Apologies for the lack of posts lately. I’m still apartment hunting and it’s taking all my free time and energy. Once I finally find something, then I have to finish packing and move. Ugh. It’s going to be busy, busy, busy until mid-May.
Anyhow, here’s a quick catch up from Sunday. The team trained with Borja Mayoral and the big news was that The Baby and Benz rejoined the group. (Video)
All 22 squad members and Pip Borja Mayoral took place in today’s session.
Wolfsburg also trained today at the Bernabeu.
Zidane: “I’ve seen the players’ faces and they know what is ahead of them”
by Javier Garcia | Photographer: Helios De La Rubia
“This club has made some extraordinary comebacks during its history”, pointed out the coach.
Just one day before the decisive game at the Santiago Bernabéu, Zinedine Zidane showed confidence in his team. The coach explained the key to the comeback: “We’re going to be together. The players know the game that we have to play. What worried me the most was seeing the players’ faces, but I’ve seen that they’re up for it and they know what is ahead. This releases pressure. We’re 2-0 down, we have to score, but there’s 90 minutes or more to do that. The message is to be patient. In La Liga we were 13 points with the goal from Barcelona, now it’s 4. Everything happens in football”.
“It’s not my first big game as a coach. We’ve had a lot and they’re all important. I feel the same pressure as always before a game. I’m not worried about what we have to do. We’re focused and that’s the most important thing. When I see the players focused it takes pressure off of me”.
“Madrid are never ready to not go through. They are always ready to continue and always do more and more. It’s the club with the most European Cups for a reason. The history of this cub is very big. I’m always positive. I’ve achieved something as a player with this philosophy. If we had won in the first-leg, it would be better. Now it’s going to be more emotional and difficult but we like these challenges. We want to turn it around and it’s nicer to win these games in difficult circumstances”.
“We really love the fans. We know how important they are. What I say to them and what I want from them is that they’re there from the first to the last minute. It’s a special club and tomorrow we have to play a special game so that we’re all happy and proud of the players”.
“What we’ve got to do is be patient and play football.”
“There have been a lot of messages of support. It’s an important game, we all know that. You have to play this game with your head. We’re not going to win the game in 10 or 15 minutes whatever happens. It could become complicated if they score a goal, but in football anything can happen. What we have to do is be focused from the first minute until the last”.
“I’m not going to get involved with the referee. I didn’t in the first-leg and I’m not now. The referee will have his game and I think he’s do it well”.
“He’s completely recovered from the knock. He’s ready to play, well and focused”.
Attack and defense
“We know that if we want to have more chance, we have to keep a clean sheet. The players know it. Above all what we have to do is play football. They’re going to start strongly with a high intensity. We’re going to go with the same intensity and what will decide it will be the ball. The battle and all that is good, but what we have to do is play football”.
“A goal against would complicate things, but that can happen. We have to be patient and focused. We have 90 minutes, we have to be fully in the game. We know that we can score goals and we have to be careful. To play will is to defend well, balanced and focused, not only scoring goals”.
Comebacks as a player
“I don’t exactly remember. This club has always been like this, it has made some extraordinary comebacks and had some important games in the Bernabéu and tomorrow is another game. Maybe it’s the most important of this season. We’re ready to play it”.
“He’s a player who brings balance to the side. We’ll see who is starting tomorrow. We know the importance of Casemiro when we’re attacking. When we have the ball it’s important to know what is going to happen next. He’s always thinking about those things”.
Modric: “With the support of the fans we can turn it around”
by Javier Garcia | Photographer: Helios De La Rubia
“The team has to be compact and to do everything together”, added the centre midfielder.
The message is clear, the team is confident about the comeback. That is what Luka Modric expressed during his appearance in front of the media: “The atmosphere in the dressing room is really good. We’ve got a very good team with a lot of talent. We’re capable of turning it around tomorrow with the support of our fans, which is very important. I’m sure they are going to be behind us. It’s the only thing that we’re thinking about. It is going to be difficult, we’ve got a negative result against a good team but we’re capable of turning it around. We have to show that on the field”.
