Bayern Munich travel to Stuttgart this weekend and are ready to rotate their side with the Champions League semi-final second leg at Real Madrid to come four days later, manager Thomas Tuchel said.

The league title has been secured by Bayer Leverkusen, and with the Bundesliga's top five clubs guaranteed Champions League football next season, Saturday's clash between Bayern in second and third-placed Stuttgart is not crucial.

"We will give a few players the chance to pick up some rhythm," Tuchel said at his pre-match press conference on Friday.

"Of course, we will also take a few players out and allow ourselves to adapt the rhythm to Wednesday. 

"But that doesn't relieve us of our responsibility, that those who play have to fight and show grit there."

Bayern drew 2-2 at home to Madrid on Tuesday, a game Matthijs de Ligt missed due to injury, and the Dutch defender will also sit out the trip to Stuttgart in the hope of making the return game in Spain.

"Matthijs de Ligt won't be in the squad, as the plan is that he returns to training on Sunday, then we have got three days," Tuchel said.

"Jamal Musiala won't be in the squad. Same procedure there. Dayot Upamecano will try and train [Friday], so we'll see."

Leroy Sane scored in the draw with Madrid, after missing the last four league games through injury. The winger has played three Champions League games in that time and will be in the squad for Stuttgart.

"You always try to have a connection to the players. Leroy's been training with pain for seven or eight weeks, but is always available," Tuchel said.

"He has a high threshold. He deserves the utmost respect there. He's a bit short there at the moment because he can't train properly. 

"But he is in training and is coming to Stuttgart."

Bayern have 69 points, five ahead of Stuttgart with three games remaining.

Carlo Ancelotti defended his decision to substitute Toni Kroos during Real Madrid's 2-2 draw with Bayern Munich.

The two European heavyweights shared the spoils in a thrilling Champions League semi-final first leg at the Allianz Arena, where Vinicius Junior's late penalty levelled the tie.

Vinicius had opened the scoring in the 24th minute after latching onto Kroos' delicious throughball, one of a game-high 15 line-breaking passes the Germany midfielder played during the first half.

The 34-year-old was replaced by Brahim Diaz for the final 14 minutes of the contest, which Bayern had turned around thanks to second-half strikes from Leroy Sane and Harry Kane.

But Ancelotti, who knows the support of Madrid's fans will be crucial when he welcomes his former club to Santiago Bernabeu for next week's second leg, explained his thinking.

"Jude Bellingham had cramp, Toni Kroos played a spectacular game, but the plan was to try to recover the control of the game by putting fresh legs in," the Italian told reporters during his post-match press conference.
 
"As always, at this point in the season, we have a great opportunity to play in another final. It's an even tie against a great team. It will be another 90 minutes of suffering, but in an atmosphere that we know quite well. The fans are going to help us."

Meanwhile, Thomas Tuchel knows Bayern will have their work cut out in the second leg, but has encouraged his players to be confident and embrace the challenge.

"The situation is now very clear," he said. "We go to Madrid and the winner takes it all. We are ready to fight. It is important to believe that.

"It is still possible. It is 50-50. It is one of the toughest places to win, but that is also what makes this challenge exciting."

Bayern Munich were victims of Real Madrid's lethal efficiency in Tuesday's 2-2 draw but the Germans are ready to beat them in next week's Champions League semi-final return leg, says coach Thomas Tuchel.

The Bavarians struck twice in four minutes early in the second half with a shot from Leroy Sane and a Harry Kane penalty to turn the game around after Vinicius Junior had put the visitors ahead in the 24th against the run of play.

Brazilian striker Vinicius also bagged an equaliser with an 83rd-minute spot kick as Bayern were pushing for a third goal.

Tuchel felt Bayern were in a strong position to stretch their lead going into the closing stages, but instead they will travel to Madrid next Wednesday with the tie all square.

"The result is what it is and it is not worth spending any time thinking about it," Tuchel, who will leave Bayern at the end of the season after a disappointing domestic campaign, said at his post-match press conference.

