Source Pravda.Ru

Champions League: No Beckham should be good news for Bayern

David Beckham's knee injury leaves Real Madrid without the player who keyed the 3-2 first-leg win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Beckham, who set up two goals and dominated the midfield two weeks ago in Madrid, was ruled out Monday for at least four weeks.

As late as Monday, Bayern players were still unconvinced Beckham's injury was serious enough to keep him out of Wednesday's return leg at Munich's Allianz Arena.

"I don't think it's 100 percent certain that Beckham won't play," said midfielder Mark van Bommel, whose late goal kept Bayern in the tie.

However, later Monday Real announced that the former England captain would be out for an extended period because of a sprained ligament in his right knee. He was hurt in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Getafe in the Spanish league.

Jose Antonio Reyes also was also injured in that game and will not play against Munich.

Both teams need Champions League success to salvage rocky seasons. Real is six points off the lead in fourth place in the Spanish league. Bayern won 2-1 in Berlin over the weekend but is also in fourth place and six points adrift of the lead.

Real Madrid captain Raul Gonzalez, the Champions League's all-time leading scorer with 56 goals who scored twice in the first leg, will be back after injury, along with defender Fabio Cannavaro.

"It would be a great disappointment not to progress," Raul said. "We're confident and we hold a slight advantage but it's clear that we have to go out to win while being aware that Bayern is a very difficult opponent."

Cannavaro said Madrid needs "at least a goal" and "would get one."

"If we play defensively then we're dead," the Italian said. "Why can't we win in Munich if we are a team that has shown that away from home we can win many games?"

Cannavaro acknowledged that Madrid has been disappointing this season.

"It's true. We're putting in a lot of enthusiasm and trying to play well. In our last game people applauded us because they could see we were trying."

Under coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, who recently returned, Bayern appears on the road to a turnaround. Hitzfeld guided the team to the Champions League title in 2001, and also won the championship with Borussia Dortmund in 1997.

Wednesday's game matches two of the most storied European clubs. Real is a record nine-time winner of Europe's top club competition; Bayern has four titles.

Real's heaviest away defeat in the Champions League came at Bayern in the 1999-2000 season, 4-1. Its heaviest home defeat, 4-2, came in the return leg.

The Spanish side took swift revenge and knocked out Bayern in the semifinals of that season.

The two teams know each other well this is the eighth time they are paired against each other in the Champions League.

When they've met in the knockout stage, however, Real has always come out on top.

Van Bommel celebrated his goal in Madrid two minutes before the end of the match with a rude gesture that led UEFA to give him a fine and a suspended ban.

"It happened, OK, now it's behind. All that counts is the match on Wednesday," the Dutchman said.

"We have raised our game recently, we are having fun again," van Bommel said, adding that the firing of coach Felix Magath and the return of Hitzfeld was decisive, reports AP.

Central defender Lucio (toe) and midfielder Hasan Salihamidzic (knee) are both questionable for Wednesday's game.

Comments