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Illness may rule Gareth Bale out of Bayern Munich clash

Updated: Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 15:52 | Comments

Gareth Bale (L) has been suffering from flu in lead up to the semi-final
Gareth Bale (L) has been suffering from flu in lead up to the semi-final

Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale could miss tonight's Champions League semi-final first leg at home to Bayern Munich due to illness.

Bale, who has been suffering from flu, trained with the rest of the squad earlier on Tuesday but had not been able to join up with them later at their hotel, according to reports in Spanish media.

Real medical staff had recommended he remain at home to avoid infecting his team mates.

After a season disrupted by a series of minor injuries, Wales international Bale has come into form in recent months and scored a brilliant winning goal against Barcelona in last week's King's Cup final.

Real are chasing a record-extending 10th European crown, while holders Bayern are bidding to become the first team to retain the Champions League title.

Meanwhile, Bayern coach Pep Guardiola has admitted his team's desire to win games dropped after clinching the Bundesliga, but believes they are returning to their peak going into the clash against Real Madrid.

The Bavarian outfit wrapped up the German title in record time at the end of March, but have since surrendered their unbeaten run in the league – winning just three of their last seven games in all competitions.

"In 27 games we conceded 13 goals and then seven in our next three matches after that, so our focus dropped a bit because we had already won the league," Guardiola said at the pre-match press conference.

"Normally, when you win a title, you lose your desire and focus a little" - Pep Guardiola

Despite the blip in form, Guardiola praised the overall hunger of his team, who stand the chance of winning the treble for a second consecutive season.

"Normally, when you win a title, you lose your desire and focus a little - you lose this zeal. That is why I am so proud of my team, because last year they won everything and the coach changed and they accepted my little changes and this year we have won the Bundesliga, we are in final of the cup and semi-finals of the Champions League."

Saturday's victory at Eintracht Braunschweig was Bayern's first win in four games, and, although the former Barcelona boss was not entirely happy with his team's performance, he saw positive signs.

"I was happy in the last game because we didn't play well but we recovered our mentality and spirit to win and I hope (on Wednesday) we will maintain this level because in Madrid we have to have great team spirit to get to the final. We worked a lot. When we didn't play well, we were solid and fought."

History is on Guardiola's side on his return to the Bernabeu, where he never lost in six visits as coach of Real's arch rivals Barcelona.

However, he played down the significance of his record in the Spanish capital.

"My record here was with another team, in a different situation and in a different time," he said. "It has nothing to do with Bayern. We will have to produce an outstanding performance to play. That is what you must always do when you play Real Madrid, especially in a semi-final."

Bayern have beaten Madrid in four of the five European Cup semi-finals the two teams have contested.

Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has overcome a calf injury sustained in a 3-0 defeat to Borrusia Dortmund and is expected to start.

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