"Real have done it before, to score twice with two chances. 

"We are not the first team to suffer that. They have the finish, they have the quality to do that."

Reflecting on the match, Tuchel added: "We had a strong start, then we lost a bit of our rhythm. 

"Then [later in the game] we should have scored a third, but we were not efficient enough, not cold enough to add a third. Then we gifted them a penalty."

Bayern enjoyed a strong start and also had chances to score again after going 2-1 up. 

They will now need to win against Real, who are chasing a 15th European Cup, in Madrid if they are to advance to the final at Wembley.

Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain face each other in the other semi-final, with the first leg of that tie taking place on Wednesday.

Vinicius Junior is eyeing "a magical night at home" when Real Madrid welcome Bayern Munich for their Champions League semi-final second leg next week.

The two European heavyweights shared a 2-2 draw in a pulsating first leg at the Allianz Arena, setting up a grandstand climax when the battle resumes at Santiago Bernabeu. 

Vinicius opened the scoring in the 24th minute, but Madrid found themselves 2-1 behind in the second half after Leroy Sane levelled and Harry Kane slotted home from the penalty spot.

However, the Brazil international was also on target from the penalty spot to ensure a share of the spoils with his 31st direct goal involvement in the Champions League since the start of the 2021-22 season - more than any other player in that time. 

"We always want to win, but we know that this competition is like that, you can't give away balls because teams score the chances they have," he said, as reported by Reuters.

"We have to keep our heads calm, rest until next week, and we know that we and the fans are going to leave everything at the Santiago Bernabeu to qualify.

"Now it's time for a magical night at home to win and secure our place in the final."

Vinicius' first goal saw him calmly slide home from Toni Kroos' delicious throughball, with the latter playing 15 line-breaking passes in the first half - at least 10 more than any other player on the pitch.

Rodrygo, who was fouled by Kim Min-jae for the penalty that led to Madrid's second goal, paid tribute to the 34-year-old.

"We all keep telling him to keep on playing for not just one more season, but many seasons to come yet," he told Movistar. "He's genuinely a maestro with talent which people love to watch, and we all love to play with.

"If we couldn't win, we were determined not to lose. Given what went on, a draw's a good result. We know the Champions League. We're accustomed to matches like this.

"I believe that teams think they've killed us off, and that's when we are at our most dangerous."

Carlo Ancelotti believes Vinicius Junior is constantly developing his attacking output, after the Real Madrid forward delivered again in the Champions League.

Vinicius scored twice as Madrid drew 2-2 with Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final tie on Tuesday.

Those strikes took Vinicius to 31 goal involvements (16 goals, 15 assists) in the Champions League since the start of the 2021-22 campaign, which is more than any other player in the competition in the same time period.

Vinicius' opener came when he cut inside and latched onto an exceptional pass from Toni Kroos, and Ancelotti pointed out how the Brazil international is beginning to change how he attacks.

Speaking to TNT Sports, Ancelotti said: "Vinicius is starting to understand how important it is for him to move inside the pitch and not only close to the line.

"He's learned really well how to move. It was a fantastic pass from Kroos but a fantastic run from Vinicius."

Reflecting on his team's performance, Ancelotti said: "It was an interesting game, an open game of course – as it has to be for a semi-final. I think we could play better, I don’t think we played our best and we had problems in the first half.

"We started to put pressure on in the second half to level the game – it was much better.

"We are comfortable with a low block but we didn’t play with intensity. With a low block you have to have intensity, you have to win duels, second balls. We were too low. We tried to change something.

"The game was difficult at 2-1 down, but then we had the energy and character to equalise – the second part of the second half was really good."

Harry Kane refuted suggestions Champions League glory this season will decide the success of his Bayern Munich move, after Tuesday's 2-2 draw with Real Madrid in the semi-final first leg.

Kane scored from the penalty spot to make it 2-1 to Bayern early in the second half, just four minutes after Leroy Sane had levelled with a thunderous finish at Allianz Arena.

