The latest from the semi-finalists
The hero of Saturday's 4-0 league win against Stoke, Kelechi Iheanacho is girding Manchester City up for a bigger game against Real Madrid on Tuesday. "The Champions League is a big tournament so we need to focus and get the mood ready and get everything right to play," the 19-year-old said. "We must work hard and concentrate on every ball. We really need to win here because at their home it's not going to be an easy game. It's a great achievement for the club to be in the last four of the tournament but it would be a dream to get to the final so we're really hoping for that."
Will that sort of performance be enough on Wednesday? Pep: "It'll be a completely different game." pic.twitter.com/8VHfB1KrCK— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) April 23, 2016
Gareth Bale on Real Madrid's semi-final against Manchester City:
The most important thing is to score away from home. It's also very important not to conceded. At the Santiago Bernabéu we are very strong and obviously we'll have a lot of chances.
Playing the second-leg at home is important psychologically. If we get a good result in [Manchester], back at the Bernabéu our fans are always going to help us. A win is always a good result. As long as we don't lose there, we’ll be very confident at the Bernabéu.
Pablo Zabaleta made his 300th appearance for City on Saturday, with the 31-year-old right-back hoping that this will be the club's biggest season yet. "Obviously, I was not anywhere near thinking that after eight years we would be here, where we are today," he said. "I am so proud to still be part of the club and it would be so special, after so many years winning domestic competitions, to be in a Champions League final, and obviously winning it would be something amazing."
Left-back Marcelo on Real Madrid's opener at Man City:
We're in the Champions League semi-finals and are fighting for the La Liga title. We're in fine form. We're going to go out to win on Tuesday, just as we always do. We going to try and not concede, because that'll be important ahead of the second game. It's a massive game and it's one that everyone will be watching.
These are the Champions League semi-finals and they're incredible. For sure in the days leading up to the game you feel the butterflies in your stomach and you're on edge for the whole week, but that helps me focus even more on what I'm going to do.
Benfica and Sporting CP have confirmed their places in next season's UEFA Champions League group stage with wins at the weekend. On the hunt for a third successive title, Benfica are two points clear of Sporting at the top of the Liga, with Porto a further ten points adrift.
With Cristiano Ronaldo injured, Luis Suárez seized the initiative in the race to become Europe's top league goalscorer of 2015/16 with four goals against Sporting Gijón. City's Sergio Agüero was the only UEFA Champions League contender in the top 10 to score at the weekend.
ESM Golden Shoe standings: 24 April 2016
1. Luis Suárez (Barcelona) 34 x 2 = 68
2= Jonas (Benfica) 31 x 2 = 62
2= Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 31 x 2 = 62
4. Gonzalo Higuaín (Napoli) 30 x 2 = 60
5. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern München) 27 x 2 = 54
6. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) 25 x 2 = 50
7= Zlatan Ibrahimović (Paris Saint-Germain) 32 x 1,5 = 48
7= Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) 24 x 2 = 48
7= Islam Slimani (Sporting Clube de Portugal) 24 x 2 = 48
10= Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) 23 x 2 = 46
10= Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund) 23 x 2 = 46
10= Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) 23 x 2 = 46
10= Neymar (Barcelona) 23 x 2 = 46
Gareth Bale has spoken about Real Madrid's relationship with the UEFA Champions League. "The Champions League means everything to the club. It's the main priority every year. We've won it more times than anyone else. As soon as you come here you know how much it means," Bale said in an interview with The Times. "When I first came here, La Décima were the most used words I'd ever heard. In my press conference, I was getting introduced and it was 'we are signing you to win La Décima'.
"Every Champions League match it was 'La Décima, La Décima', now it's 'La Undécima, La Undécima'. I thought as soon as La Décima was done, they'd be happy. But no. It's in the club's nature, they want to win the European Cup every year. It's instilled in you and you go for it every year."
The front page of Marca today reflects concern about the state of Real Madrid's forward line after Cristiano Ronaldo missed Saturday's 3-2 win at Rayo Vallecano with a muscle strain and Karim Benzema limped off before half-time suffering from a knee problem.
"Hanging by a thread" is the headline, with the standfirst stating that Ronaldo only did running drills on Sunday and Benzema was unable to train at all. Marca say Zinédine Zidane will wait as late as possible to see if the pair, particularly Benzema, recover.
Bayern's Xabi Alonso his is impressed by the spirit coach Diego Simeone has brought to Atlético, saying: "He's very passionate and he always creates a heated atmosphere at the Calderón, and this [semi-final] won’t be any different. Their fans are very passionate and they really believe in the team and the coach. They did that in the bad times and now they're enjoying a wonderful period."
Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer has not been on the bench of late, with the club explaining that he has been diagnosed with a "minute circulatory disorder in the brain, which will heal completely and without consequences". Sammer added: "I'm not constrained in any way and the doctors have assured me I'll be completely healed and restored. However, I will give myself the necessary time to recover. After that I will again be able to put all my energy into the team and FC Bayern."
Xabi Alonso also spoke of the influence departing Bayern coach Josep Guardiola has had on him and Bayern. "He is very studious and methodical and has made me improve in many small ways, especially in vision of play, as he was the same type of midfielder as I was," he said. "He taught me to interpret the game, to take the correct decision, to anticipate opponents and has shown me systems by which we can damage them. I've no doubt that his years here will leave an important base, independently of whether we have a fantastic end to the season or not. Our memories of him will be brilliant, and he wouldn't be a failure if we didn’t win the Champions League."
In January, Bayern signed centre-back Serdar Taşçı when they were missing three defenders through injury.
He made his debut on 20 February, starting the Bundesliga tie against Darmstadt, but was substituted early in the second half after making a mistake which saw Bayern concede. Since then, Taşçı has had to wait for another chance. On Saturday, two months after making his FCB bow, the former Stuttgart captain returned to the lineup at Hertha.
"Taşçı showed me today that I have been unfair to him," Josep Guardiola said after the game. "He had an amazing game. He will be of help in the future."
Kingsley Coman on Bayern coach Josep Guardiola:
He has helped me a lot – his style of play suits me. He gave me a chance to play and some good advice: 'Don’t ask yourself questions. Just play.' He likes players who are direct and who dribble so he gave me a simple instruction: 'Just play the way you play.'
Even when it's not going too well he always tells me to keep at it. He says: 'go, go, go …' But I don’t need to be pushed. It's me who puts the pressure on myself. I want the pressure of playing. When he put me on the pitch it was the best thing he could do for me.
