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Claudio Ranieri hopes his ever-improving AS Roma can remove all pressure from their final Group E fixture next month by defeating already-qualified FC Bayern München on Tuesday. Should they do that, and FC Basel 1893 and CFR 1907 Cluj draw in Switzerland, the Giallorossi – unbeaten in seven matches – would join their opponents in the last 16. Any other set of results would leave the Serie A club's prospects in the balance ahead of their Matchday 6 trip to Romania.
Claudio Ranieri, Roma coach
Bayern have already qualified and are not having a great time in the Bundesliga, but I'm absolutely sure we will face a team playing with pride and determined to do well in a competition where they are faultless so far. However, we have no fear. After the good result in Basel [a 3-2 win on 3 November], we have to get four points from our last two games and we want to win tomorrow to avoid any unpleasant surprises on the last matchday.
We lost [2-0] in Munich but it was a very tactical match and I think we played well, especially in defence, even if we didn't create many chances. We've improved a lot since that game, we're playing better football and, against a famous team like Bayern, I expect Roma to play as a great team as well. I will not name my starting lineup but I can say Daniele De Rossi and David Pizarro are available and ready to play.
Louis van Gaal, Bayern coach
We want to play the best we can tomorrow because recently we've had a lot of problems in the Bundesliga and this is the right time to change our attitude. We have some injuries but, even so, I've brought five players here who played in the World Cup. I don't think Roma will play differently from our 2-0 win [on Matchday 1]. I have a lot of time for Claudio Ranieri and I'm happy Roma are doing well in Serie A.
I hoped we would have started better but this is a strange season. The World Cup didn't give us the chance to train properly as a group and we've also been unlucky with injuries to key players like Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben. I don't want to tell you if Ribéry will play or not, but I can tell you that this season we have a lot of trust in Mario Gomez.
De Rossi is expected to be fit despite missing the weekend game against Udinese Calcio with a groin injury sustained on Italy duty. Juan (thigh) and Adriano (ankle) returned to action on Saturday, while Pizarro (thigh) was an unused substitute. Rodrigo Taddei (calf) remains sidelined.
Captain Mark van Bommel misses out due to persistent knee problems, though Van Gaal said defender Martín Demichelis could play after shaking off a thigh complaint. Ribéry may start after coming through a couple of substitute appearances, yet Arjen Robben, Holger Badstuber, Miroslav Klose and Ivica Olić are still out of the picture.
20/11/10 Roma 2-0 Udinese Calcio
(Menez 24, Borriello 56)
Jérémy Menez's 24th-minute opener was his first league goal since 18 October 2009. Shown red with nine minutes remaining, Nicolás Burdisso was sent off for the second time this term. Roma are now unbeaten in seven Serie A matches.
20/11/10 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1-1 Bayern
(Vidal 45+2pen; Gomez 34)
Bayern are undefeated in their last nine matches in all competitions, winning six of them. Gomez has scored 12 goals during that run, including two hat-tricks.
Did you know?
Ranieri and Van Gaal first faced off in Spanish football. Between 1997 and 1999, when Ranieri was at Valencia CF and Van Gaal with FC Barcelona, both recorded successive away Liga victories. However, Ranieri got the better of Van Gaal in the 1998/99 Spanish Cup, with Valencia winning both legs of their quarter-final. During Ranieri's spell at Club Atlético de Madrid in 1999/2000 he met Van Gaal's Barcelona once more, losing at Camp Nou.
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