“We start with the result against us but we need to play our game. We can’t allow for mistakes so we have to be focused from the first minute”.
Message to the fans
“That they support us from the first minute, that they’re at their best. That they are patient in the stands just as we will be on the field. From our side, we’ll give everything to get a good result and after the game we’ll have nothing to reproach. I think that everything will turn out good”.
“To play together is the most important thing, when we attack and when we defend. We have to concentrate a lot, go in with a cool head and most importantly, play football. And we have to be patient from the start. We can’t hope to resolve the game in 5 or 10minutes. We will have chances and hopefully it will turn out well in the end”.
“We are the club who has the most European Cups and that obliges us to give everything tomorrow.”
“We’re not thinking about penalties. We want to turn it around before penalties. But if it comes to that, we’re prepared for penalties as well”.
Keylor Navas and Casemiro
“Keylor has been impressive since the start of the season. Having someone like him gives you a lot of confidence and hopefully he continues like this until the end and that if we need him tomorrow, he can help us. Casemiro is in good form at the moment and he has to continue like this. He is an example of how with work and dedication you can do big things. He contributes a lot to the team and I want it to say that way”.
His good level
“I feel the responsibility and I’ve got no problem with it. I feel good. The important thing is not just one plyer, but the whole team. The team has to be compact and to do everything together. When this happens you see the Real that everyone wants to see. One player can’t resolve anything alone”.
“We’re on a good run at home and that gives us a lot of confidence for tomorrow. We are the team who has the most European Cups and that obliges us to give everything tomorrow. We want to be in the final, not only win tomorrow. It’s our idea and our obligation”.
The first-leg match
“We have analysed it. We know that we didn’t do well, that it was a bad game. We can’t look back, we have to look forward and not make the same mistakes. I’m sure that tomorrow we are going to have a good game”.
“We’ll be trying to surprise them with our play”, declared Guilavogui.
Dieter Hecking and Joshua Guilavogui faced the media at the Bernabéu press room on the eve of the Champions League quarter-final second-leg showdown (Tuesday, 8:45pm CEST). The Wolfsburg coach explained that: “I think that Real Madrid are the favourites, and if you look at the history of both clubs, then that’s obvious. Over the two legs, they’re the favourites, but our job is to make sure that the favourites don’t triumph”.
“Real Madrid will need to call on all of their legacy to overcome Wolfsburg, and I think that they’re going to have to put in quite some effort to do so. We know that Real Madrid and the Bernabéu are mythical and they command our respect, we have a great deal of respect towards them, but I think that we too have earned some respect after the first leg”.
“We did a lot of good things in the first leg and it would be great if we could reproduce them here. Zidane is starting out as a coach and I’m sure that he’ll have been thinking about this game a lot and he’ll make life tough for us. Tomorrow it could be him that surprises me. It’ll be a very interesting battle between the two coaches”.
The atmosphere inside the Bernabéu
“I don’t think that it’ll be important. Everyone refers to it, but the most important thing is the football, and that’s what we’re here for. That there’s going to be 80,000 Real Madrid fans here tomorrow isn’t something that bothers us much”.
Hecking: “We’re aware that we can make history.”
“In the first leg, they were a bit taken a back, but I don’t think the same thing will happen tomorrow. They’ll try to get their noses in front as early as they can, but if we get a goal, that’ll make their task all the more difficult.The Real Madrid squad is amongst the best in the world and tomorrow we’re not going to be able to dictate everything, and we may well make some mistakes. We need to do our best to try to make the fewest mistakes possible”.
“Everyone knows that in the league our performances haven’t been perfect, but the Champions League is making up for that. We’re aware that we can make club history and that’s more than enough motivation for us”.
Guilavogui: “We’ll try to surprise them”
“We performed very well in the first leg, but tomorrow it’s a different setting and here at the Bernabéu we’ll need to do a lot more. We must follow the coach’s instructions if we are to make it into the history books”.
