Al-Hilal players to arrive in Tokyo on Sunday for AFC Champions League final second leg

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal will arrive in the Japanese capital Tokyo on Sunday Nov. 17 to prepare for their AFC Champions League final second leg. (Twitter: @AlHilal_FC)
Updated 16 November 2019

Al-Hilal players to arrive in Tokyo on Sunday for AFC Champions League final second leg

  • Al-Hilal’s director of football Saud Kariri said that anything is possible
  • Blues captain Mohammad Al-Shalhoub said the players were unfortunate not to be further ahead

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal will arrive in the Japanese capital Tokyo on Sunday Nov. 17 to prepare for their AFC Champions League final second leg against Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds at Saitama Stadium.
Al-Hilal enter the second leg under less pressure than their Japanese counterpart, having secured a narrow 1-0 win in the first leg in Riyadh last Sunday.
Al-Hilal players remain optimistic about the final, according to sources, and are looking to avenge losses in 2014 and 2017 finals, when they lost 1-0 in Australia and went down to next week’s opponents Urawa.
Blues captain Mohammad Al-Shalhoub said the players were unfortunate not to be further ahead after the game in Riyadh after wasting many opportunities and coming out with one goal, stressing that they are required to concentrate more in Saitama.
“We will be well-prepared to play against Urawa in the second leg through the camp we will set up in Japan to win the final,” he said.
Al-Hilal’s director of football Saud Kariri said that anything is possible during the 90-minute game at the Saitama Stadium, adding: “We hope our players are lucky to invest well in the opportunities and make it difficult for our opponent to score an early goal.”
The 2019 AFC Champions League Final at Saitama Stadium is expected to see a huge crowd, especially after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced four airplanes will transport Al-Hilal’s fans to support the players in Japan.


Kimmich: Bayern need to stay ‘hungry’ for Champions League bid

Updated 09 July 2020

Kimmich: Bayern need to stay ‘hungry’ for Champions League bid

  • Under head coach Flick, Bayern have won all 11 games since the season resumed in mid-May

BERLIN: Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich says the double-winning German champions must stay “fully focused and greedy” for more silverware during their two-week holiday before launching their assault on the Champions League.

“Now it’s time to recharge our batteries and then tackle the Champions League with full focus and greed,” the 25-year-old told magazine Sport Bild.

Head coach Hans-Dieter Flick sent Bayern on a two-week holiday after winning the German Cup last Saturday before fine-tuning their preparations for the Champions League.

After completing the double with a 4-2 cup final win over Leverkusen, Bundesliga champions Bayern are on a 17-match winning streak dating back to February.

Under Flick, Bayern have won all 11 games since the season resumed in Germany in mid-May amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Bayern are chasing a treble and are among the favorites in Europe after routing Chelsea 3-0 in London in the last 16, first leg, last February before the Champions League halted due to COVID-19.

Bayern still need to finish the tie to reach the quarterfinals and the draw for the remaining rounds in the knockout stages takes place this Friday. Kimmich called on his teammates to keep training during their break to maintain the “hunger” for the Champions League finals in Lisbon next month.

“It will be decisive how we return from vacation: We want to keep that feeling, that hunger,” Kimmich added.

Having stumbled last November, when Flick succeeded Niko Kovac who was sacked following a 5-1 thrashing by Frankfurt, Bayern are now in great form.

Robert Lewandowski has scored 51 goals this season, including 34 in the Bundesliga and is the Champions League’s top-scorer with 11.

Behind the Poland striker, Thomas Mueller has 25 assists, including a record 21 in the Bundesliga.

Kimmich has bossed the defensive midfield alongside Germany teammate Leon Goretzka and suggests Bayern have developed a mental edge.

“In the last two seasons, mentality has been the most important factor in winning the German league title,” said Kimmich.

“FC Bayern may be ahead of other teams in this respect.”