We know he wants more, that he demands more, but it's the opposite of fear. We can feel him pushing us in the right direction. When I heard he was leaving [at the end of the season to join Manchester City] I was sorry. I've only known him this season but I have bonded with him. But I know this is how football works.
Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has declared himself fit to face Real Madrid on Tuesday after recovering from a calf problem:
[I'm] 100% fit - everything went well and, as always, unfortunately when you’re injured you have to work a lot harder than the rest and that’s what I did.
I've been through a long process with this team, so to play the semi-final tomorrow is in itself something really good. You want to go the next stage now. For us, it is a tremendous honour to be here at this stage and do this for this club. Tomorrow is a great chance to measure ourselves against a really great club with a lot of tradition, something that we are trying to create every single year.
We play against one of the greatest clubs of all time. Our support tomorrow will be able to make the difference. If they turn up, I've never seen a City team not perform when the fans turn up.
People talk about my injuries, I talk about my comebacks. People mention 14 injuries to my calf, I talk about 14 times I came back. It takes a lot of character to do that, to be able to come back and play at this level I will focus on the positives and that’s me coming back and doing the right things. I will only blame myself if it's for a lack of effort which has never been the case.
If we perform as a team we've got a chance of stopping [Cristiano Ronaldo], if not he is a really good player who will get chances and score a goal.
I hope Kevin De Bruyne plays the best game of his career so far tomorrow. What you have with Kevin is that he will cause problems and create chances for other players and if he gets a chance he will score. But, if the other team focuses on Kevin, it might free space up for other players and that is how as a team we can have a chance tomorrow.
KOMPANY: “People talk about my injuries, I talk about my comebacks. People say 14 injuries to my calf, I talk about 14 times I come back."— Manchester City FC (@MCFC) April 25, 2016
Bayern forward Robert Lewandowski shares his thoughts ahead of the semi-final tie against Atlético:
They have the best defence in the Spanish Liga. I think they're a team that play on the break. We need to be careful. They have some wonderful players and I think it will be an attractive match. I hope we show our strong side in the first leg in Madrid and take a good result back to Munich.
As a striker, it's a challenge to face a side that concede so few, but I'm happy to be playing against them. We know it will be tough, but we are Bayern München. I hope we prepare well for it, don't make mistakes and show we want to play in the final. I am hoping for two great performances from us, to confirm our ambitions to go as far as possible.
We've heard the atmosphere there [at the Estadio Vicente Calderón] is among the top three in Europe when it comes to how the fans support their team. I like playing in front of crowds like that. Regardless whether you're at home or away, those are always great matches for any player. Even though the crowd might be against you, it motivates you and your adrenalin goes to the limit.
It would be amazing if we could bid farewell to 'Pep' Guardiola by winning the Champions League – it would be the icing on the cake after all the time we've had together at Bayern. I hope it happens. Everyone chooses their own path, their own direction – and everyone knows that when one door closes, another opens. But we want to win every single match until the end of our time with Guardiola. We want to be celebrating until the end.
Yaya Touré will miss the first leg of the semi-final against Real Madrid, Manchester City coach Manuel Pellegrini has confirmed.
The midfielder missed training this morning after picked up a thigh injury during Saturday's Premier League success against Stoke. Speaking ahead of the game, Pellegrini said: "Yaya is going to be out, I think. He has not recovered from the muscle injury."
Fernando and Fernandinho are set to start in the centre of the City midfield in the absence of Toure. "The two Brazilian lads have played well when they have played together, and in Europe as well," said Pellegrini. "For example against Paris (in the quarter-finals). I'm very confident in what they can provide."
Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City manager:
It's very important to enjoy the semi-final as it's not an achievement we do every year. The players know that. It's important not to be comfortable because we're at this stage. Everyone wants to continue, to play the final. We'll see a team that will play to win.
I don't rate myself on trophies. I think for me it is important to reach this final because it reflects what we are doing and the work in the last three years. In the way you win the title is also for me very important. You will not see Manchester City just trying to defend, you can't do this if you want to have the chance to play in the final. We need to play good football to beat Real Madrid and reach the final. It is important for any manager to win the Champions League, but I repeat it is important with the way we play.
The fact that Josep Guardiola opted to leave Xabi Alonso on the bench and only brought on Franck Ribéry in the 57th-minute at Hertha at the weekend are strong indicators that both will start against Atlético on Wednesday.
If Ribéry starts, it means that Douglas Costa will be used on the right, and Kingsley Coman would again find himself on the bench. Coman has already proven he can make an impact as a substitute in Europe this season, and his pace could be an asset late in the game if Bayern manage to wear the Liga side down.
The likely inclusion of Alonso is interesting: in-form midfielder Arturo Vidal will surely be an automatic pick for the starting lineup, but will there be a place for Thiago Alcántara? It doesn't look like it on first glance. But Atlético's style is so special, Guardiola may dig deep in his bag of tricks.
Vincent Kompany and Manchester City get down to business this morning ...
Gareth Bale, Real Madrid forward:
It's always nice to go back [to England]. We know it will be a difficult game, Champions League semi-finals always are. We hope to have a good game there and bring back a good result.
The [City of Manchester Stadium] is a nice ground with a big pitch and a good surface. It's a good setting for a game. We hope to have a big game there and come back with a win. I've had some good games there. They're in good form and so are we. I'm sure it'll be an exciting game”.
I think that the most important thing is to score away from home. It's also very important not to conceded. At the Santiago Bernabéu we are very strong and obviously we'll have a lot of chances. Playing the second-leg at home is important psychologically. A win is always a good result. As long as we don't lose there, we’ll be very confident at the Bernabéu.
Marcelo, Real Madrid defender:
I will be nervous before the game, but I will be okay when the match starts. We have to enjoy this moment - we are fighting for the league and we are in the semi-finals of the Champions League. It's an incredible thrill to be in the best team in the world and with the best players in the world.
Coming up shortly, Real Madrid duo Zinédine Zidane and Gareth Bale will discuss Tuesday's last-four meeting with Manchester City.
Gareth Bale returns to England with Real Madrid on Tuesday. The former Tottenham forward scored in Spurs' 3-1 win against Manchester City in April 2013 and a 3-2 loss in January 2012. Bale and Madrid team-mate Luka Modrić were in the Spurs side that won 1-0 at City in May 2010 to earn UEFA Champions League qualification at their opponents' expense.
Real Madrid No11 Gareth Bale is up first:
It's great to be back in England. I certainly don't miss the cold weather! I'm really excited for the game tomorrow. We know it will be difficult, but we are getting prepared. It will be exciting game for everyone to watch.
