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Bayern hoping for ‘a miracle’ against City

Bayern Munichforward Kingsley Coman (right) holds back Manchester City defender Nathan Ake. Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP

Bayern Munich coach Thomas Tuchel insisted Tuesday that his side need “a miracle” to overturn a three-goal deficit against Manchester City and reach the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday. 

“It will be a miracle if we pull it off, but we can’t just talk a miracle into existence,” said Tuchel.

Bayern were thrashed 3-0 by City in the first leg of their quarter-final tie in Manchester last week, and are now facing what seems to be mission impossible ahead of the return fixture in Munich. 

On Tuesday, defender Benjamin Pavard pointed to the unlikely Champions League comebacks made by Liverpool in 2019 and Barcelona in 2017 as proof that Bayern still had a chance of reaching the last four. 

“We’ve seen the remontadas (comebacks) there have been in the past,” said the French international.

“We are ready, the crowd will be important and we are going to do everything to win this match,” he added. 

Tuchel, meanwhile, urged his side to be realistic and to take on the challenge “step by step”. 

“Our first priority is to win the first half. If we can win both halves and we get the luck which we didn’t get in the first leg, then everything is possible,” said the Bayern coach.

“It’s a difficult task and we shouldn’t make it more difficult by looking only at the top of the mountain,” he added, and encouraged his players to get the fans onside.

“We need to bring the crowd with us so they can create the kind of energy which you get in games where special things happen,” he said. 

The Bayern boss, whose side also slumped to a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to relegation candidates Hoffenheim on Saturday, admitted his players were not in their best form. 

“We’ve looked a bit cramped and lacking confidence recently, but in football things can change very quickly,” he said. 

Mane returns

Tuchel can count on the return of striker Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting, who missed Bayern’s last three games with a knee injury but took part in training on Tuesday.

“We’ll have to see how his knee reacts to our final session, but if we get the green light he is definitely an option,” said the Bayern coach. 

Senegal international Sadio Mane will also return to the squad after he was suspended for a dressing room altercation with team mate Leroy Sane in Manchester last week. 

Tuchel insisted that Bayern had put the episode behind them and rejected City manager Pep Guardiola’s suggestion that the internal conflict could give Bayern a boost in the second leg.

“I see Pep’s point. We wanted to turn it into positive energy for the next game, but we didn’t really do that against Hoffenheim. I don’t think it will make a difference on Wednesday,” he said. 

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