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 Posted by Dermot Corrigan
Apr 28, 2014

Carlo Ancelotti out to attack Bayern

ESPN FC's Martin Ainstein breaks down the storylines ahead of the second leg semi-final between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

Carlo Ancelotti says he will send his Real Madrid side out to score in Tuesday's Champions League semifinal return at Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena, not to sit back and defend their 1-0 advantage from the first leg.

Carlo Ancelotti faces the press.
Carlo Ancelotti faces the press.

Train: Real efficient

Bayern dominated possession over the 90 minutes during last week's meeting at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, with Madrid keeping a tight shape in defence and regularly breaking dangerously. That tactical setup was helped by Ancelotti not having Gareth Bale available for the game, as he could play the more positionally disciplined Isco and Angel Di Maria in midfield while using a conservative 4-4-2 shape.

Asked at his prematch news conference whether he was worried that bringing back the fit-again Bale and returning to a more attacking 4-3-3 might negatively affect his side's defensive balance, the Italian coach said such questions were not as important as a will to attack and kill off the tie.

"I do not believe tactics are the most important, but the mental aspect, the motivation to reach this final, for Real Madrid, for the players, for everyone," Ancelotti said. "A 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 does not change much the dynamic of the game. The system is not the most important. The most important is how we start the game.

"With players like Bale, [Karim] Benzema and Cristiano it is more difficult to play possession football, we must look for spaces, and play the ball forward more quickly. Football is nice for that, as everyone has their own ideas."

Ancelotti admitted that Madrid had started too slowly in last week's first leg, and when falling 2-0 behind on their last visit to Germany, in the quarterfinal second leg at Borussia Dortmund. Starting better against Bayern was a priority, he said.

"The first leg [against Bayern] we were not so happy with the start of the game," he said. "We began the game very timidly, tomorrow to start like that would be very dangerous. So we will try and do something different at the start. Logically we analysed the Dortmund game, but it was a different match. It was a unique game, an isolated game, tomorrow is very different. We must play better."

The Blancos boss said that Bale has recovered from the flu which limited him to a late substitute role in the first leg, and then saw him sit out Saturday's 4-0 La Liga win over Osasuna - a game in which Ronaldo showed he was over recent fitness issues by hammering in two superb long range goals.

Although Marcelo also demonstrated his return to fitness by completing the 90 minutes against Osasuna on Saturday, Fabio Coentrao is expected to keep his place at left-back after impressing when helping shut-down Bayern winger Arjen Robben in the first leg.

Such hard work would be key to ensuring Madrid reached a first Champions League final since 2002, Ancelotti said.

"The good thing is that I have all the squad in good condition, physical and mental," he said. "It is not so easy to choose the XI, and it is not the most important thing, so I will not tell you the team. We need to work together, all together. We need to defend with forwards, and attack with defenders. We must put in a lot effort, we need the work of everyone to make the final."

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