Flu keeps Bale on bench for Bayern clash

Flu keeps Bale on bench for Bayern clash

Struggling with flu, Gareth Bale had to make do with a place on Real Madrid's bench for their Champions League semi-final, first leg against Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.

Real Madrid's forward Gareth Bale (C) practices with teammates at the Valdebebas training center in Madrid on April 22, 2014

However, Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Los Blancos' starting line-up after missing Real's last four games due to a hamstring injury.

Ronaldo will be aiming to build on his record-equalling 14 goals in the Champions League this season against the defending European champions.

Bale has been suffering from flu for the past few days, but could still make an impact as a substitute.

The Welshman's absence means Isco will start in midfield with Angel di Maria moving to the right side of a front three.

Bayern boss Pep Guardiola goes with a similar shape as captain Philipp Lahm starts in midfield rather than at right-back to try and nullify the threat of Ronaldo.

Lahm is joined in central midfield by fellow German internationals Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos as there is no place for Javi Martinez or Mario Goetze.

Mario Mandzukic leads the attack with Franck Ribery and former Real winger Arjen Robben on either flank.

Starting line-ups

Real Madrid (4-3-3)

Iker Casillas (capt); Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Fabio Coentrao; Xabi Alonso, Luka Modric, Isco; Angel di Maria, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo

Coach: Carlo Ancelotti (ITA)

Bayern Munich (4-3-3)

Manuel Neuer; Rafinha, Jerome Boateng, Dante, David Alaba; Philipp Lahm (capt), Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos; Arjen Robben, Mario Mandzukic, Franck Ribery

Coach: Pep Guardiola (ESP)

Referee: Howard Webb (ENG)

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