Jerome Boateng joined Jupp Heynckes in the pre-match press conference ahead of Bayern Munich’s Champions League semifinals clash against Real Madrid. Keeping Cristiano Ronaldo and company at bay is an incredibly tall order for even the best defenses in the world, but Boateng is confident that Bayern possess what it takes.
During the presser, Boateng made sure to give Ronaldo all the credit he deserves, but argued that if Bayern are all on the same page, they can withstand everything Ronaldo and Madrid throw at them (via AZ):
He is an incredible athlete. I think he has almost no weaknesses in his finishing. We can only stop him together as a team, but of course their whole team is dangerous. We want to lay the cornerstone of our advancement to the final tomorrow.
Since Bayern have the home leg first, Boateng knows that they have to play their own brand of football, despite the fact that Madrid will try to dictate the pace of the match and control possession, as they so often do:
They play attractive soccer, have great players. They’ve been playing together for years. You can see it—they’re a band of brothers. We want to stand firm and play our game tomorrow, but we also know that it will be a very difficult game. We also know, though, that we have a strong team.
Joshua Kimmich is also relishing the opportunity to go up against Ronaldo and Madrid, and will be part-taking in his first ever Champions League semifinal. He enjoyed only a brief taste of playing against Ronaldo in last year’s quarter-finals, making a brief cameo of only ten minutes. The 23-year-old, speaking to SportBild, likewise praised Ronaldo’s quality while arguing that the team must make a collective effort to shut him down:
We’ll analyse that as a team. You can shut down a player like Ronaldo only as a team anyway. He’s a goal-machine; he has insane numbers. We have to ensure that he can’t continue to add to those numbers.
It’s no secret that Ronaldo has the ability to shift his position along Madrid’s attacking line and score on a single touch, making him especially dangerous, but Kimmich is resolved to set aside his immense respect for the attacker and step up his game:
Lately he plays further forward, not so much on the left wing anymore. But when he comes, I will try to challenge him. It’s obvious he’s one of the best in the world—for many the best—with Messi. You can debate it all day. But so what? Having too much respect doesn’t help you !