Klinsmann determined to keep run going
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Despite the luxury of a 5-0 first-leg lead, Jürgen Klinsmann says FC Bayern München "have a duty to perform and put on a good show for our fans" when they take on a Sporting Clube de Portugal side left playing for pride.
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It would take a record comeback for Sporting Clube de Portugal to deny FC Bayern München a place in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, but Jürgen Klinsmann insists the Bavarians "have a duty to perform" in Tuesday's first knockout round second leg.
Bayern's 5-0 first-leg triumph in Portugal has given the return game the air of a foregone conclusion. However, with his side unbeaten in the élite competition this season, the coach underlined the importance of ensuring the impression made in Lisbon is a lasting one. "We want to continue our run in Europe," said Klinsmann, wary that Bayern lost 2-1 at home to RSC Anderlecht in last term's UEFA Cup after a 5-0 victory in Brussels. "We can't allow that to happen again. We have made a statement, and don't want to undo all of the good work. I expect my team to take this game very seriously."
Klinsmann can count on captain Mark van Bommel, suspended for Saturday's 5-1 Bundesliga thrashing of Hannover 96, to add gravitas in midfield, and also hinted that second-choice goalkeeper Hans Jörg Butt could make his first competitive appearance for the club. Franck Ribéry (bruised shin) is sidelined, leaving Zé Roberto to occupy the left flank and Bastian Schweinsteiger to switch to the right after Hamit Altıntop tore a hamstring at the weekend. With Luca Toni nursing a persistent achilles injury, Lukas Podolski will again partner the competition's six-goal joint top scorer Miroslav Klose in attack.
"Just because Sporting were beaten 5-0 doesn't mean they're a bad team, and they'll be determined to show what happened was just an accident," continued Klinsmann. "We have to forget the result from the first leg. We have one and a half legs in the quarter-finals, but we're not through yet. A full house, the Champions League – we have a duty to perform and put on a show for our fans."
To progress, Sporting would have to better RC Deportivo La Coruña's 4-0 second-leg triumph against AC Milan in 2003/04, a victory which enabled the Spanish side to claim an unlikely 5-4 aggregate success and a place in the semi-finals. That feat appears out of reach, yet Paulo Bento expects the visitors at least to restore lost pride, despite leaving leading marksman Liedson at home. "I'm sure I'll find the players to replace him and do as well as he can," said the coach, who should deploy Yannick Djaló and Derlei up front, with Hélder Postiga still to recover from the knee complaint which kept him out of the first leg.
'Question of pride'
Injured duo Fábio Rochemback (shoulder) and Leandro Grimi (knee) have also remained in the Portuguese capital, although midfielder Simon Vukčević may start after recovering sufficiently from flu to feature in Saturday's 2-0 defeat of FC Paços de Ferreira. That result lifted Sporting to within four points of Liga leaders FC Porto. "The outcome of this round is already certain," said Bento. "We're here to defend Sporting's image – it's a question of pride. We hope to win, but mostly we want to give a good account of ourselves to set us up for the rest of the season."