We are feeling confident at the moment. We were not great in Wolfsburg [in the quarter-finals], but we have learnt from this and corrected some things. Tomorrow we want to play our own game and impose ourselves on the opposition. We are confident and will be trying to win. Obviously we want to stamp our authority on the game. We are looking forward to it. The first leg is always tense and even cagey. It will be great to score goals and have a great performance. We will give 100% and hopefully that will be enough.
I am surprised that City haven't got here [semi-final stage of the UEFA Champions League] earlier. They have progressed well. They are a force in the Premier League and now this is starting in Europe. They have done very well so far, but hopefully now we can stop them.
No matter who we faced in this round it was going to be a difficult game. It's another big game on the road to hopefully winning a trophy. Let’s enjoy it and win the game.
Zinédine Zidane says that injury doubts Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema are fit to face Manchester City:
The idea is that we want Karim [Benzema] and Cristiano [Ronaldo] to play. We have the last training session now and we’ll see. I think they’ll be fine but we’ll test everything. They’re fine today – they’re players who look after themselves physically, 100%. I think they’ll be fine to play.
Our plan is to go out, to try and score and to win - that's always our mentality. The opponent is a great side – if you leave City space they can hurt you. The players get between the lines and cause you problems. We will try to stop that happening. Then, when we’ve got the ball we want to express ourselves. That’s the plan.
Plan to stop [Kevin] De Bruyne? We’ll try to do that. We now he’s a top player in good form. When he arrived in this team he showed what a quality player he is. He links very well with [Sergio] Agüero, we’ll see what happens tomorrow – we’ll try to be play him as well as we can. We’ll do the best we possibly can here in this ground. City will put us under pressure and make things hard for us but we’re ready for that.
That's all from the Real Madrid press conference. Zinédine Zidane told journalists that Cristiano Ronaldo (thigh) and Karim Benzema (knee) will be assessed in their final training session tonight but he expects them both to be fit.
Real Madrid duo Cristiano Ronaldo (thigh) and Karim Benzema (knee) train in Manchester after overcoming injuries ...
When it comes to secrecy, Josep Guardiola puts a lot of faith in the grey curtains Bayern München use to completely seal themselves off from the public at the club's Säbener Strasse training ground. Bayern will today make the final tweaks to their tactical approach for their trip to face Atlético Madrid. As on previous occasions, the Bundesliga leaders will waive their right to train at the stadium after arriving in the Spanish capital.
Tonight marks the first instalment of Real Madrid's 32nd UEFA competition semi-final. By contrast, it is only City's third. Indeed, it is almost 45 years to the day since the English side’s most recent, a 1-0 home defeat by Chelsea that condemned them to a 2-0 aggregate loss in the last four of the 1970/71 European Cup Winners' Cup.
The Times newspaper says this is the natural next step for a club who have already muscled in on the domestic elite in recent years. "The territory is uncharted, but the feeling is familiar," writes Rory Smith. "Manchester City have spent the past eight years smashing glass ceilings. They broke the stranglehold of the big four to win a place in Europe. They buried a reputation for institutionalised heartache and failure under an avalanche of silverware, an FA Cup followed by not one but two Premier League titles."
Spanish sports daily Marca is excited by the prospect of Cristiano Ronaldo, who Manchester City fans know all about from his time with local rivals Manchester United, facing the Citizens' prolific marksman Sergio Agüero.
The UEFA Champions League dominates the front page of Tuesday's L'Équipe despite there being no French teams left in European competition. The newspaper claims a "royal pact" has been agreed between Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and coach Zinédine Zidane. "Both managed to build a special relationship between them," the daily says.
Jesús Navas can become one of a select band of players to have won all the major club and international trophies of their day as Manchester City take on Real Madrid for a place in the UEFA Champions League final.
Twice a UEFA Cup winner with Sevilla, the 30-year-old winger was a FIFA World Cup champion with Spain and also featured at UEFA EURO 2012 (although not in Spain's final victory); which leaves only the UEFA Champions League for him to complete the set of main club and national-team winner's medals. Two of his Spain colleagues – Juan Mata and Fernando Torres – joined what previously had been an all-German band when they lifted the UEFA Cup with Chelsea in 2013.
Robert Lewandowski, Bayern forward:
Atlético have the best defence in the Spanish Liga. I think they're a team that play on the break. We need to be careful. They have some wonderful players and I think it will be an attractive match. I hope we show our strong side in the first leg in Madrid and take a good result back to Munich.
As a striker, it's a challenge to face a side that concede so few, but I'm happy to be playing against them. We know it will be tough, but we are Bayern München. I hope we prepare well for it, don't make mistakes and show we want to play in the final. I am hoping for two great performances from us, to confirm our ambitions to go as far as possible.
The Bayern squad took their time coming out of the dressing room this morning and started training about half an hour later than planned. Perhaps it took a bit longer to digest the analysis of Atlético's style?
There was good news on the injury front with only Holger Badstuber (ankle) and Arjen Robben (groin) missing the session. Debate is raging in Munich as to whether Josep Guardiola will include Jérôme Boateng in his squad for the first-leg trip to Spain. Boateng has yet to return to action following a groin injury sustained in the 2-1 win at Hamburg on 22 January, although he has recently resumed training.
Gareth Bale On the impact Real Madrid coach Zinédine Zidane has had on the team:
It's been amazing since he's come in. He has given the team the confidence and belief to go out and express ourselves on the pitch and long may this continue. Now we can win another game and hopefully take another step closer to the final.
Javi Martínez, Bayern midfielder:
Atlético are the team against which I least wanted to play. They're hard to beat, for me personally they're the toughest potential semi-final opponents.
They’re dangerous on the break with quick players like [Fernando] Torres, Antoine [Griezmann] or [Yannick] Carrasco. They have players with good passing qualities like Gabi, Koke and Saúl [Ñíguez].
Atlético play very aggressively. But you don't make the Champions League semi-finals only with aggressive play. It's a mixture of aggression, focus, good play and mental strength which makes them so strong. They're a coherent team. We have to give 100%, full throttle!
Xabi Alonso, Bayern midfielder:
I think it's going to be an evenly balanced match. Atlético are among the European footballing elite. Two very intense matches await us. If we're not 100 percent ready it'll be difficult to go through.
The defence is clearly one of their strengths, but it's not only that. Atlético know how to play football and are very dangerous in attack. They win possession by aggressive pressing and then play very directly, quickly and vertically towards goal. We have to be clever. We know that we'll play at least 180 minutes, but we won't play for a draw in Madrid. It's our mentality to go for a win.
It's always difficult at the Vicente Calderón. The atmosphere is cracking and special. The Atlético fans are very enthusiastic, very active. They support their team with lots of passion.
Bayern have just left for Munich airport, where they will take off for Madrid at 14.30 CET. Jérôme Boateng is part of the travelling party.
Real Madrid have been here before, time and again. Indeed this is in the very fabric of the club. For their opponents, though, this is on a different scale – "the biggest night in Manchester City’s history" according to the Guardian newspaper. Captain Vincent Kompany is all too aware of the task that awaits his side. "It is really good to measure yourself against a team like Real Madrid to see how far you have come. We have to be inspired."
Luke Modrić is making headlines in Croatia as Real Madrid prepare to face Manchester City tonight. "Dario Šimić is the only Croatian player to have won the UEFA Champions League trophy twice" notes 24sata. "Now Luka is trying to reach that mark," the newspaper adds.
The press also carry some old quotes from Modrić: "You always have to improve at Real Madrid, that's the expectation from the club and the fans. No club is like Real Madrid. The pressure is huge, but I never had any problems with it. I like pressure, it pushes me to be better."
Jan Oblak, Atlético goalkeeper:
There's a superb mood in the dressing room, that's the secret of our success. Both matches will be close. Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller are hard to stop, but we believe in ourselves.
Thiago Alcántara, Bayern midfielder:
Atlético have developed an idea and they pursue it consistently. Now they're in the race for the titles in the Spanish Liga and in the Champions League. We're in for a tough match in which we'll have to go to our limits.
We know it's going to be a very difficult match at the Vicente Calderón. In terms of atmosphere it's one of the best arenas in the whole of Europe. We have to focus on our play there, we mustn't lose control if we’re to achieve a good result for the return.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have broken endless scoring records, but neither can match the goals-per-game efficiency of Bayern hero of the 1970s, Gerd Müller. UEFA.com keeps track of the UEFA club competitions' most effective marksmen ...
Manchester City's last two UEFA Champions League campaigns have been ended by Barcelona – will they show against the Azulgrana’s great rivals Real Madrid that they truly have learnt their lessons against elite opposition? They must be disciplined yet brave, tight but ambitious. Their life, it must be said, would have been made an awful lot easier had Cristiano Ronaldo and/or Karim Benzema been ruled out. The fact that both are expected to be fit, though, surely gives the visitors the edge.
DID YOU KNOW?
Real Madrid have reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League in each of the past six seasons, the longest current run. It is also their 27th appearance in the final four of the UEFAChampions League or European Cup, more than any other team.
Zinédine Zidane, Real Madrid coach:
This club has a really great history and we known about the image that we need to be portraying to the world. It's always a source of pride to see Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Champions League and to be one of the last four teams left in the competition.
The players are focused on winning. There was the same atmosphere within the Décima-winning squad, and I can see that these players are focused on this major challenge, but at the same time we know that it won't be easy.
Gareth Bale, Real Madrid forward:
It's great to be back in England. I certainly don't miss the cold weather, though! I'm really excited about the game. We know it will be difficult, but we are getting prepared. It will be exciting game for everyone to watch.
We are feeling confident. We weren't great in Wolfsburg, but we have learned from it and corrected some things. We needed to be more patient and not go for the kill straight away. We have to be smart and attack when we can, defend when we can. It is important to stick together.
We want to play our own game and impose ourselves on the opposition. The first leg is always tense and even cagey. It will be great to score goals and have a great performance.
I am surprised they [Manchester City] haven't got here [the semi-finals] earlier. They have progressed well. They are a force in the Premier League and now it is starting in Europe. They have done very well so far, but hopefully we can stop them.
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini was in charge of Real Madrid in 2009/10, replaced by José Mourinho despite achieving a then club record 96 points. Harsh, perhaps, but he could count himself even more unfortunate this term if he leaves – Josep Guardiola is coming in this summer regardless – having guided City to UEFA Champions League glory in Milan next month in what would be his final game at the helm.
In 2013/14, former on-loan Atlético goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois kept 20 clean sheets in the Liga, conceding 24 goals in 37 outings. This term, Atleti No13 Jan Oblak has already surpassed that mark with 22 clean sheets in the league in 35 matches - conceding only 16 goals.
Manchester City's Under-13s and Under-15s have both been crowned national champions in recent weeks, further proof that the club's much-vaunted "holistic approach" is gathering pace. Indeed academy director Mark Allen said of the recent triumphs, both based around local players: "It endorses everything we’ve been saying consistently over the last few years, which is to find and develop as much local talent as we can."
However, make no mistake: City's present is just as important as their future. Finally into the latter stages of the UEFA Champions League – this is their first ever European Cup semi-final – they must feel this is their time. Avoiding defeat – without conceding, ideally – at home tonight would be a significant next step.
Manchester City defender Nicolás Otamendi on tonight's opener against Real Madrid:
Coming up against this kind of team is always something It’s not just [Cristiano] Ronaldo, they’ve got [Gareth] Bale - all across the pitch they’ve got great players in every position. We know that if we make one error they will be all over us and make the most of it.
For City it is so important [to reach the semi-final stage]. The club has gone out and bought players precisely with a view to getting us to this point, and here we are up there among four of the best teams in Europe. It's the first time I’ve ever got to the semi-finals, this is the kind of competition you always want to be playing in. To come up against great teams, playing against them on an equal level - I’m always happy to do that kind of thing.
Today's Manchester Evening News takes aim at those suggesting Manchester City are the odd ones out alongside UEFA Champions League latter-stage regulars Real Madrid, Bayern and Atlético.
"So Manchester City are the 'guests' in the last four of the Champions League? Gate-crashers, party poopers, rank outsiders?" writes Stuart Brennan. " ... City have earned the right to play in their first semi-final in the competition, and will head into the clash with Real Madrid with no fear, and certainly no inferiority complex ... This season's competition has seen them mature as a European team."
Zinédine Zidane, Real Madrid coach:
We are in a decent vein of form, probably the best of the season. We are going to do the best we possibly can to score and try not to concede. It's a game and tie that is 50/50. You can prepare all you want for a big game but then the game can turn out totally different to how you envisaged it. The important thing is to give 150%.
Our opponents are a great side. If you give them space they can hurt you. The players get between the lines and cause problems. When we've not got the ball we must keep it tight and defend; when we have the ball we'll try and hurt them. The players are really focused. In 2014, there was a similar atmosphere in the dressing room.
Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City manager:
It's very important to enjoy the semi-final as it's not something we achieve every year. The players know that. It's important not to be comfortable because we're at this stage. Everyone wants to continue, to play the final. We'll see a City team that will play to win.
We won't just try to defend to reach the final. I have always tried to have a team who play good football, play well. We need a hot heart and a cold mind ... We need our emotions under control.
The odds are stacked against Manchester City, no doubt. Their lack of experience at this stage could well be telling, while their defence – even if it has been steadied by captain Vincent Kompany's recent return – will have its work cut out against a Real Madrid side who have scored 18 goals in their last five fixtures. However, let us not forget amid all the talk of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale et al that City have their very own bona fide, match-winning superstar. Sergio Agüero has netted in four of his last five appearances and, when fit and firing, always ensures they have more than a sniff.
Cristiano Ronaldo had a rare weekend off as he nursed a strain but it was as much precaution as anything: he will be back on Tuesday for Real Madrid. There was a question mark over Karim Benzema, who faced a fitness test after injuring his knee on Saturday, but he now seems likely to start.
Real Madrid (possible lineup): Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo; Modrić, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo.
Yaya Touré will miss tonight's tie after failing to recover from a muscular problem. His absence means the front six pretty much picks itself for Manchester City but Manuel Pellegrini faces a big decision behind them at centre-back as Vincent Kompany's return from injury means either Eliaquim Mangala or Nicolás Otamendi will have to make way.
Manchester City (possible lineup): Hart; Sagna, Otamendi, Kompany, Clichy; Fernando, Fernandinho; Navas, De Bruyne, Silva; Agüero.
Cristiano Ronaldo played for Manchester City's local rivals Manchester United between 2003 and 2009, scoring 84 goals in 196 Premier League games. He won league titles in 2007, 2008 and 2009 and scored in the 2008 UEFA Champions League final, when Sir Alex Ferguson's side beat Chelsea on penalties in Moscow. Ronaldo was also in the side beaten by Barcelona 12 months later, his final United appearance before moving to Real Madrid.
Ronaldo's record against City with United was W7 D1 L3. He scored four goals against the Citizens – all in United wins, including the only one in a 1-0 success at the City of Manchester Stadium in May 2007, but was sent off twice in away games: City's 4-1 win in March 2004 and a 1-0 United triumph in November 2008. Ronaldo's record against City with United was W7 D1 L3.
Bayern München captain Philipp Lahm knows it could be a big week for the Bavarian side, who face a two legged tie with Atlético Madrid in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League either side of a match against Borussia Mönchengladbach. Success in the latter of those fixtures will see Bayern clinch the Bundesliga title for the 26th time.
Lahm said this evening: "We're looking forward to this week - it's the Champions League semi-final and at the weekend we can be Bundesliga champions."
Thanks for joining us at UEFA.com for build up to tonight's big showpiece as Real Madrid travel to England hoping to plot a route past Manchester City to the final. Head over to the UEFA Champions League MatchCentre Live for updates and reaction to the team news from the City of Manchester Stadium.
The two Madrid sides share the front cover of today's Marca; the top half shows Joe Hart making a wonderful point-blank save from Pepe, while inside the paper praises Real Madrid's efforts, writing that the Merengues "feel closer to Milan" following their 0-0 draw in Manchester. The bottom half, meanwhile, is dedicated to Atlético's encounter with Bayern. Leading with a picture from the 1974 European Cup final, when Bayern beat Atlético, Marca writes: "Atlético want to write new history today."
Diario AS, meanwhile, leads with "There it was!" - wincing at Pepe's saved effort late on at City. It writes that the only thing missing from Real Madrid's team display was a goal and they are praised for their late push as they sought the away goal in Manchester. In addition to words of eulogy for Joe Hart, there is a special mention for Toni Kroos, who returned to form with a stand-out midfield display.
Translations if you need them:
Saúl Ñiguez: "Ready for tomorrow, proud to form part of your history and tomorrow a new page."
Koke: "We’re ready! See you tomorrow at the Calderón, together we'll be stronger."
¡Listos para mañana!Orgulloso de formar parte de tu historia. Motivación máxima poder escribir mañana una página más pic.twitter.com/GKTjotekS9— Saúl Ñiguez Esclapez (@saulniguez) April 26, 2016
The English press seems undecided: was last night an impressive stride forward for Manchester City, who controlled much of the game against Madrid, or will they rue not going for the jugular? The Times reads: "Real Madrid seemed to get the feeling as the night wore on that they were simply a better team than City … You worry what will happen in Madrid because Real have another level to go up."
The Guardian, meanwhile, says: "The question lingering in the air for Manchester City as they reflect on a night of few chances and surprising torpor is whether this might ultimately be remembered as a missed opportunity … Once again, we saw the evidence that Madrid without Cristiano Ronaldo are a vase without a flower. Yet City did not do enough to exploit it, or even come close, and it might be they come to regret playing with so little attacking impetus."
City 0-0 Madrid left us with more questions than answers: https://t.co/7FoJKx6j2T #UCL https://t.co/XUHiEiA7oq— Tom Kell (@Tom Kell) 27/04/2016 09:33
There is an overall feeling of optimism in Madrid after last night. "The Bernabéu would score that goal" is the cover of Marca, focusing on Joe Hart's late save from Pepe from point-blank range. "Madrid put in a serious performance, had the better chances and edge closer to Milan."
AS also focuses on Pepe's chance, declaring "That was it!" on their cover. However, the newspaper recalls that Madrid have gone through in seven out of eight knockout ties after a goalless first leg. Furthermore, there is praise for midfield anchor Casemiro, who made 12 interceptions, and Pepe, despite his spurned chance. "Without Cristiano and without Benzema in the second half, Madrid came back from their visit to City feeling emboldened," reads the editorial. "They could regret not scoring a goal, and they came close a couple of times in the second half when City were visibly falling apart."
Little more than a spectator for much of the fixture against Real Madrid, Manchester City No1 Joe Hart showed just what a class act he is with two superb stops in the closing stages. There were others on the pitch who showed more sustained excellence over the course of the 90 minutes, but none did so much to impact the outcome. City could have been out of the tie without him.
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini says David Silva is likely to miss the return next week with thigh strain:
I'm not happy with the draw because we played a very intense game and defended well. We tried to create until David Silva got injured then we lost the ball too much. If you cannot win then a 0-0 draw is next best thing.