Having finished with his usual ease from 12 yards, Kane became the first English player to be directly involved in 11 goals in a single Champions League campaign.

Kane is the joint-top scorer across Europe's big five leagues in all competitions this season (43 – level with Kylian Mbappe), while the England captain now has the most combined goals and assists of any player (54 – 43 goals and 11 assists).

Regardless of whether Bayern can overcome Madrid in the second leg next week and go all the way in the final, Kane insists his move to Germany is a long-term mission, rather than a one-year aim for success.

When asked on TNT Sports if winning the Champions League would define his Bayern move as a success, Kane responded: "I don't think so.

"I'm here for many years, it's not just a one-off year that I've come for. Of course, the expectation at the start of the year was to win trophies and it hasn't gone our way in the Bundesliga or the cup, but the Champions League is the biggest one of them all.

"If we can somehow get our hands on that one, it'll be an amazing season, but there is a long way to go.

"These are the big games under the lights [that I'm here for]. The atmosphere was incredible. I'm sure at the Bernabeu it'll be the same. It's exactly why I’ve come, I wanted to play in these big games, these big moments, and it's no bigger than next week.

"It'll be tough, we know their history in the competition, but we can take a lot of positives from today. There's a couple of small details that we need to get right because we can get punished in a couple of quick moments, but we can take a lot from this game."

Kane now has 401 goals for club and country, having moved past the quadruple-century mark with his double against Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

Including his well-taken penalty against Madrid, the former Tottenham striker now has a personal-best 43 goals in all competitions this season as well.

Yet his focus remains solely on the next game, with Stuttgart to come on Saturday before the return visit to Madrid.

"It's been a good season [personally] so far, but it's always about the next game, the next big game, and it's next week, away from home against Real Madrid," he added.

"Everything we're fighting for this year is in this competition, so we've got to find a way to get it done. It's going to be tough, the Bernabeu, Real Madrid in the Champions League, but we go there with full belief, it's 0-0 and we go there for the win."

Kane's second-half strike on Tuesday came after Sane had cancelled out an opener from Vinicius Junior, whose late penalty then ensured the shares were spoiled at Allianz Arena.

With the pressure on Bayern's spot-kick, Madrid's Jude Bellingham appeared to offer Kane a few words of advice – though the Bayern striker was in his own space preparing to face Andriy Lunin.

"I don't know what he was saying," Kane added on his England team-mate's quiet word. "I saw him there, mumbling something, but I'll have to ask him what he said.

"Once I'm in that zone I'm just trying to block everything out – I'm sure he was saying something to try and put me off. Thankfully it didn't do anything."

Bayern Munich drew 2-2 against Real Madrid in an exhilarating Champions League semi-final first leg, as Harry Kane set a new record in the competition.

Kane scored from the penalty spot to make it 2-1 to Bayern early in the second half, just four minutes after Leroy Sane had brilliantly restored parity.

That successfully converted spot-kick made Kane the first English player to be directly involved in 11 goals in a single Champions League campaign.

Kane is the joint-top scorer across Europe's big five leagues in all competitions this season (43 – level with Kylian Mbappe), while the England captain now has the most combined goals and assists of any player (54 – 43 goals and 11 assists).

Vinicius Junior scored both of Madrid's goals. His opener came in the 24th minute, with the Brazil forward coolly slotting home from Toni Kroos' delicious throughball.

Kroos, playing against his former club, played 15 line-breaking passes in the first half, at least ten more than any other player on the pitch.

Vinicius' second goal came from 12 yards, with Kim Min-jae having fouled Rodrygo in Bayern's area.

Having sent Manuel Neuer the wrong way, Vinicius marked his 31st direct goal involvement since the start of the 2021-22 campaign (16 goals, 15 assists). That is more goal involvements than any other player in that time.

Jude Bellingham was unable to wield his usual influence on proceedings, creating just one chance and failing to have a shot on what was his 32nd Champions League appearance.

Only Cesc Fabregas (34) has made more Champions League appearances before turning 21 than Bellingham has, with the former Borussia Dortmund star having moved level with Iker Casillas and Roque Santa Cruz.

At the other end of the age spectrum, Muller has now made 150 Champions League appearances for Bayern, becoming just the third player to reach that milestone for a single club in the competition, after Xavi (151 for Barcelona) and Casillas (150 for Real Madrid).

Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior scored twice, including an 83rd-minute penalty, to snatch a 2-2 draw at Bayern Munich in an entertaining Champions League semi-final first leg on Tuesday.

The Brazilian struck against the run of play when he slotted in to give the visitors the lead from Toni Kroos' defence-splitting pass after 24 minutes at Allianz Arena.

Bayern struck twice in four second-half minutes to turn the game around, with Leroy Sane threading home a powerful shot in the 53rd minute and Harry Kane edging his side ahead with a penalty soon after.

Madrid, however, earned a spot-kick of their own when Rodrygo was brought down and Vinicius coolly converted it to equalise, leaving this tie wide open ahead of next week's return leg.

Facing each other for a record eighth time at this stage of the competition, it was Bayern who started well, racking up half a dozen attempts on goal by the 15th minute with Sane and Kane coming close.

Madrid needed only one chance to score though, stunning the home crowd when Kroos sliced open the Bayern defence with a through ball and Vinicius chased it down to beat Manuel Neuer.

Kroos almost added another himself in the 51st minute but his curled shot was palmed wide by Neuer. Instead, it was Bayern who scored two minutes later with a solo effort and shot from Sane for a deserved equaliser.

Their comeback was complete in the just four minutes later when Jamal Musiala was brought down by Lucas Vazquez and Kane sent Andriy Lunin the wrong way to put the home side ahead.

Madrid, chasing a 15th European Cup, levelled in the 83rd minute with Vinicius' penalty to set up a mouth-watering return leg in Madrid next week.

The winners will face either Borussia Dortmund or Paris Saint-Germain, who meet in the second semi-final on Wednesday.

Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior scored twice, including an 83rd-minute penalty, to snatch a 2-2 draw at Bayern Munich in an entertaining Champions League semi-final first leg on Tuesday.

The Brazilian struck against the run of play when he slotted in to give the visitors the lead from Toni Kroos' defence-splitting pass after 24 minutes at Allianz Arena.

Bayern struck twice in four second-half minutes to turn the game around, with Leroy Sane threading home a powerful shot in the 53rd minute and Harry Kane edging his side ahead with a penalty soon after.

Madrid, however, earned a spot-kick of their own when Rodrygo was brought down and Vinicius coolly converted it to equalise, leaving this tie wide open ahead of next week's return leg.

Kim Min-Jae's mindless drag on Madrid forward Rodrygo afforded Carlo Ancelotti's side their leveller seven minutes from time, with Thomas Tuchel's men now needing an unlikely away win to reach the final.

Yet Tuchel will feel a draw was the least Bayern deserved, having dominated the opening stages before a remarkable second-half turnaround displayed their attacking quality in Munich.

Bayern will look to Kane once more for inspiration in Madrid given their talisman has been involved in 11 goals in the competition this season (eight goals, three assists); the most ever by an English player in a single campaign in the Champions League.

However, Tuchel may still be concerned as when avoiding defeat away from home in the first leg of a knockout stage tie in the Champions League, Madrid have progressed on 18 of the previous 19 occasions.

Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has been ruled out of Euro 2024 by Domenico Tedesco, despite making a return to the Real Madrid squad.

The 31-year-old has missed the entire season, and after a setback in March, needed another knee operation.

Carlo Ancelotti said he hoped to have the goalkeeper back for their LaLiga match against Cadiz at the weekend, but has been able to name him on the bench for their Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

Despite Courtois making a return to action before the squads have to be named, Tedesco was clear that he would not be chosen.

Speaking to German media on Tuesday, he said: “On this topic, everything has already been said. I don't want a tit-for-tat situation.

