Real Madrid won’t underestimate Bayern Munich in UCL – Ancelotti

MUNICH, Germany — Carlo Ancelotti has insisted Real Madrid will not take Bayern Munich lightly in their Champions League semifinal despite their poor domestic season and labelled the German side “dangerous” ahead of the first leg at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday.

Bayern have relinquished the Bundesliga title for the first time since 2012 with their disappointing campaign playing a part in the decision to part company with coach Thomas Tuchel at the end of the season.

Real Madrid are favourites to progress to the Champions League final at Wembley, but Ancelotti has warned his team against any complacency.

“We’re preparing to play a big team with lots of qualities,” Ancelotti told a news conference on Monday.

“We are confident and have faith but we have respect for Bayern Munich. They haven’t played a fantastic season in the Bundesliga but they played very well in two matches against Arsenal. This shows the quality of this club.

“They are strong in transition, they can play in different ways and are very dangerous. We need to focus and take ourselves to the final, that’s our goal.”

At his own news conference earlier on Monday, Tuchel said Bayern would have “no chance” if the tie comes down to the experience of the two managers.

Ancelotti, 64, has won the Champions League four times and taken charge of more matches in the competition than any other coach, but the Italian was quick to brand his counterpart a “genius” when asked to assess Tuchel’s ability.

“It’s not up to us, the coaches,” Ancelotti said.

“The match is up to the players. You give them the idea or the strategy and they have to be convinced of it but it’s all about the players and their behaviour on the pitch. Thomas Tuchel is a great coach, especially in terms of tactics. A genius. His teams are always well trained and I have a lot of respect for him.”

Real Madrid are favourites to add to their record 14 Champions League titles after knocking out holders Manchester City in the last round.

Federico Valverde was asked whether the competition was “easier” now City are out, but the midfielder said Bayern’s history — including six wins — makes them just as big a threat as Pep Guardiola’s side.

“All the matches are complicated in this competition,” Valverde said.

“All the teams deserve respect, Bayern Munich above all. The same as Real Madrid they always make it until the end. We respect them in the same way we respect Manchester City. We need to show great performances with the quality that we have and we want to win this title.

“We need to have faith and confidence in all parts of the team. We want to make the final and that’s what we fight for.”