight rest in the city's Hotel Hesperia, not far from the Santiago Bernabéu. Coach Leonid Slutski has travelled with a full squad of players –  including Igor Akinfeev and Keisuke Honda – for Wednesday's second leg against a Real Madrid side who are in fearsome form after racking up their tenth consecutive Liga away win at the weekend.

The local press are reporting that Madrid's Karim Benzema, who suffered a thigh tear during the first leg in Moscow, is likely to start the return having come off the bench in the 3-2 win at Real Betis Balompié on Saturday night. José Mourinho put his players through a behind-closed-doors workout at the club's Valdebebas training complex this morning.

Monday 18.25, Alessandro Massimo at San Siro
Didier Deschamps addressed the media at San Siro ahead of his team's training session at the stadium. The former France midfielder refused to countenance suggestions that his side's 1-0 win three weeks ago has put them in pole position to progress. "Our first leg success certainly gave us a little advantage but Inter are the favourites," he said. "We have nothing to lose. Inter are a great team and they will do anything to get through.

"Tactically, it will be very important to defend but also to score and perform well. This is our aim. Inter can only win but we can also draw. Our aim was to reach the knockout phase but we will do our best to keep going as far possible."

Monday 18.00, Christian Châtelet, UEFA.com French office
"Marseille took off this morning for the short flight to Milan knowing they had lost four in a row without scoring since André Ayew's last-gasp winner in the first leg. However, Mathieu Valbuena remained upbeat when speaking to newspaper La Provence. "We showed we were able to raise our game in such one-offs," he said. "In the group stage we overcame much more difficult teams, and in the first leg we hurt them and are now one up."

Monday 17.30, Steffen Potter, UEFA.com German/Swiss newsdesk
Valentin Stocker, who scored the winner in the first leg shortly after coming off the bench, has his own expectations for the return leg. "We can assume they will put us under pressure right from the beginning," he said. "We will probably have to adapt to their game rather than the other way around." How to progress? "By scoring a goal. That is our big hope, of course. Score a goal and complete the miracle. Bayern are favourites to go through, everything else would be presumptuous.

"In the first leg, many things did not go Bayern's way, but they did for us. We are still outsiders, but one thing has surely changed thanks to our successes in the Champions League: the perception of Basel in Europe. But the pressure is not on us, we can play freely."

Monday 17.05, Paolo Menicucci in Milan
Former Inter defender Marco Materazzi spoke with Gazzetta Dello Sport ahead of the game against Marseille. "I could not see the soul of the Inter side of recent seasons," he said. "But against Chievo I saw a good Inter again with [Dejan] Stanković ahead of the defence, [Andrea] Poli in midfield and [Wesley] Sneijder behind the forwards; all players who have quality and can run.

"There is still time to achieve good results this season. Three reasons why Inter should qualify against Marseille? No, there is just one. Because they have to. A team competing in the UEFA Champions League in the last ten years cannot fear Marseille after losing the first leg 1-0. When there is the right atmosphere, San Siro can push you to do anything."

Monday 16.40, Alessandro Massimo at Inter's training ground
Dejan Stanković was put forward to address the world's media this afternoon and was in no mood to downplay the significance of tomorrow's fixture – "the most crucial match this season". The former Serbia captain added: "We know the value of tomorrow's game. We must stay focused and play with a hot heart and a cool head. We'll do our best to make it happen." Stanković hopes the San Siro crowd will play a major role. "I hope they push us to a big comeback," he said. "I wish to thank them for their understanding during recent weeks."

Monday 16.15, Alessandro Massimo at Inter's training ground
We did not learn a great deal about the Inter team for tomorrow during Claudio Ranieri's press conference. Maicon, who strained a knee tendon in the first leg, returned to action on Friday but sat out training today. He is, however, in the squad for Tuesday's visit of Marseille. Ricardo Álvarez, meanwhile, trained alone today but will not be involved having failed to recover fully from his knee injury.

Monday 15.55, Eugene Ravdin, UEFA.com Russian newsdesk
CSKA may not be playing until Wednesday, but they will no doubt already be sweating on the fitness of Keisuke Honda. The Japan midfielder picked up a thigh injury against FC Zenit St Petersburg at the beginning of the month and then came off at half-time of Friday's 1-1 draw against FC Dinamo Moskva. Though he will travel to Spain, the 25-year-old faces a late fitness test.

