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Ancelotti allays Bayern's fears

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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Real 'wanted Bayern least' in draw

Real Madrid director Emilio Butragueno has admitted his side were hoping not to face holders Bayern Munich in this season’s Champions League semifinals after being drawn against the reigning European champions.

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Bayern and Madrid have faced each other 20 times in European competition over the years, with the German side more often having the upper hand, including when they came through a hard-fought last-four tie on penalties two seasons ago.

Los Blancos’ director of institutional relations Butragueno, who won six La Liga titles and back-to-back UEFA Cups with the club in the 1980s, told Canal Plus immediately after the draw was made that it would be vital for his side to gain an advantage in the first leg at the Bernabeu on April 22.

“Bayern are a very strong rival, the reigning champion,” Butragueno said. “They have individuals who can win a game in any moment. Of the three, for their resources, for being the champions, they were the one we wanted least.

“But we have got them. Now we have to prepare as well as possible, first leg at home, and look to get a very good result to take to Munich and defend.”

Butragueno would not be drawn on whether Ronaldo, who is currently sidelined by knee and hamstring injuries, would be fit to play in the first leg in two weeks’ time.

“We have to wait and see how [Ronaldo] recovers,” he said. “He will do everything possible to be back as soon as possible. He is fundamental player for us, even more in these games when a little detail can decide the tie.”

Butragueno believes Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola’s squads are pretty evenly matched, and said he is hopeful Madrid’s greater overall history in the competition could help them break through the semifinal barrier after three successive last-four eliminations.

“They have a very complete team, not just their starting XI but the whole squad,” Butragueno added. “Guardiola has many options to field a team which can win any game. But so do we. From a football perspective it is one of the best games you can see in the world.

“Our motivation is the competition. This is the most prestigious competition there is, and Madrid is what it is because of the European Cup. We are in our fourth semifinal in a row, which we deserve a lot of merit for, but hopefully this season we can make the final.”

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