"We are focusing on players who are in good shape."

Marcel Desailly has called on LaLiga to do more to protect Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior and other players who have been targeted by racist abuse.

Vinicius broke down at a press conference earlier this month as he opened up about the abuse he has received from the stands while representing Madrid.

The Brazil international is not alone in that regard, with team-mate Aurelien Tchouameni another example, and World Cup winner Desailly wants more to be done.

"Vinicius has spoken out, but it's not about him - it's about LaLiga and the people who can take action," he told Stats Perform.

"We have the power to change things, but we are not doing enough. Samuel Eto'o had the same issue before.

"Vinicius is one of those who is suffering because the administrative people in charge are not willing to hit harder than they are."

Vinicius has been a key player for LaLiga champions-elect Madrid once again this season with 13 goals and five assists in 23 outings.

Desailly regards Vinicius, who scored the winning goal in the 2022 Champions League final, as one of the finest players of his generation.

"He's a very ambitious player," Desailly said. "I think he's improved a lot because he is now clinical in assisting and finishing.

"When you look at someone like Ousmane Dembele, his stats are not as good.

"Then you look at Jadon Sancho, Bukayo Saka, another who has improved - there is potential for each of those to get close to Vinicius."

Real Madrid always feel respected by every team in the Champions League, so says coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Madrid overcame holders Manchester City on penalties in the quarter-finals to tee up a last-four clash with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich.

City dominated much of the second leg in Manchester, yet after a 4-4 draw on aggregate, it was Ancelotti's team who got over the line.

Fourteen-time European champions Madrid, who allowed Karim Benzema to leave for Saudi Arabia at the end of last season, were not fancied to get past City, but Ancelotti does not think his team have been undervalued in this year's competition.

"Madrid is never undervalued in this competition, because everyone knows what we can do," he said.

"We feel respect from everyone."

City's Bernardo Silva called Madrid a "strange" team, a comment that left Ancelotti nonplussed.

"I don't know. We are not strange," he added.

"I think the weight of the shirt weighs in this competition, like history, but I have nothing to answer Bernardo Silva with.

"He is a fantastic player. Last year [City] had a good time and this year we had a good time. That's football."

When it was put to him that Madrid go into this tie as favourites, Ancelotti replied: "It does not worry me. We have confidence to stand up to a team that has not had a great Bundesliga season, but has knocked out Arsenal.

"It comes from eliminating a very strong team in Europe. In the Champions League, history counts a lot and that works in our favour."

Ancelotti has faced Thomas Tuchel nine times in his career, winning three of those games, losing four and drawing twice, and the Italian anticipates another stern test.

He said: "In terms of quality, they are strong in transition, they can play in different ways and are very dangerous. We are two who do not have a very clear identity. We can both play in different ways."

Tuesday's first leg also marks a return to Munich for Ancelotti, who coached Bayern between 2016 and 2017.

"It is very beautiful, a fantastic city, although unfortunately German has never entered my head," Ancelotti said.

"My son did, he learned very well. Munich is a spectacular city to live in."

Real Madrid's Federico Valverde conceded he is "bitter" about not taking a penalty in Los Blancos' shootout win over Manchester City in the Champions League.

Fourteen-time European champions Madrid progressed to the last four of the competition by overcoming holders City on penalties at the end of a thrilling tie in the quarters.

Luka Modric missed Madrid's first spot-kick, but Andriy Lunin made saves from Bernardo Silva and Mateo Kovacic to help Carlo Ancelotti's team get over the line and into a semi-final meeting with Bayern Munich.

Valverde, who scored a stunning volley in the 3-3 draw in the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, did not take a penalty, and ahead of Tuesday's clash with Bayern, the Uruguayan admitted his regret at not doing so.

"That night I went to bed with the regret of having been able to leave that mark on Real Madrid, of going to the semi-finals with a goal of mine, especially because I am good at penalties," he told reporters.

"But if another team-mate did it, that's fine. But I had a bitter taste, yes.

