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UEFA Champions League

Real Madrid's Zinedine Zidane says determination will count vs. Bayern Munich

ESPN's Alison Bender previews the Champions League semi-final matches where Liverpool take on AS Roma and Real Madrid face Bayern Munich.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane believes his team's determination will see them come out on top as their defence of the Champions League title continues in the semifinal first leg at Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

Madrid are aiming to become the first team to win the trophy three times in a row since Bayern in the mid-1970s, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos among those featuring in the last four for an eighth consecutive season.

They have beaten Bayern in all five of their recent meetings, eliminating them in last year's quarterfinals and the 2014 semis.

And speaking at his prematch news conference, Zidane said the club's history helped his players at difficult moments.

"It is the determination we have," he said. "This club has always been at this level. It is the DNA of this club, its history.

"In the end that determination is most important, as you are playing very good teams. Tomorrow will be another difficult match, but we are happy to be able to play these types of games."

Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid are defending the Champions League trophy.

Madrid have won just one of their last four games in all competitions, but Zidane said they would have no problem finding motivation in Munich.

"It is more difficult when, how can I say it ... well, it has happened to us this year in La Liga where we have lacked consistency, especially earlier in the season -- but in these types of games my players are at 150 percent, I've no doubts about that," he said.

Colombia international James Rodriguez, who left Madrid last summer, is now at Bayern and Zidane said: "James will be motivated as he is a footballer and will want to do well, but not to show anything to me or anything like that.

"Anybody who thinks I am against James is wrong -- he is a good player and will show that for sure. I never had a problem with James, it was just he wanted to play more, needed that, and I understood.

"This year will be the same -- there are players who are on the bench. This is the most difficult part of being a coach."

Zidane did not give any clues as to his likely starting lineup, although Wales international Gareth Bale is likely to again be a substitute.

Utility defender Nacho Fernandez has travelled with the squad but is unlikely to feature as he has not fully recovered from a thigh problem.

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan


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