Following Atlético’s lead
“I haven’t spoken to the Atlético players. They’ve got their own playing style and ours is different to theirs, we can’t go basing things on how they play. We’ll be trying to surprise them with our play”.
The following players were called up for the match:
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas, Casilla and Yáñez.
Defenders: Varane, Pepe, Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo, Carvajal, Arbeloa and Danilo.
Midfielders: Kroos, James, Bale, Casemiro, Kovacic, Modric and Isco.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Lucas Vázquez, Jesé and Mayoral.
“We are going to give everything, it is important to play a good game and all be united”, the German told Bwin.
Toni Kroos spoke to Bwin about Tuesday’s decisive game against Wolfsburg (8:45pm, CEST). The German highlighted the importance of the fans in launching the comeback: “I’m hoping for total support. I’m certain that we will get it. We hope that playing at home will give us an advantage and for that we will need the backing of the fans, those who get behind us, who create atmosphere. I am convinced that they will be there and in fine voice. Above all, I hope we have the opportunity to qualify in this next game. We will give everything for them”.
“It will be important to get the upper hand early on. We don’t want it to still be 0-0 at half time. We have to play attacking football, without doubt, but we have to play wisely. We have to keep this in mind and not lose our heads. If that does happen, they will be able to get a goal on the counter and that would not be good. It’s important to have a good game on Tuesday, to all be united. We have to give everything”.
“Everyone will be important. We always want to create good football, play from midfield and create chances one way or another. Just as in Wolfsburg, specifically after the first fifteen minutes, when we started to play well and build the game up. We want to play well, create opportunities throughout the game and, obviously, score goals”.
“It will be important to get the upper hand early on.”
“I think they have a lot of dangerous players. Wolfsburg does not revolve around one player. Julian Draxler is obviously a good player, but we’ve known that for a while. The important thing is that we defend as a team. It is not therefore about specific opponents. We have to be the better team, in other words, we have to show what we are made of”.
The importance of not conceding a goal
“Yes of course! If we concede a goal we have to score four in order to get through, and that is not easy. After the first few chances, Wolfsburg tightened up in defence, they were very compact, and it made it harder for us to get clear chances. It is therefore important for us, despite the disadvantage, that we link up well, create plays and try not to concede a single goal”.
Confident that Keylor will not concede
“I hope he won’t, all us of attacking players think the same. It is a given!”.
A goal from him
“I can’t promise anything, but it would be a great moment. Obviously, it is an important game, where we definitely need goals. Who will score them, no one knows, in the end they all count. If I can score one however, it would be great”.
“We are confident and we will give everything on the pitch”, stated the forward, two days before the game against Wolfsburg.
Cristiano Ronaldo, top scorer in the Champions League with 13 goals, showed his confidence in turning around the knockout tie against Wolfsburg. Two days before the decisive game at the Bernabéu, the Portuguese sent fans a message via Realmadrid TV and Realmadrid.com: “Tuesday will be a perfect night, it will be magical, with your support us players will give everything on the pitch and we will get through to the next round. ¡Hala Madrid!”.
How to win against Wolfsburg
“We can win by playing well, with 11 players on the pitch, more players on the bench and the 80.000 people I would love to see fill the stadium supporting the team, because this will give us a tremendous boost. I hope that it will be a magical night and I am very excited. The team are confident, the coach has faith and the fans must also have faith. Tuesday has to be a magical night”.
The key to victory
“It must be a perfect night. All aspects are important. Those of us on the pitch need to run fight and play with intensity for 90 minutes. Obviously, with the fans helping and supporting us it will be easier for us. It is also important to remain calm in certain situations, we need patience and to know how to suffer for the win. The key objective is getting through to the next round. It is the only option that will allow us players and the fans to leave the stadium happy”.
The team is holed up now at the residence chilling until the match. I hope they all get a good night’s sleep and hit the match ready to roar. (Video)
It’s remontada time, ladies and gentlemen!