Football

Real's out-of-tune BBC must find the right note

Pressure on front trio to deliver as Real travel to Munich with a depleted defence

Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo will be looking to rekindle some of the magic they once served up under Carlo Ancelotti when they face their former coach tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

Real's "BBC" trident enjoyed one of their most productive nights under Ancelotti the last time they were in the Allianz Arena, running riot in a 4-0 win to inflict the heaviest defeat on a side coached by Pep Guardiola.

The expensively assembled trio have frequently been blamed by the Spanish media for Real's unconvincing attacking displays this season, however, with goals coming from other players, not least defender Sergio Ramos.

The spotlight will be on the out-of-form trio in this quarter-final, first leg in Munich as Real bid to become the first team in the Champions League era to retain the trophy.

Ronaldo, who has scored 19 goals in the league, is on course for his worst domestic tally since 2010.

Benzema has also been far less prolific in domestic matches this year, but is the team's top scorer in the Champions League with five goals.

Bale, who has missed three months of action through injury, has endured his worst season since joining Real with only nine goals in all competitions.

The Welshman is under no illusion that a repeat of the 2014 romp is on the cards. Conversely, he told goal.com that Ancelotti has made Bayern tougher.

"If you look at the past three Bayern managers, each of them has introduced something a bit different without their approach affecting the success of the team," he said, referring to Ancelotti, Guardiola and Jupp Heynckes.

"Ancelotti has probably made them a bit harder to beat but they are still deadly going forward...

"With the first leg being in Munich, we really need to try to score an away goal and defend well, so that we can make the most of the second leg at the Bernabeu."

Scoring an away goal could be vital to their chances of progressing, not least because of their depleted backline.

MISSING

Real will be without injured centre backs Pepe and Raphael Varane due to fractured ribs and a hamstring injury, respectively.

Ramos, who will partner Nacho Fernandez at the heart of Real's defence, is one yellow card away from being suspended for the next Champions League game, while right back Daniel Carvajal is struggling with a knock.

Bayern, meanwhile, will miss defender Mats Hummels with an ankle problem.

However, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has returned to training after a minor foot operation 11 days ago, while forward Thomas Mueller could also feature after an ankle injury.
 - WIRE SERVICES

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