I think Madrid came here with a result in mind. We attacked Madrid, but we couldn't create a clear chance. In terms of intent, we had the most intent. Madrid had a real chance from that late corner, but luckily for us Joe Hart kept it out.
We knew they would try and play a slow game and we played very well against it. We pressed as a team, but unfortunately when we had the ball we couldn't make chances, we couldn't score.
I don't think Madrid are favourites now. We have had good results playing away from home this season, against PSG, Dynamo Kyiv and Sevilla. We are not afraid of going to the Bernabéu.
Real Madrid coach Zinédine Zidane is hopeful that Cristiano Ronaldo will be back for second leg:
Overall, I am happy. It wasn't easy – we had a tough game but we defended really, really well. We had the ball more in the second half and we could have scored with the chances we had. I am a little bit disappointed as we could have deserved more. We always go out to win.
Cristiano [Ronaldo] felt something after the last training session, that's all there is to it. We didn't want to make it worse. Karim is a little bit different: as the game progressed he felt worse in himself. We don't want to gamble on fitness as we know how important both players are for us. Hopefully they can both play the second leg.
Before the game I thought it was 50/50, and I still think it is 50/50. We are at home now, and we know what we are capable of at home, but it's still 50/50 and it will be until the death. It's the semi-finals of the Champions League and we know it will never be easy.
Joe Hart, arguably Manchester City's saviour on Tuesday, described the first leg as nothing more than "a sparring session" when speaking to UEFA.com afterwards. "Now we go again and it'll be a ding-dong at the Bernabéu," he added. "That's the beauty of it – we love being here and we love being part of this competition."
We wondered if either team would go for the jugular, but neither was prepared to risk defeat in the search for victory. Indeed Madrid, uncharacteristically for them, played much of the 90 minutes with the handbrake on. Now, a goal in the Spanish capital for Manuel Pellegrini's team would change the tie in an instant, while Madrid would surely be impossible to stop should they strike the first blow in front of their home support.
Lucas Vázquez had just 163 minutes of UEFA Champions League experience to his name before being plunged into the Real Madrid starting XI as Cristiano Ronaldo's replacement. The all-time top scorer, by contrast, has played well over 180 HOURS of football in Europe's premier club competition. Lucas Vázquez's was a functional, earnest performance – a far cry from the talismanic, match-winning displays Ronaldo puts in on this sort of stage.
No question, Manchester City were the better team for large chunks of the evening against Real Madrid. Vincent Kompany, who had implored them to play the "game of their lives", was in particularly uncompromising mood, while Fernandinho showed great bite in the tackle and Kevin De Bruyne was notably effective too. Despite a number of fine individual performances, they ended up hanging on – can they really expect a second bite at the cherry in the Spanish capital?
Gareth Bale told UEFA.com that Real Madrid "did not have to change too much" in the absence of all-time UEFA Champions League top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo. "Jesé and Lucas [Vázquez] did a very good job. We looked solid, we looked a threat on the counter and we were unlucky not to get a goal." Maybe so, but City will know that their Liga opponents are an inordinately more manageable proposition without their talisman. Madrid, meanwhile, will be keeping their fingers crossed …
The Manchester Evening News suggested on Tuesday that Manchester City have "this season matured as a European team" and belong at this stage of the competition. There were some excellent individual displays on the night, certainly, but for all their composure for much of the game, City mustered just five shots, two of which were on target.
What they must now prove is that they can up their game once more. They have shown the poise, now is time for the precision. Sergio Agüero is normally their main attacking outlet but was unusually quiet on Tuesday and has now not beaten Madrid in 13 attempts. He's scored four in those games, mind, and City will be confident of reaching the final should he add to that tally next week.
Joe Hart's stunning 82nd-minute stop to deny Pepe makes the cover of L'Équipe this morning. The French newspaper declares the Manchester City No1 man of the match after his late stop kept the semi-final tie against Real Madrid finely poised ahead of next week's second leg.
"I would not feel comfortable with a 0-0," said Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany mischievously when putting himself in Real Madrid's shoes. Toni Kroos echoed those views: "We're a little bit disappointed because we were the better team in the second half and of course it's important to score away."
Perhaps Gareth Bale's comments were most telling, though. Madrid have so nearly exited this competition once already, losing 2-0 at Wolfsburg in the opening instalment of their quarter-final tie. A rampant home performance saved them, but Bale suggested a safety-first approach this time around might just pay off. "The main thing we learnt from Wolfsburg was not to go for the kill too early and end up putting ourselves in a bad position," he said. Job done.
Nicolas Otamendi, Manchester City defender:
Hopefully we'll do things right [in the second leg] and get through to the final. Personally, being a defender, it’s important to not concede goals. We played a very smart game in the defensive line. Real Madrid have great players in every line. We have to defend well and then, obviously, to exploit our attacking power.
Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso says Atlético are now established as one of the top five sides in Europe as his Bayern team prepare to face them in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.
"It's no surprise to see Atleti in the semis," added the 34-year-old. "They're among the European football elite, competing for everything: the Liga, UEFA Champions League. They've installed themselves up there very quickly. They've always been a difficult side to play against and their progress in recent years has helped them grow into formidable opponents."
It is a measure of how far the red-and-white half of Madrid have come that when the teenage Alonso first emerged at Eibar and Real Sociedad in the early 2000s, Atlético were in the second division. The picture had shifted significantly when he returned home after half a decade at Liverpool in 2009, joining Real Madrid.
Five subsequent years of ever more competitive cross-city rivalry in the Spanish capital means Alonso needs no introduction to the threat that awaits Bayern over the next seven days. "It will be 180 minutes – at the very least – of great intensity against a very good team," continued the Basque player, who was suspended when the Madrid clubs met in the 2014 UEFA Champions League final. "I am full of respect for them.
"The first leg will be a tough, intense game, and their fans will get behind them. We want to get a good result to take back home. They're obviously good players and we know them well. We've prepared well, getting to know them and what they can do. They're one of the best sides in the world and we need to know everything."
Bayern defender Jérôme Boateng has been out of action for three months, so is there really a chance of him featuring against Atlético tonight? Yes, actually. Some signs even suggest he might be starting. Firstly, one may argue that Boateng would only have limited value as a substitute anyway. So unless he is fully fit, it would have made more sense to save him the trouble of going to Madrid, instead preparing (in more suitable conditions in Munich) for a possible involvement in the return next week.