"Sometimes you have to put aside your ego and pride, recognise that you are very tired and tell the coaching staff that you are not prepared to take a penalty.

"I hope in the future I feel stronger and it doesn't happen again."

Madrid are unbeaten in their last 10 games in the Champions League (W7 D3), all of which have been this season. Only once previously have they had a longer unbeaten run within a single campaign in the competition, going 11 without defeat in the 2016-17 edition (which they would go on to win).

Asked how Madrid's squad are feeling ahead of Tuesday's fixture, Valverde added: "I can talk to you personally: very excited.

"It will be my first time against Bayern in the Champions League and I am happy, looking forward to it.

"Appreciating every moment I spend defending this shield and playing this competition with this shirt."

This is the eighth time Bayern and Madrid have been drawn together in a semi-final in the European Cup/Champions League.

After progressing from four of the first five between 1976 and 2012, Bayern have been eliminated in each of the last two (2013-14 and 2017-18).

Thomas Tuchel has warned his Bayern Munich team they will not only be facing Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals, but also going up against Los Blancos' European "aura".

While Tuchel will leave the Allianz Arena having suffered the ignominy of overseeing Bayern's first failure to win the Bundesliga title since 2012, he could yet bring Europe's top prize to Bavaria.

Bayern reached the last four with a 3-2 aggregate triumph over Arsenal, but they face a daunting task against the team that eliminated holders Manchester City in the last round.

Bayern are winless in their last seven games against Madrid, losing six and drawing one, and Los Blancos have won on their last three trips to the Allianz Arena – the longest winning streak ever recorded by a visiting team at Bayern in European Cup/Champions League history.

Coming up against Madrid in a competition they regard as their own, Tuchel believes, presents an additional challenge. 

"When you're playing against Real Madrid, you're also up against the aura and the legend that surrounds them," Tuchel said at Monday's pre-match press conference.  

"Obviously we need tactics, but also some luck. You can achieve a lot with tactics. The approach is the car, and the players drive it.

"We need to find a good balance and moments where we have solutions. The players also need freedom to bring it to life. 

"But obviously we also need some luck in the game. We need to coax out that luck a bit as well."

Bayern versus Madrid is already the most played fixture in European Cup/Champions League history, taking place 26 times with 24 of those coming in the knockout stages.

Tuchel believes the tie would have been a fitting final, adding: "The semi-final already feels a bit like the final. My approach is to line up like a final. 

"We won't approach it with the background that there's still a game to play. We want to play the game in isolation. We have the freedom, we'll put everything in tomorrow and then we'll see."

Carlo Ancelotti hailed Real Madrid's commitment and desire as they edged closer to securing the LaLiga title with a 1-0 victory at Real Sociedad.

Arda Guler scored the only goal as Los Blancos extended their lead to 14 points over second-placed Barcelona, who host Valencia in their game in hand on Monday.

The 19-year-old was making his first start since arriving from Fenerbahce, as Ancelotti rotated his squad ahead of Madrid's Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich.

And the Italian was pleased by the character demonstrated by his players, who stretched their winning streak to six league matches.

"It was clear that everyone thought we were coming here for a walk," he told reporters. "The only ones who didn't think so were the players. They had commitment and attitude. They had the desire and enthusiasm to keep winning.

"We have a spectacular squad. They have this attitude that they feel like they have to win every game. There are four points left to clinch the LaLiga title, and we are very close."

Guler added on Realmadrid TV: "This is the best club in the world and scoring is one of the best feelings.

"This is Real Madrid, the quality of the players is incredible. We're all always ready to play, and I think we've shown that here. I'm waiting patiently, and I'm still working hard every day."

Ancelotti's rotation meant a first start in eight months for Eder Militao, who marked his return from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee with a clean sheet.

"I've come back to play 90 minutes and I feel like a player again after many months out," the defender said. 

"We have to keep winning, we know that nothing is won yet. We have a big advantage, but we have to keep doing a serious job until the end."

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