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UEFA Champions League live: 2 April

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 quarter-final second legs.
 
 
Published: Monday 2 April 2012, 8.52CET

UEFA Champions League live: 2 April

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 quarter-final second legs.

The 2011/12 UEFA Champions League quarter-final second legs take place 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 19.52, UEFA.com Spanish newsdesk
Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo has been speaking ahead of Wednesday's quarter-final, second leg encounter against APOEL FC on Wednesday. The Portuguese international admitted his side's work was "90% completed" with Los Merengues taking a 3-0 lead into the return match at the Santiago Bernabéu, but is taking nothing for granted.

"We achieved a very important result away from home," he said. "Of course, anything can happen in football and we require a further 10% to complete the task but we will not want to miss out on this great opportunity to reach the semi-finals. We are on the right track in terms of winning the UEFA Champions League and the Liga."

Monday 19.40, Lucy Turner in Barcelona
Barcelona's squad for tomorrow night's match against Milan is as follows: Víctor Valdés, Pinto, Daniel Alves, Gerard Piqué, Cesc Fàbregas, Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta, Alexis Sánchez, Lionel Messi, Thiago Alcántera, Javier Mascherano, Seydou Keita, Sergio Busquets, Pedro Rodríguez, Adriano, Isaac Cuenca, Marc Muniesa, Martín Montoya, Tello.

Monday 18.28, Lucy Turner in Barcelona
Carles Puyol, who is poised to make his 550th appearnaces for Barcelona tomorrow, has just addressed a press conference, at which he stressed the importance of sticking to Barça's attacking philosophy. "It's always important not to concede a goal so we have to play seriously at the back, move the ball fast and try to score as soon as possible," he said. "But we know it won't be at all easy to do all that. We only know how to play one way: attack and win the game. That's what we will try to do, play our way."

Monday 18.18, Lucy Turner in Barcelona
Barcelona are training as we speak but Xavi Hernández is not on the pitch with the rest of the team. The midfielder played just 13 minutes of Saturday's Liga game at home to Athletic Club and suffered a minor pull to his right calf muscle, so the Spanish international could well be left out for the tomorrow's match against Milan.

Monday 17.26, UEFA.com London newsdesk
APOEL's seemingly impossible task against Real Madrid on Wednesday became harder still with news that broke towards the end of last week that the Cypriots will be without defender Marcelo Oliveira and striker Ivan Tričkovski for their UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg. An examination of Oliveira's injury revealed ruptured knee ligaments and he will require surgery, forcing him out of action for four to six months. Tričkovski broke his hand against Madrid and following an operation he will be unavailable for at least a month.

Monday 16.57, Steffen Potter, German newsdesk
Bayern are also close to agreeing a contract extension with winger Arjen Robben, whose current deal is due to expire in summer 2013. Final talks with Robben's father Hans, who advises his son in those matters, are expected at the end of this month, with a two-year extension likely. "I believe that he will sign this some time soon," said coach Jupp Heynckes. "I think that he is currently showing again how important he is for FC Bayern. He is playing for the team. That makes him so valuable to us."

Monday 16.40, Daniel Lerche in Munich
I have been informed by the Media Officer that the Marseille press conference will be postponed until 18.30. The team has been delayed out of Marseille due to the airport strikes.

Monday 16.30, Lucy Turner in Barcelona
Milan was expected to land in Barcelona at 16.00 this afternoon but because of air traffic controller strikes in France, the team will be quite delayed. Therefore the training session that was due to start at 19.15 at the Camp Nou will now start at 20.30 and the press conference will take place at 20.00 instead of 18.30. Massimo Ambrosini and coach Massimiliano Allegri will speak about the match against Barcelona tomorrow at 20.45.

Monday 16.17, Paolo Menicucci in Milan
The return of striker Pato in the squad for the game at the Camp Nou is the main news in the Italian newspapers on the eve of the game. "Milan travel to Barcelona with Pato", write Gazzetta dello Sport. Last week the Brazilian striker travelled to Atlanta in the United States to see a specialist about his recurrent muscle problems and Milan team doctor Jean-Pierre Meersseman said: "We received all the answers we wanted to hear, Pato will certainly be available on Tuesday."

Pato scored after one minute in the 2-2 draw at the Camp Nou on matchday one, a result the Rossoneri hope to repeat on Tuesday. Meanwhile, there are more problems in midfield as Mark van Bommel did not make the squad having failed to recover from a back injury.

Monday 16.06, Steffen Potter, German newsdesk
In the history of the UEFA Champions League, no team has ever been eliminated after winning the first leg of a knockout tie 2-0. Bayern have won 2-0 away four times, registering three draws and one win in the return leg. Interestingly, the last team to go out in the UEFA Champions League after winning away from home was - Bayern. Last season they won 1-0 at FC Internazionale Milano, but lost their home match 3-2.

