Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has said his side must work hard to ensure that France international teammate and Bayern Munich dangerman Franck Ribery is not a major influence in Tuesday's Champions League semi-final second leg.
Ribery was peripheral in last week’s 1-0 first leg win in Madrid, being substituted midway through the second half after being subdued by Blancos right-back Dani Carvajal. But the 2013 Ballon D’Or runner-up returned to form with a goal in Saturday’s 5-2 Bundesliga win over Werder Bremen, and Bayern coach Josep Guardiola has said the Frenchman has been fired up by recent criticism of his displays.
Benzema, who scored the first-leg winner, told Madrid’s official website that keeping Ribery quiet again in the second leg would require a disciplined defensive performance.
The former Lyon attacker said that Guardiola might know a lot about Madrid from his time at Barcelona, but that such experience worked the other way too -- and Madrid’s speed on the break could be key on Tuesday.
“I do not know if Guardiola will make the difference,” he said. “It is true that he knows us well, but we also know how he prepares his teams. There is no special plan -- we know how they play. They like to have the ball and take their time to attack. We are very quick. Victory is essential for us.”
A Madrid away goal would leave Bayern needing to score at least three times to progress, and Benzema said scoring at the Allianz Arena would be a huge step towards reaching the final in Lisbon. “Of course we're going to do everything we can to make that happen. It doesn't matter who scores. The important thing is to score and reach the final,” he said.
But he said neither he nor his teammates were taking anything for granted, adding: “We will have to see what the future brings. We know there are 90 minutes left for us. We could play well and win... Being in the semis and winning the first leg is fine. Now we have to win the second.”