Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben believes his team should be confident ahead of their Champions League quarterfinal first leg at home to Real Madrid, while los blancos midfielder Kroos says the fixture could be a final of the competition.
The two heavyweights will meet at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday and then six days later at the Santiago Bernabeu, with this being their 11th knockout meeting in the history of the Continental competions (European Cup and Champions League), making it the most played fixture in UEFA club competition.
Familiar faces for both teams are not few, with Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti having spent two years as Madrid boss between 2013 and 2015, Robben having a stinct as a Madridsta from 2007 to 2009 and Kroos being a Bayern player between 2007 and 2014.
Speaking to AS, Robben said it would be important for Bayern to “impose their style of play” on the game from the outset.
“It is difficult, they are one of the best teams in the world, with world-class players,” Robben said. “It will be important to start the game confidently and with passion on the pitch, and try and impose our own style of play. It is about going out to win the game from the first moment. We have reasons to be confident, although at the same time we must be humble. We need to begin the game with passion, aggression and show that we want to win from the first moment.”
“We have just beaten a big opponent [in Dortmund] which of course gives us confidence,” he said. “We created many chances and enjoyed ourselves on the pitch. I feel that we are ready for Madrid.”
Robben added that Madrid’s victory when the teams met three years ago in the Champions League semifinals, including a 4-0 win in the second leg, would not be a factor this year.
“Not at all, that is all passed and is not important anymore,” he said. “We are only interested in the future. We are playing to reach the semifinals against a team of the size of Real Madrid and our objective is to progress. Nothing else interests us.”
Meanwhile Kroos, who came through the ranks at Bayern and played 130 Bundesliga games for the club, told Madrid’s official website that he was looking forward to taking on many of his friends and former teammates.
“I know the players there better than anyone and it will be a special tie, but I don’t have any other big feelings towards it,” he said. “I always keep up with how Bayern are doing. There are still many of the same players there. We are all looking forward to these games both my friends at Bayern Munich and I. They will be two fantastic games. This tie could easily be the Champions League final.”