Ronaldo looking for a 'perfect night' against Wolfsburg
ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 12, 2016 10:14 AM
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo leaves the pitch after losing 2-0 during the Champions League first leg quarterfinal soccer match between VfL Wolfsburg and Real Madrid in Wolfsburg, Germany, Wednesday, April 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
TALES AZZONI, AP Sports Writer
MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid is going to need a "perfect" performance to overcome Wolfsburg in the Champions League quarterfinals.
The teams meet Tuesday at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium with Madrid trailing 2-0 from the first leg and trying to reach the semifinals for the sixth straight time.
"It must be a perfect night," Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo said. "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. I hope that it will be a magical night and I am very excited."
Ronaldo said Madrid will also need "patience" to get the goals it needs, which shouldn't be a problem considering the team's impressive record at the Bernabeu recently.
The 10-time European champions have scored at least two goals in 12 of their last 13 games at the stadium, with an average of almost five goals per match. They have won every game except for a 1-0 loss to city rival Atletico Madrid in the Spanish league in February.
Among the victories were a 7-1 rout of Celta Vigo, a 10-2 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano and an 8-0 trouncing of Malmo in the group stage of the Champions League.
"This is a big match, but you need a cool head to play in it," Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said Monday. "We are not going to win it in 10 or 15 minutes. We have to score, but we have 90 minutes to do so. We need to be patient."
Madrid has won 18 of its 21 games at the Bernabeu this season, with the setbacks coming against Atletico (1-0 loss), Malaga (0-0) and Barcelona (4-0 loss).
"We don't care that there will be 80,000 fans supporting Real Madrid, we are here to play football," Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking said. "We knew we would need two magnificent days to advance in the competition, now we just need one. I think we can do our bit."
Real Madrid won all of its four games at home in this season's Champions League by outscoring opponents 15-0.
"Everyone thinks Real will score three, four goals," Wolfsburg defender Naldo said. "But if we stay compact, we can make it very difficult for them."
Here are some things to know about Tuesday's match:
Out of contention in Germany, Wolfsburg is fully focused on its first appearance in the knockout stage of the Champions League.
"There's fire there," Wolfsburg forward Andre Schuerrle said after the 1-1 draw with Mainz in the Bundesliga on Saturday. "Everyone's sitting in the changing room, starting the recovery already, and then we'll be 100 million percent ready on Tuesday. We're going to be running for our lives."
Hecking rested many regular starters, including captain Diego Benaglio, Vieirinha and Ricardo Rodriguez. Julian Draxler served a suspension for accumulating yellow cards.
Madrid rested some regular starters in the 4-0 win over Eibar in the Spanish league on Saturday.
Wolfsburg heads to Madrid with confidence after the two-goal win in the first leg but remains cautious about the team's chances.
"We are not inexperienced, although of course we feel the butterflies," Wolfsburg managing director Klaus Allofs said before the team's departure to Spain. "We are in good position but we are not favorites."
Hecking said his players know "what Real Madrid stands for, but we also deserve some respect after the first leg."
MADRID VS. GERMANS
Real Madrid has advanced past German teams the last four times it faced them in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
The Spaniards twice eliminated Schalke in the round of 16, and in 2014 it got by Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals and Bayern Munich in the semifinals.
German clubs have won only three of 28 games played at the Santiago Bernabeu. Bayern Munich did it twice, in 2000 and 2001, and Schalke managed the feat last season.
Borussia Dortmund was the last German team to eliminate Madrid in the Champions League, in the 2013 semifinals.
Real Madrid has failed to reverse a first-leg loss the last eight times it has tried in the Champions League, including five times when the return match was at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The last time Madrid overcame a first-leg defeat was in the 2001-02 season, when it reversed a 2-1 loss at Bayern Munich by winning 2-0 at home to reach the semifinals and eventually win the title for the ninth time.
Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni