No Bale as Real Madrid gear up for Bayern return leg

Indo Asian News Service

Madrid, April 17 (IANS) Real Madrid look to booking their place in the semi-finals of the Champions League when they entertain Bayern Munich in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium here on Tuesday.

Zinedine Zidane's side will defend a 2-1 first leg lead which they took in Germany last week thanks to an excellent second half display after Bayern had missed a penalty in first half, reports Xinhua news agency.

With Rafael Varene and Pepe still injured, Nacho Fernandez and Sergio Ramos remain Madrid's only fit central defenders for the game.

The pair were the only two players who started Saturday's narrow 3-2 win away to Sporting Gijon, while others such as Dani Carvajal and Marcelo were rested.

Ramos, Luka Modric and Tony Kroos will have to be careful as the trio are just one booking away from suspension.

Gareth Bale was also absent on Saturday and the calf injury which sidelined him in Gijon will also keep him out of Tuesday night with the debate surrounding who should replace him in the side.

Lucas Vazquez would be the natural replacement for the right wing, but Marco Asensio has been excellent of late and was decisive a week ago, while Isco was the man of the match in Gijon with a stellar performance in midfield which he capped with two goals.

The 24-year-old has still to sign a new contract with Madrid and has only played 77 minutes in this season's Champions League and given that he wants more game time as a condition for signing that could be a factor on Tuesday.

Bayern have defensive problems with Matt Hummels still injured and Javi Martinez suspended after his red card in Munich, although they have good news in attack with the return of striker Robert Lewandowski from injury.

Meanwhile the game sees former Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti, the man who led the club to their 10th Champions League title, return to the ground for the first time since his sacking in 2015 and he is likely to get a warm reception from the fans for his achievements.

--IANS

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