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Football | Champions League

Lahm relishing key Ronaldo duel



Philipp Lahm shrugged off Bayern Munich's latest domestic setback as he identified the key to beating Real Madrid: stop Cristiano Ronaldo, the man he must mark on Tuesday. Kick-off is at 8:45pm CAT (SA, GMT+2) Live on SS3, Maximo and SS HD2.

There is a gloomy mood afoot in Munich right now, and not just due to the grey skies in the Bavarian capital.

Since Bayern effectively conceded the German championship to Borussia Dortmund on Saturday night it has been raining without a break and snow has been forecast.

But unlike the weather, there is high pressure on Bayern captain Lahm and his teammates to get a result against Real in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal at the Allianz Arena, where they hope to play in the 19 May showpiece.

Madrid's form may be better, but in nine visits to Munich, the Merengues have lost eight and draw one. Lahm is not getting carried away by that statistic, though. "We are expecting to play one of the best teams in the world and we are looking forward to this, even if we are full of respect. They are leading the Liga and having a great season.

"But our team are in good shape too. Everyone is working for the others, we have a good team spirit. Of course we still want to win titles. We are in the semifinals of the Champions League with teams like Chelsea, Barcelona and Real, I think this shows very clearly the quality of our team. I think our situation is very good."

Lahm has experience of eliminating Madrid from the Uefa Champions League. In the 2006/07 round of 16, Bayern lost 3-2 in Spain but prevailed 2-1 at home to advance on away goals. If that is the past, Bayern can take confidence the present too with six straight home wins in this term's competition; indeed, overall, they have won 13 of their last 14 European outings at Allianz Arena.

To keep that up, though, Lahm knows they must keep out the man who at the weekend became the first to score 40 in a Liga season, Ronaldo. "I have lots of respect for Cristiano Ronaldo," Lahm said. "He has worked very hard for his success. He has a lot of talent, but also works very hard to become better, to reach his goals and fulfil his dreams. I am looking forward to this duel with one of the best players in the world.

"But we have to all work together to stop him. With Cristiano, you will never be able to control him for 90 minutes. But if we do well and try not to give him many chances, there is a good chance of beating Real Madrid. They will try everything to get a goal. They will fight from the first minute, so will we. In a match like this, one single moment can be decisive. I am very positive about tomorrow."

Source: Uefa.com

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