Secondly, the body language of Josep Guardiola at yesterday's press conference may provide another clue. When asked about the German international over the last two weeks, 'Pep' has always shrugged quickly, giving a fairly pessimistic reply. That changed yesterday. "We will decide tomorrow," he said and went on to praise Boateng as "one of the best centre-backs" around. Reading between the lines of Guardiola has and never will be a foolproof science, of course, but he probably had his mind made up at that point already. And "we will decide tomorrow" is probably a sign that Boateng can get his boots ready.
Jan Oblak has kept 22 clean sheets this season in the Liga (conceding only 16 goals in 35 outings), more than any other goalkeeper in Atlético's history, overtaking Thibaut Courtouis's 20 clean sheets in 2012/13 and 2013/14.
Former Bayern defender Thomas Helmer enjoyed a successful spell in Munich, claiming three championships, another German Cup and a UEFA Cup winners' medal. Ahead of tonight's semi-final opener, Helmer shared his thoughts on Atlético. "For me it is the worst draw, although I feel that Bayern can go through over two legs," he told local paper Abendzeitung. "But it will be much closer than against Benfica [in the quarter-finals]."
The former German international and EURO '96 winner added: "In my opinion, Bayern don't have the power on the wings anymore. Arjen Robben is sorely missed and Franck Ribéry has had to play too much recently. If Bayern become too static, it will play into the hands of Atlético."
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Bayern chairman:
If you knock out Barcelona and make it to the semi-finals you have quality and deserve the highest respect. It's my first visit to the [the Vicente Calderón] stadium. According to our coach the atmosphere is amazing. Their home crowd fervently support Atlético. But I think our players have experienced so much in the last few years – Barcelona, Madrid, Wembley, Manchester – that they're not going to be knocked out of their stride by the atmosphere.
Philipp Lahm, Bayern captain:
Reaching the semi-finals is always wonderful and not something you can take for granted, there are no favourites. Details and form on the day decide matches at this exceptionally high level. Both games will be close. I think the tie won’t be decided until the return.
We didn't manage that in the semi-finals in the last few years. It would put us in a better position to go through at home. We know what can happen here [at the Vicente Calderón]. We mustn't be concerned with the surroundings, but keep calm. We're prepared for everything!
Georg Schwarzenbeck famously hit a screamer in the 119th minute of the 1974 European Cup final against Atlético to earn Bayern a replay and set the stage for the three successive European titles that followed. As Atlético and Bayern prepare to renew acquaintances, 'Katsche' shared his thoughts on tonight's encounter.
"The Spaniards are awkward to play against and have to be taken seriously, then and now," he told the Bayern site. "The main thing for Bayern will be to take at least one point away from home. That would put them in a good position for the return in Munich. I'll be at the stadium then, I'll watch the first leg on television. I'm convinced: FC Bayern will reach the final!"
Diego Simeone, Atlético coach:
We have to be thinking about one thing: winning. I'm expecting a hard match against an opponent with a lot of attacking potential, against a coach who changes from game to game. We will try to take the game into our hands where and when we can. It will be an important match in terms of the tie as a whole.
Obviously we have a coach and players with different characteristics [from Bayern's]. But in wars it isn't the side with the most soldiers that wins, rather the side that uses its soldiers better. In football or life there's no such thing as revenge, just new opportunities. They're in the same position as us. To win the league you have to win games, and we're in the same situation. I want my side to win, nothing more.
Josep Guardiola, Bayern coach:
We're happy to be here in the semis – we know all the teams are difficult and Atleti are no exception. You can compare them to Barça and Madrid – when they play against the big European clubs they can confound the favourites. Simeone has managed to achieve big things. It will be a great game, complete and fun at the same time, and we'll do all we can to get the final.
Jérôme [Boateng] is here, we'll decide if he'll play tomorrow. He's one of the best centre-backs in the world, he has the experience and personality for a game like tomorrow's.
Atleti do many things. It's been five years since I was involved against them, but from what I've seen and what people say they defend well, though that's not all they do. They're extremely well organised, Koke takes a mean dead ball, they've got a good structure defensively, they close space, they have a great counterattack. They've been fighting for the league title for the last three or four seasons as well as in Europe, so you have to do almost everything very well against them. We've seen them and now we'’ll have to see what we can do in order to hurt them.
In football you have to adapt and we'll adapt to get the best result we can. In three years we've got to three semis I know that people say if I don't win the UEFA Champions League my work won't be complete, but I've been very lucky to have experienced what I have in Germany. I think I'm a better coach, a better person, more relaxed.
Fernando Torres, Atlético forward:
What we want now is to write a new [chapter in our] history, we are ready to do so. We have a fantastic opportunity ahead of us against one of the favourites, no doubt. What we want is to write history - that is why we are here. Hopefully, in a week, we can say that we have taken one more small step.
Diego Simeone's team will be brimming with confidence after knocking out holders Barcelona in the quarter-finals, although Diego Godín's absence is a blow for the Rojiblancos and the likes of Robert Lewandowski will try to take advantage. Josep Guardiola is desperate not to fall at this semi-final stage to Spanish opposition for a third year running before he leaves Bayern this summer – yet Atlético are determined to spoil the leaving party.
Fernando Torres is available again after a one-match ban. The Atlético No9 drew a blank on Saturday in the Liga having scored in each of his previous five matches.
The UEFA Champions League final is in Milan and Bayern are up against a Madrid club in the semi-finals – exactly the situation the Bavarians faced in 2001, and that did not turn out so badly.
However, defeats by Spanish opponents in successive semi-finals have given Josep Guardiola's side cause for trepidation, and they go into their first leg against Atlético having won only two of their last 12 games on Spanish soil ...
Thousands of Bayern fans in Madrid centre in the mood for tonight's game. Most I spoke to very confident pic.twitter.com/66dD4w7N7G— Joseph Walker (@UEFAcomJoeW) April 27, 2016
Cristiano Ronaldo faces a race against time to be fit for next week's crunch semi final second leg with Manchester City. The Portuguese went for further tests on his strained thigh muscle on Wednesday after the missing the 0-0 draw in Manchester and is reported to have sustained a micro tear.
Although Real Madrid have yet to issue a statement on his injury, Spanish press reports claim he is ruled out of Saturday’s Liga tie at Real Sociedad. Coach Zinedine Zidane will wait until the day of the second leg before deciding if he can play or not. Ronaldo's mother said her son was hopeful of returning for the second leg at the Santiago Bernabéu. "He's okay, he's not 100%, he's around 80%. I think he'll make it next week."
