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Bayern winger Ribery ruled fit, teamwork key to success for Atletico says Torres

Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery in action against Atletico Madrid's Jose Gimenez

Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery has recovered from a back injury in time for their Champions League semi-final second leg against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday, coach Pep Guardiola said.

The Germans, chasing a treble of titles this season, must overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg in Spain last week if they are to reach their first final since 2013.

“Today Franck trained with us and he is here with us,” Guardiola told reporters on Monday. “He is an option for us tomorrow and that is very good.”

Ribery missed Bayern’s league game on Saturday against Borussia Moenchengladbach and fellow winger Arjen Robben is already sidelined through injury.

Guardiola, whose Bayern have stumbled at semi-final stage in the past two season against Spanish teams, wants to leave after three seasons in charge with the Champions League trophy that has been eluding him in Munich.

“It is the third semi-final in a row for us. It is a real honour,” he said. “We need our best performance to reach the final. We must not think about how many goals we have to score, first we need to defend well and control the game.”

“It is difficult to play against Atletico. They stay very tight. But we will do all we can to fight our way through that. We will try to attack with the whole team and not give away any counter attacks,” he said.

Bayern lost to Real Madrid at the same stage two years ago and Barcelona last year.

“Obviously this game is important but it was equally important against Real and Barcelona,” Guardiola, who will join Manchester City next season.

“But this is a new year and a new opportunity for us.”

Guardiola can also count again on central defender Jerome Boateng who returned to action on Saturday in the Bundesliga after a month-long injury break.

“I don’t know how long he will play. He was long out injured, he played 65 minutes (on Saturday). We will see,” the Spaniard said.

Guardiola said his team had shown it can defend equally well with players like David Alaba and Joshua Kimmich, who are not as tall as Boateng, during his absence.

“We have shown we can attack as well as defend well. We played with Alaba and Kimmich as central defenders in the past two three months and we were very solid and conceded very few goals.”

Atletico beat the Germans 1-0 in last week’s first leg to take a narrow advantage with them to Munich on Tuesday as they look to repeat their 2014 feat of reaching the showpiece match.

Bayern Munich v Atletico Madrid news conference“The most important thing is that we know who we are,” Atletico’s Torres told reporters on Monday. “We are nothing if we are not a team. As a team we can beat anyone.”

Atletico have peaked at just the right time, going into the game with a seven-match winning streak in all competitions while keeping six straight clean sheets.

They are also level on points with La Liga leaders Barcelona, albeit in second place on their head-to-head record, with two games remaining.

“We are the team that concedes few goals in Europe. We have also been scoring almost in every game from mid-season to now,” the 32-year-old Torres said. “We will play to win. We will give everything to fulfil our dream.”

“We want to keep being a team and this is our mentality. We die for each other and every game is a battle. Bayern are probably the best team we have faced this season.”

Atletico coach Diego Simeone will have defender Diego Godin back after he recovered from a hamstring injury but he declined to reveal if the experienced Uruguayan would play.

“We have four strong central defenders available,” said the Argentine coach, who has had great success at the club including winning La Liga and the Europa League, with the Champions League the last major prize missing from his collection.

“The work we have done these past four-and-a-half-years is gradually paying off. We have young players and it is really fantastic to work with them,” said Simeone.


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