Bastian Schweinsteiger says it is imperative that FC Bayern München try to quell the atmosphere at the Santiago Bernabéu on Wednesday.
The Bundesliga team hold a tentative 2-1 advantage over Real Madrid CF in the UEFA Champions League semi-final after Mario Gomez's 90th-minute winner in Munich last week. It was a hard-fought victory, and Schweinsteiger anticipates an even tougher night's work in the Spanish capital.
"We expect them to come at us so we will have to work hard defensively," the 27-year-old said. "The home supporters will be full of emotion and screaming their team on, which will play a part. If we're playing well in the first 20 minutes, though, they will calm down and that has to be our aim.
I feel we must score; I think we will."
The Germany midfielder has endured an injury-ravaged season, fracturing a collarbone in September before picking up an ankle knock. It is nights like these, he says, that sustained him through the dark times. "I knew we would have a lot of important matches towards the end of the season, which brought extra motivation for me to get back to fitness as quickly as possible," he said.
I have been involved in very important games before and this is up there with the best of them. Of course, you feel a great sense of responsibility but we have many experienced players in our team and they will carry that responsibility too; everyone must contribute to the cause."
Bayern's slender hopes of regaining the Bundesliga were dashed at the weekend as Borussia Dortmund captured their second successive title. Schweinsteiger says that will act as a spur rather than an impediment; indeed, with seven players a booking away from missing any final, keeping enthusiasm in check may be more the issue.
"The main thing will be not to get shown a silly yellow," he said. "If it happens then let it be a question of bad luck. The players on yellows are aware of the situation but it isn't something you can have at the forefront of your mind while playing a match of this magnitude." At an expectant Bernabéu, Bayern have enough to worry about.
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