Monday 15.30, Christian Châtelet, UEFA.com French office
Marseille might not be at full strength at San Siro. The return of top scorer Loïc Rémy, his main provider Mathieu Valbuena and regular centre-back Stéphane Mbia has been good news for OM, but Morgan Amalfitano may now be missing with an ankle injury. The French international midfielder was forced off at half-time of Friday's 1-0 defeat at AJ Ajaccio and has not trained since. Coach Didier Deschamps should reveal all at his press conference in just under two hours.

Monday 15.15, Steffen Potter, UEFA.com German/Swiss newsdesk
Bayern may be drawing great confidence from their rout of Hoffenheim at the weekend, but Basel's Granit Xhaka insists it is academic to events on Tuesday. "Bayern have now scored their goals," he said. "But on Tuesday, it is not Hoffenheim they are playing, it is Basel. Then they will not score any goals; it is rather difficult to score against us." Bejamin Huggel simply added: "That [win] only gets them three points."

The German press, though, think Bayern are coming into form at exactly the right time. "Bayern experienced a successful rehearsal for the round of 16 return leg against Basel," read the Frankfurter Rundschau. "The way in which Bayern played reminded of the performances of the late summer… when München went from one triumphant win to another. That very same confidence seems to have returned. A 1-0 defeat has to be made up on Tuesday to keep alive the dream of playing the final at the same place."

Monday 14.55, Alessandro Massimo at Inter's training ground
Claudio Ranieri has pinpointed the resurgent Wesley Sneijder as one of the keys to unlocking the Marseille defence on Tuesday. The Netherlands midfielder was particularly impressive as Inter arrested their recent nosedive with a 2-0 win at Chievo on Friday, a result their coach hopes could prove to be a turning point.

"Friday's success against Chievo encouraged us," he said. "The squad have always given everything. In Verona, we scored at the end of the game. This is a positive message: fight until the end. Inter's players never give up. Against Chievo, Wesley Sneijder was everywhere on the pitch, he helped his team-mates a lot. You could see he was fully motivated. This is the Sneijder I want and who can change our team."

Monday 14.25, Richard Aikman, UEFA.com's Milanese reporter
Before their recent slump, Inter had won eight matches on the bounce and will be hoping Friday's victory will be the start of another winning streak. They need to triumph on Tuesday in order to reverse their 1-0 deficit against Marseille. Failure to do so could well leave the 2010 European champions battling it out for a place in next season's UEFA Europa League, lying as they do, eight points adrift of the all-important third place in Serie A.

"The important thing is that at the end of the day we win, by any means necessary and in any style," said Inter president Massimo Moratti on Saturday. "I expect the players are really feeling the build-up to this game, but in a positive way and are not excessively emotional."

Monday 14.00, Daniel Lerche at the Fußball Arena München
Jupp Heynckes revealed that star striker Mario Gomez is doubtful for a game which his players approach with renewed confidence following Saturday's 7-1 win against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. "I am confident, because we played a very good game against Hoffenheim," said Heynckes at Monday's press conference.

"The atmosphere in my team is very good and positive. The boys know what it is about tomorrow. Of course there is pressure, but I have a very good feeling about the game. We need to attack, but have a good balance, which means we also need to be careful and concentrated in defence."

Bastian Schweinsteiger was keen to echo the sentiments of his coach. "We must begin as we did in Basle, where we started quite well. But we lost it 1-0 at the end. Anyhow, I have a lot of confidence. We normally play very well at home this season. But of course we need to be very careful not to let them score."

Monday 13.40, Daniel Lerche at the Fußball Arena München
Alexander Frei joined his coach in front of the world's media this lunchtime ahead of a meeting against opponents he has mixed memories of. Of the eight times the former Borussia Dortmund striker has faced them, Frei has won only twice and lost on six occasions. He has, however, found the net three times.

"I know we will be the underdogs against them," he said. "Of course we know very well who is the favourite tomorrow. But we won the first leg and we saw how to be successful against Bayern. We know we can win against them. We need a lot of luck tomorrow to go through."

Monday 13.30, Daniel Lerche at the Fußball Arena München
Basel are in a strong position thanks to their victory in Switzerland three weeks ago, but coach Heiko Vogel is taking nothing for granted against Bayern. "We must not just concentrate on our defence," said Vogel at his lunchtime press conference in Munich. "We will need a lot of courage. There is so much pressure, even more on Bayern. But we must not hide, we must also attack. We know who our opponents are tomorrow. We know what Bayern are capable of, so we have a lot of respect for them."

