Julen Lopetegui


Porto coach Julen Lopetegui says his side will need to be the perfect protagonists when they host German giants Bayern Munich in Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final, first leg. 

Porto are seeking a first semi-final appearance since their 2004 run to the final, when they won the Champions League under Jose Mourinho, against the five-times European champions from Bavaria.

Porto routed Swiss champions Basel 4-0 at home in the last 16, second-leg, having drawn 1-1 in Portugal and Lopetegui said his side will not adopt the role of the underdog against Munich.

Bayern are missing a host of stars including wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, plus German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, but the Bundesliga giants could still name five World Cup winners at the Estadio do Dragao.

“We are talking about one of the best Bayern teams in the history of the club,” said Lopetegui, who will be without injured star striker Jackson Martinez.

“We have a great respect for Bayern, but we have the ambition to be protagonists.

“We have a huge challenge ahead of us.

“Bayern seek possession and normally they get it.

“We have to take care of the ball very well when we have it, use it perfectly.

The Portuguese club’s last quarter-final appearance was in 2008/09 when they were knocked out by Manchester United.

Lopetegui is proud that his side are bidding for a last four place having only qualified for this season’s Champions League by beating Olympique Lyonnais in a play-off.

“I would like to remind everyone that we started this journey without a ticket, we had to earn it,” said the 48-year-old, a former Barcelona team-mate of Bayern coach Pep Guardiola.

“We don’t stop to think about who the favourites are, we focus on who we are playing, in this case Bayern, and doing our best.” – Agence France-Presse

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