In the second leg of the Champions League semifinal against Bayern, Ancelotti maintains Lunin as Madrid’s goalkeeper

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Carlo Ancelotti walks on the training ground

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti is playing it safe with his choice of goalkeeper for the second leg of the Champions League semifinal against Bayern Munich on Wednesday. He’s sticking with Andriy Lunin despite Thibaut Courtois’ return from injury last weekend.

Ancelotti confirmed on Tuesday that Lunin will start at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, even though Courtois performed well in the 3-0 win over Cadiz on Saturday, which helped Madrid secure the Spanish league title.

Courtois did impressively in his first match since injuring his left knee in August, just before the start of the season. He then suffered a further setback in March with a meniscus injury in his right knee when he was close to returning.

“Lunin will play tomorrow,” Ancelotti said Tuesday. “Courtois needs time to fully recover. He played against Cadiz after training very well and had an excellent game, showing security and confidence, but he needs more time to regain full fitness.”

Lunin has performed well since stepping in for Courtois. The 25-year-old Ukrainian has secured the starting position ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga, the former Chelsea player who is Madrid’s other reserve goalkeeper.

But Lunin recently made a couple of mistakes in the “clasico” against Barcelona, prompting criticism and reigniting the discussion about who should start.

Andriy Lunin

Madrid and Bayern drew 2-2 in the first leg in Munich last week. The Spanish powerhouse, seeking a record-extending 15th European title, is trying to reach its 18th European Cup final, and a ninth in the Champions League era.

Bayern, a six-time European Cup champion, is making its first semifinal appearance since winning the Champions League in 2019-20.

“Real Madrid and Bayern are similar clubs, both have a great tradition and history in the European Cup,” Ancelotti said. “We also respect them because they did very well and better than us in the first leg.

Both teams play very well in transitions because we have quality and fast players. They are the two most dangerous teams in Europe in this sense, but if you have the right balance, you can manage the risk well.”

Madrid has won all but one of its 24 previous European knockout matches in which it drew the first leg away from home — the exception coming in a 1990-91 European Cup quarterfinal against Spartak Moscow.

Bayern, meanwhile, comes to the Spanish capital without a victory in seven away games against Madrid — with six losses and a draw — since a 1-0 win in the 2000-01 Champions League semifinals.


By James Brown

A passionate and driven individual currently pursuing a Bachelor of Technology (BTech) degree in Computer Science and Engineering (CSE). Born on 06 February, hails from Raipur, where their journey into the world of technology and creativity began.

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