Monday 13.10, Tom Kell in London
Chelsea have enjoyed a mini revival since André Villas- Boas's departure and Roberto Di Matteo's temporary appointment. Saturday's 1-0 win against Stoke City FC made it two victories on the trot, but Wednesday's task of overcoming a 3-1 deficit against SSC Napoli is altogether more difficult.

English daily The Times reports: "Di Matteo offered few clues as to how he intends to secure the result needed other than to state: "I want mobility in midfield." He will, then, presumably persevere with a system of two holding midfielders — likely to be John Obi Mikel and Raul Meireles."

Monday 12.45, UEFA.com newsdesk
Basel coach Heiko Vogel is first to address the media today and is currently fielding questions in his press conference at the Fußball Arena München. Bayern's Jupp Heynckes follows suit at 13.00, when Inter's Claudio Ranieri will also take to the stage in Milan. Marseille coach Didier Deschamps rounds off the day's press conferences at San Siro at around 17.15.

Monday 12.20, Sébastien Blanchard, UEFA.com French newsdesk
José Anigo knows what it takes to get the better of Inter, having guided OM past the Nerazzurri in the 2003/04 UEFA Cup quarter-finals, but the OM sporting director expects a stiff test at San Siro on Tuesday night. "It will be difficult, the stadium will be full," he said. "One-nil was a very good result for us but we saw with Lyon v APOEL that sometimes it is not enough. We will have to play on the counterattack. We need to score and be strong. Champions League football is usually a physical fight so as well as skills and tactics, we need to be strong."

Monday 12.00, Andy James in Munich
Considering Bayern have to score to stand any chance of overcoming Basel tomorrow, the Bavarians could hardly have wished for a more successful dress rehearsal. Jupp Heynckes' side put seven past TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on Saturday to close in on Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga. Midfielder Toni Kroos played down the sensational margin of victory but was pleased the team were able to "tank up on self-confidence".

Hat-trick hero Mario Gomez came away from the 7-1 victory with a "hole" in his shin which "looks as though it's been cut out like a biscuit". Still, the striker, who netted six goals in the group stage, is determined to start on Tuesday having finally rediscovered his scoring touch. Arjen Robben and Jerome Boateng should also be fit to play despite picking up knocks at the weekend, while key midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger could also feature after coming on for the last half-hour against Hoffenheim after weeks out with an ankle injury.

Monday 11.40, Eugene Ravdin, UEFA.com Russian newsdesk
CSKA goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev returned to full training on Sunday having been on the sidelines since suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury in August. The Russian international came through a training game without difficulty and, although he will travel to Madrid with his team-mates, he is unlikely to pip Sergei Chepchugov to a starting berth. "It was Igor's first day with the rest of the squad," said CSKA coach Leonid Slutski. "I wouldn't want to speak about his condition now, we will have to wait and see."

Monday 11.25, Richard Aikman, UEFA.com's Milanese reporter
Inter fans will be praying their recent defeat of AC Chievo Verona is the start of a turn in fortunes in what is a critical week for the Nerazzurri. Friday's 2-0 success, which came thanks to late goals by Walter Samuel and Diego Milito, ended a run of nine winless matches, including seven losses, for Claudio Ranieri's seventh-placed side.

Monday 11.10, Christian Châtelet, UEFA.com French newsdesk
There are 5,000 Marseille fans expected to travel to San Siro, the biggest travelling contingent, excluding the 2003/04 UEFA Cup final, since OM's last encounter with Inter in the same year. There is further cause for optimism for Les Olympiens with the news that injured duo André Ayew (shoulder) and André-Pierre Gignac (groin) have been included in the squad.

Monday 11.00, UEFA.com newsdesk
Before the day's business gets under way, starting with press conference news from Munich, a gentle reminder that there are a number of ways to win great prizes with UEFA.com, including Predictor, Player Rater, and Classics.

Tuesday's matches
FC Internazionale Milano v Olympique de Marseille
FC Bayern München v FC Basel 1893

Wednesday's matches
Chelsea FC v SSC Napoli
Real Madrid CF v PFC CSKA Moskva

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/news/blogs/blog=blog_liveblog/postid=1766606.html#champions+league+live

Last updated: 12/03/12 23.26CET
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