"It's this excitement that turns my hair grey," said Real Madrid CF's José Mourinho before the visit of FC Bayern München, with Jupp Heynckes eyeing "the creme de la creme of games".
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José Mourinho may have masterminded a 2-1 victory against FC Barcelona at the weekend, but the Real Madrid CF coach is keen to remind his players that the season "is a marathon and you must always run fast". The next bump in the road comes in the shape of FC Bayern München, who are 2-1 up going into Wednesday's UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg, but coach Jupp Heynckes is only too wary of the threat posed by the Merengues.
Coach José Mourinho
I don't want to ask anything of our supporters, they must give to the players what they think the players deserve. The most important thing is to know what kind of team, players and style you have. You must accentuate your strengths and hide what's not positive. We defend our ideas and we know what we want to do and how to do it. I also know what Bayern want to do. If they don't score, they will be out. I think they will score.
The match against Barcelona will mean nothing if we don't win the championship. This is a marathon. We are going to try to reach the final, these players deserve it. Bayern are a great team, the coach is good and they have the right to think they are going to play the final. They have the strength of a team.
I see my players excited about this semi-final like my Inter players were two years ago before the semi-final against Barcelona. It's not about their age, it's about the UEFA Champions League. They just want to win it. These years in Madrid are a rich experience and it is making me a better coach. I have been working in different countries with different mentalities, different players. We can win two titles, one or none. It's this excitement of football that turns my hair grey.
Saturday: FC Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid (Sánchez 70; Khedira 17, Ronaldo 73)
Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrão; Alonso, Khedira; Di María (Granero 74), Özil (Callejón 89), Ronaldo; Benzema (Higuaín 90+3).
• Madrid increased their tally of Liga goals this term to 109, moving two clear of the club record set in 1989/90, as they pulled seven points clear of Barcelona at the Liga summit. Madrid had taken just one point from seven previous league matches against Josep Guardiola's Barcelona.
Lassana Diarra (hamstring, out since 21 March) and Ricardo Carvalho (thigh, 20 March) have returned to training but are not included in the squad.
Coach Jupp Heynckes
On Wednesday night we will witness the creme de la creme of football games. In terms of tradition both teams are fantastic and for that reason it will be very even. If we think about what Real Madrid did in the Clásico at the weekend, that says an awful lot. They have rarely won [in Barcelona] in recent years but they did so this time.
Tomorrow might be even more difficult than we had envisaged because of what we saw on Saturday in Barcelona. I know the stadium from my time here and am aware the atmosphere will be very special. I have positive memories from here. It was very difficult to be coach of Madrid back then, just as I am sure it is today. I realised after I won the Champions League here just how much of an obsession it was for everyone involved with Madrid and all their fans.
Madrid need to score but we know we are also capable of doing so at any moment. We will see how things develop during the 90 minutes and – if it goes that far – extra time. Madrid have great attacking potential but so do my team. We have to acknowledge, though, that Madrid have now scored 109 goals in their league and have something like 150 in all competitions. They have great attacking potential and we will need to take this into account.
Saturday: SV Werder Bremen 1-2 Bayern (Naldo 51; Naldo og 75, Ribéry 90)
Neuer; Rafinha, Tymoshchuk, Luiz Gustavo, Contento; Schweinsteiger, Pranjić (Kroos 64); Usami, T Müller, Olić (Ribéry 64); Petersen (Gomez 70).
• Franck Ribéry's late goal kept Bayern in contention for the Bundesliga title for three more hours before Borussia Dortmund's 2-0 win against VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach gave Die Schwarzgelben an unassailable eight-point lead at the summit with two games to go.
Daniel Van Buyten has been unavailable with a broken metatarsal since 20 January. Breno (knee) has not played this season.
Madrid have won ten of their last 11 home games in the competition, scoring 22 goals in five outings this season. They also have an impressive record against Geman visitors: W17 D3 L2.