• Champions League

Bale fit to face Bayern

ESPN staff
April 28, 2014
Bale: Cristiano was a massive reason I came here

Gareth Bale says he is ready to start Tuesday's Champions League semi-final second leg at Bayern Munich.

Bale has been hit by a persistent flu bug since scoring a dramatic solo winner in the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona, managing 20 minutes in last week's 1-0 first leg win over Bayern at the Bernabeu and then watching Saturday's 4-0 La Liga win at home to Osasuna from the stands.

But the forward told Monday's pre-match news conference in Munich that he was fit and raring to go at the Allianz Arena.

"I feel good," Bale said. "I have had a few days training to recover and get going again. I am hoping to play tomorrow and looking forward to it."

Much of the talk among pundits and fans in Madrid has been about whether Bale might have a double role in the game, having to fill in as a narrow midfielder when Bayern have the ball and then spring forward into attack as a winger when Madrid win it back and counter.

But Bale said he has yet to receive any detailed tactical instructions from Carlo Ancelotti.

"We have not really spoken about the game tomorrow yet," he said. "We all know it is a massive game, with a lot at stake. We will be fully prepared, 100 percent ready to go out and give it our best shot. We obviously prefer to attack, to go forward. But tomorrow we will have to defend well, every player will give 100 percent to qualify for the final."

Asked what his superb solo winner late against Barca had meant to him personally, Bale said he was just happy to have scored the winner and picked up the trophy.

"It was obviously great to score the goal," he said. "I do not really remember too much about it to be honest. You are just in the moment, but it was great to score the winner, to win the competition, it meant a lot to everybody. I am happy to be here and really enjoying my football at the moment."

That Copa victory could be the first step to the club's first treble in its history, with Ancelotti's side still in contention for the La Liga title and now just one game away from the Champions League final in Lisbon. However Bale said neither he nor his team-mates were yet looking too far ahead.

"It has been a good season so far, we are happy to be in this position," the 24-year-old said. "There is still a lot to work to be one. We just go one game at a time. I do not feel we have qualified yet, we still have a very very hard game here against Bayern to come. It will be difficult game no matter what. The score is 1-0, which does not really make too much difference. We are looking forward to it."

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