Diego Godín (hamstring) is a huge loss at the heart of Atlético's defence so José Giménez's return to action at the weekend was doubly welcome. He partnered Lucas Hernández at the back and a third successive clean sheet suggests Lucas could edge Stefan Savic for a starting place against Bayern this evening.
Atlético (possible lineup): Oblak; Juanfran, Giménez, Lucas Hernández, Filipe Luís; Gabi, Koke, Saúl, Augusto Fernández; Griezmann, Fernando Torres.
The suggestion is that Josep Guardiola will go for experience over youth after Xabi Alonso and Franck Ribéry both earned a rest at the weekend. They could start alongside Douglas Costa and Arturo Vidal in Bayern's midfield, with Kingsley Coman and Thiago Alcántara on the bench alongside fit-again Jérôme Boateng.
Bayern (possible lineup): Neuer; Lahm, Martínez, Alaba, Bernat; Alonso, Vidal; Costa, Ribéry; Müller, Lewandowski.
Thank you for joining us this afternoon as we build up to tonight’s UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg clash between Atlético Madrid and Bayern München at the Estadio Vicente Calderón. After Manchester City’s stalemate against Real Madrid last night, we now turn our attentions to Spain on the UEFA.com Match Centre Live with reaction to the team news on the way ...
So Atlético Madrid will take a 1-0 lead to Bayern München next Tuesday after last night's win and only one man’s name on everyone's lips in the Spanish capital today: Saúl Ñíguez. Diario AS says Saúl scored a "historic goal” last night as he danced his way through four Bayern players before burying the ball past Manuel Neuer.
"He left behind Xabi Alonso a la Maradona. Then, Juan Bernat, like Messi. When he got to the area, he did Alaba, shot with his left and smoothly sent the ball into the far corner, kissing the post, " they write, geelimg it make up for the 1974 European Cup final heartache that Atlético suffered. "For Reina, for Adelardo, for Ufarte, for Gárate, for Luis [Aragonés] and the rest from 1974… It was a historic goal that takes Atleti closer to their dream: a third Champions League final."
Over in Germany, Munich newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung have criticised Bayern heavily. "Bayern outplayed," reads their headling, and assert that Pep Guardiola's tactics to account for the result ...
"Here is another team who won because of their superior tactical ideas. Too long did the visitors play unlike Bayern, for too long were they unfocused and unreliable. The team from Munich did not get a foothold in the game until Atlético had already established themselves."
Thursday's edition of L'Équipe refers to Atlético Madrid as "the rabids" following their 1-0 victory last night. "Not that seducing in their play, stubborn Madrid muzzled and disheartened Bayern, taking a step towards the final," the sports daily says.
"This is how legends are made!" beams the front page of Madrid-based sports daily Marca, saluting Saúl Ñíguez for his fantastic individual effort against Bayern last night. Inside, the paper describes the midfielder's strike as a "thing of beauty, a work of art".
The Münchner Merkur is critical of the starting XI Bayern coach Pep Guardiola selected for the 1-0 loss away to Atlético. "His lineup did not prove to be a sucessful one. He sacrificed World Cup winner Thomas Müller in order to have one more midfield player," says the paper. They then quote former Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, who won the UEFA Champions League with them in 2001. "Müller is to Bayern what Messi is to Barcelona. In important games they are virtually irreplaceable."
The big talking point in every German newspaper today is Josep Guardiola's decision to start Thomas Müller on the bench. For the Frankfurter Rundschau, his importance to Bayern is clear. "He has scored eight goals in 11 Champions League games so far this season. It was he who saved Bayern from crashing out, heading them into extra time in the dramatic last-16 win over Juventus. And Müller was in form too – he fired the Munich club into the cup final against Borussia Dortmund with a brace against Werder Bremen just one week ago."
Josep Guardiola was in good spirits at Bayern's press conference today. Eager to clinch the Bundesliga title with a victory over Mönchengladbach tomorrow, he is also preparing for Tuesday's decider against Atlético. "Everybody killed me," he said when talking about the fact that he left out Thomas Müller in the first leg. "But I am not dead yet. There is a second leg. We have 90 minutes and have proved in the past that we can succeed. My level of optimism is … wow!"
Bayern München 1-1 Mönchengladbach (Müller 6; Hahn 72)
Bayern must wait until next weekend to win their fourth successive Bundesliga title after this draw and Borussia Dortmund's 5-1 victory over Wolfsburg cut their advantage to five points with two games remaining. Thomas Müller gave Josep Guardiola's side the lead with a header from Joshua Kimmich's right-wing corner, Serdar Tasci doing his bit to distract keeper Yann Sommer. Gladbach equalised, however, when André Hahn fired past Manuel Neuer at his near post. Recovered from a groin injury, centre-back Jérôme Boateng made his first appearance for Bayern since 22 January, replacing the rested Javi Martínez.
Real Sociedad 0-1 Real Madrid (Bale 80)
Real Madrid registered their tenth consecutive Liga victory, their best run since 12 in a row from 20 September to 12 December 2014 under Carlo Ancelotti, despite the continued absence of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. Gareth Bale earned the Merengues maximum points, heading in Lucas Vázquez's cross with ten minutes left. Zinédine Zidane gave a third Liga start to 19-year-old forward Borja Mayoral, the joint all-time leading scorer in the UEFA Youth League.
There is some good news for Atlético Madrid ahead of Tuesday's second leg against Bayern München, with the announcement that duo Yannick Carrasco and Diego Godín have been given the all-clear to resume playing following injuries. The Spanish side lead 1-0 after the first leg.
Real Madrid received another boost after registering their tenth consecutive Liga victory on Saturday. Cristiano Ronaldo returned to training on Sunday morning after recovering from a muscle injury. The Real Madrid forward is now in contention to feature against Manchester City on Wednesday.
Karim Benzema also continued his recovery from a hamstring injury, while Álvaro Arbeloa - out since 9 April - did some individual work.
Southampton 4-2 Manchester City (Long 25, Mané 28 57 68; Iheanacho 44 78)
Sergio Agüero remained on the substitutes' bench as fourth-placed Manchester City's hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League next season suffered a blow on the south coast. Shane Long struck the opener and Sadio Mané doubled the lead from close range before Kelechi Iheanacho netted before the break. Mane then pounced twice after the interval to complete his hat-trick, while Iheanacho found the top-right corner late on – his fourth strike in two Premier League outings. Yaya Touré, Kevin De Bruyne and captain Vincent Kompany were rested with Manuel Pellegrini making eight changes from the side which drew against Real Madrid in midweek.