Monday 15.48, Graham Hunter in Barcelona
All eyes are always fixed on Lionel Messi when it is a UEFA Champions League night. Top scorer in the competition for the last three seasons and with a goal in each of his two finals, Messi always seems to reserve the cream of his football for this competition.

However perhaps Milan should be focussing just as closely on Andrés Iniesta. After his goal against Athletic Club on Saturday he now has 50 first class competitive goals, 39 for club and 11 for Spain. When he scores he has yet to taste defeat. Thirty five wins with Barcelona and three draws, plus ten wins for Spain and one draw every time he has notched a goal means that, at all costs, Milan must make it a blank night for Iniesta - or face changing history.

Monday 15.32, Philip Röber in Munich
You'll be hard pressed to find any supporters who lack optimism regarding Bayern's chances to reach the semi-final, they actually regard this as a welcome change of pace considering how crucial these weeks are for Jupp Heynckes' team. In the Bundesliga they can't afford a misstep without letting Borussia Dortmund out of sight, then there was the enthralling cup semi-final against VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach, so really this is as good as it gets currently if you're a Bayern fan who doesn't want to be exposed to high levels of suspense.

Monday 15.09, Graham Hunter in Barcelona
Barcelona won their league match on Saturday, against Athletic Club, to stay in touch with Liga leaders Real Madrid. However so important is tomorrow's UEFA Champions League return match against Milan, that the very first question asked of Athletic Club coach Marcelo Bielsa (posed by Catalan radio station RAC 1) was whether or not the Argentinian thought Barça capable of defeating the Italian champions and progressing to the semi-final!

Monday 14.52, Andy James in Munich
Monday's Munich papers focus largely on Bayern's hard-fought derby victory over Nürnberg at the weekend. The rejuvenated Arjen Robben struck the only goal in a game which could easily have ended in a draw - but for Manuel Neuer's rather fortuitous parry to turn an awkward late Almog Cohen effort onto the bar.

Far from criticising Bayern for a less-than-inspiring display in Franconia, Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) praised their resolve in grinding out three points in spite of a sub-prime performance. Indeed, it is these kind of "championship matches", as Robben put it, which can be crucial in the title run-in, and the Munich-based daily thrice encourages Bayern to "Keep going!"

There is nonetheless some scepticism over the team's ability to see their charge for honours through to the end. SZ notes that given Bayern's relative lack of quality on the bench, any injuries could prove costly during this decisive phase. Central defence is the main concern and the paper again suggests that Borussia Mönchengladbach's Brazilian stopper Dante has already made his mind up about a move to Munich next term.

Monday 14.36, Lucy Turner in Barcelona
After the 2-0 victory over Athletic Club Bilbao on Saturday night,  Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola was happy to say that defender Gerard Piqué had been in excellent form against the Basque side. "We had missed him greatly...missed him throughout the whole season". Piqué was praised by the Spanish press for his performance both against Milan last week and in the league clash this weekend. The central defender had said before the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals that "we can't let [Zlatan] Ibrahimović breathe".

While Pedro Rodríguez stated yesterday that "I am lacking a bit of good luck when it comes to scoring", in reference to his missed chances against Athletic Bilbao, the good news for Guardiola is that Adriano Correia has recovered from a pull to his right thigh muscle and is fit to face the Italian side tomorrow at the Camp Nou.

Monday 14.19, Daniel Lerche from the Bayern press conference
While Mario Gomez is more than aware that Marseille have the potential to cause an upset tomorrow, the prolific striker insists that Bayern are not going to go on the defensive against Marseille. "We know it could become a quite difficult game. So many crazy things have happened in the history of football. But we will not try to play for a 0-0, we want to win again."

Monday 14.07, Fabio Balaudo, Italian newsdesk
Before taking a flight to Barcelona, Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri gave an interview to the journalists waiting for him at Milan training facility. "We are ready", he declared. "We need to repeat the first leg display at Camp Nou and not concede. It's just like a final, but I'm sure we can score at least once there. The starting eleven? We are monitoring Nesta's condition."

Monday 13.53, Daniel Lerche from the Bayern press conference
Despite a healthy 2-0 advantage heading into their quarter-final second leg clash at home to Marseille, Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes is keen to stress that his side is keeping focused. "It is not over yet. Of course we have an advantage; we did not concede in Marseille, and scored twice. We are in a good position," said Heynckes, before warning: "But remember: OM won a game against Dortmund from 0-2."

The Bayern coach continued: "We will absolutely respect our opponents and we know what OM are capable of. My team is concentrated and focused and we want to win this game.

"OM will try everything here, they have nothing to lose. They are well prepared; they did not play last weekend. But the point is that the match is in our hands. If we don't lose it, we will reach to the semi-finals."

