No defenders, no problem for Bayern`s implacable Van Gaal

Munich: Bayern Munich coach Louis van Gaal barely has enough fit defenders for a full squad for Tuesday`s Champions League semi-final second leg in Lyon but the implacable Dutchman sees that as little obstacle.

Van Gaal told a press conference on Monday he did not know if injured defenders Martin Demichelis, Daniel Van Buyten and Diego Contento will have recovered in time to defend Bayern`s 1-0 advantage from the first leg.

He added Ukrainian Anatoliy Tymoshchuk has not even come to France.

"He phoned me this morning to tell me he was sick so he stayed home," Van Gaal said a few minutes after Bayern`s plane landed at Lyon airport.

"I`ve come here with 17 players and I can only field 11 so if I miss the three others, I`ll still have 14 available players," the seemingly imperturbable Van Gaal said.

Bayern have the worst defensive record of the four teams still in the race in the Champions League, having conceded 13 goals this season on the European stage, but Van Gaal said the most important thing to do on Tuesday would probably be to score, not to defend a one-goal advantage.

"We are not the kind of team whose aim is just to avoid conceding goals when we enter the field. I`ve never told my players to play like that since the beginning of the season and I won`t start tomorrow," he said.

Fellow Dutchman Mark van Bommel, who missed the first leg through suspension, said he was not too fazed at the prospect of his side leaking goals.

"We have often conceded goals in away games this season but that`s not a problem because even if we concede six goals tomorrow and we score five, we`re through," the Bayern captain said.

Van Gaal said he was confident his team would overcome their injury woes thanks to their German mentality, which helped them knock Fiorentina and Manchester United out on away goals in previous rounds.

"Our willpower is just incredible, we have always managed to stay alive this season even during games when we were trailing," he said.

"When I was a coach in the Netherlands and my team had to play against a German one, I used to tell my players that they had to be ready to play until the very end of the game."

"Our team is made up of German players and of foreign players who have been playing in Germany for quite a long time and are now immersed in this special German mentality," he said.

Bureau Report

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