Real warned 'it will be hot enough in Munich for trees to burn'
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the Bayern Munich chief executive, was talking a good game yesterday ahead of the Champions League semi-final second leg in five days' time against Real Madrid.
At a sponsors lunch, and in a very public pep talk, he told the players and coach Pep Guardiola: "A defeat is never positive but it gives you the chance to respond; and I know that on Tuesday you will respond."
He also promised Real, who take a 1-0 lead into the second game, that the Allianz Arena will be a cauldron for the visitors, and added: "It will be very hot for them at our home. They know 70,000 of our supporters will be waiting for them. It will be hot enough for the trees to burn in Munich.
"What happened to them against Dortmund (a 4-1 defeat in the away leg of last season's semi-finals) will seem pleasant by comparison."
All Guardiola needs to do now is produce the performance to match Rummenigge's rhetoric. The problem for the Bayern coach is that the signs from the first leg are not promising.
After 15 minutes of 90pc possession had come to nothing for Bayern in the Bernabeu, Real's first attack ended up in the back of Manuel Neuer's net and there was very little in the way of a response from the holders.
They started looking every bit like the side that won everything last season; that feels, to a certain extent, that they have nothing left to prove; and that, what is more, they are not completely capable of carrying out Guardiola's orders.
Robert Lewandowski cannot arrive soon enough. The Borussia Dortmund striker signed for next season will be better suited to the demands the Bayern coach has placed on Mario Mandzukic.
While the Croatian laboured against Sergio Ramos and Pepe on Wednesday, Lewandowski put four goals past Real in last season's first leg at the Westfalenstadion.
The transformation of Bayern under Guardiola was never going to happen overnight and they are wise enough to know that in Bavaria, but Guardiola needs his side to make a statement in Munich.
Stopping Madrid scoring without scoring themselves will not be enough – more gun twirling without firing any bullets and the champions will be out. (© Independent News Service)
Irish Independent Sport Star Awards
Pick our magic sports moment of the year and win a trip for two to London. To view the shortlist and cast your vote click here.