Monday 13.17, Christian Châtelet, UEFA.com French newsdesk
Former Marseille and Bayern striker Jean-Pierre Papin has given his view on how Marseille should approach the match in Germany to the club's official website, OM.net: "It's necessary to go there playing an offensive style," he said. "This doesn't mean to be naive and concede four, but just be attack-minded. If you're lucky enough to score early, you can plant doubts in their mind."

Monday 12.58, UEFA.com London newsdesk
The press conferences for Bayern ahead of tomorrow's second leg match with Marseille is due to get under way presently at the Fußball Arena München. Coach Jupp Heynckes and striker Mario Gomez will be taking the questions. Stay with UEFA.com for all the news as it happens.

Monday 12.53, Christian Châtelet, UEFA.com French newsdesk
This game is just the start of a series of four huge fixtures for Marseille. At the weekend, they are take on Paris Saint-Germain FC in 'Le Classique'; on 11 April they will host the other Ligue 1 leaders, Montpellier Hérault SC; and on 14 April they will be on hand for the French League Cup final against Olympique Lyonnais at Stade de France.

Monday 12.35, UEFA.com London newsdesk
Real Madrid look set to make it 23 successful European Cup quarter-final appearances out of 29 on Wednesday following their 3-0 victory at APOEL last week. Madrid have an ominous record when winning the away first leg in UEFA competition, triumphing in 26 of the 27 ties, including all three where the away first leg finished 3-0 in their favour. The sole exception came against Odense BK in the 1994/95 UEFA Cup third round when a 3-2 away success preceded a 2-0 home reverse. See more statistics like this one in the by-numbers guide to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.

Monday 12.18, Andy James in Munich
What a difference a month makes. Just four weeks ago, Bayern's Bundesliga title hopes looked to be disintegrating after a 2-0 defeat at Bayer 04 Leverkusen left them seven points adrift of leaders Borussia Dortmund, while a 1-0 round of 16 first-leg loss away to FC Basel 1893 had put a serious dent in their hopes of a home final in the UEFA Champions League.

Seven games, seven wins and 25 goals later, the Bavarians are once again looking imperious as they continue to challenge for titles on all three fronts. The domestic deficit was cut to just three points following Saturday's 1-0 victory at 1. FC Nürnberg, while the DFB Cup final against Dortmund also awaits on 12 May.

Most important, however, is the UEFA Champions League final in Munich on 19 May. Goals in Marseille from Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben ensured the German giants take a healthy advantage into Tuesday's quarter-final second leg at the Fußball Arena München, where few are expecting anything other than another comprehensive Bayern victory to take them one step closer to their dream.

Monday 11.54, Pedro Gonçalves in Lisbon
"Javi García as a centre-back against Chelsea" is the highlight from A Bola before Benfica visit London. The Lisbon giants beat SC Braga at the weekend to move second in the Portuguese Liga, but lost another central defender, Miguel Vítor, to injury. Now Jorge Jesus has three centre-backs on the sidelines (Ezequiel Garay, Jardel and Vítor) and could pair Spanish defensive midfielder Javi García with Luisão at the back.

Record also mentions the injury problems. "Everything for Jardel" says the newspaper, which states that "the recovery of the central defender, who has a muscle injury, is complicated but not impossible".

Monday 11.35, UEFA.com London newsdesk
Chelsea earned an impressive 1-0 win at Benfica last week to continue their fine form under interim boss Roberto Di Matteo. The Italian, though, is not considering the prospect of a permanent appointment, says The Telegraph. "That's not important, what's important is that on Wednesday we qualify for the next round of the Champions League," he said. "I am pleased with the attitude of the players, they have shown great character. The season has proved difficult for us and we are just trying to win our games now."

Branislav Ivanović, meanwhile, was delighted after team-mate Fernando Torres scored his first league goal since 24 September at the weekend. "It was an important goal for him," said the defender. "He's been doing everything for the team and I think he deserved that goal. Of course, he has felt the pressure and it was important for us to support him.

"Maybe the pressure is off in the Champions League. If people think like that it can be good for us because we will feel less pressure, which in games like this can be very important."

Monday 11.18, Christian Châtelet, UEFA.com French newsdesk
In a few minutes Marseille take off from Marseille-Provence airport to fly to Munich, where they are expected at noon. They will train at 18.00 after a press conference. Twenty players have travelled including Steve Mandanda, who is available again following his suspension, but not injured centre-back Souleymane Diawara.

Monday 11.00, UEFA.com newsdesk
Before the day's business gets under way, starting with press conference news from Munich at around 13.00, a gentle reminder that there are a number of ways to win great prizes with UEFA.com, including Predictor, Player Rater, and Classics.

Tuesday
FC Barcelona v AC Milan

FC Bayern München v Olympique de Marseille

Wednesday
Chelsea FC v SL Benfica

Real Madrid CF v APOEL FC

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/news/blogs/blog=blog_liveblog/postid=1778075.html#champions+league+live

Last updated: 02/04/12 22.47CET
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