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Benzema, Bale left on Real bench as James starts for Bayern


Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane oversees a training session of his players on the eve of the UEFA Champions League semi-final first-leg football match FC Bayern Munich v Real Madrid in Munich, southern Germany on April 24, 2018. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

Zinedine Zidane left out both Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema from Real Madrid’s starting line-up for Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg at Bayern Munich.The holders started with Isco and Lucas Vazquez either side of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Having already left Benzema on the bench for the quarter-final second leg against Juventus, Real coach Zidane dropped Bale as well.Captain Sergio Ramos returned to Real’s starting line-up after missing the dramatic return game with Juve through suspension.

There were no such surprises in the Bayern line-up.

James Rodriguez, who is on loan from Real, started for the Germans against his parent club with midfielder Thiago Alcantara left on the bench.

Set-piece expert David Alaba failed to recover from a thigh injury and Rafinha took his place at left-back.

Bayern head coach Jupp Heynckes opted for experience on the wings in Arjen Robben, 34, and Franck Ribery, 35, playing out wide with Robert Lewandowski through the middle.

Bayern Munich (4-1-4-1):

Sven Ulreich; Joshua Kimmich, Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, Rafinha; Javi Martinez; Arjen Robben, Thomas Mueller (capt), James Rodriguez, Franck Ribery; Robert Lewandowski

Coach: Jupp Heynckes (GER)

Real Madrid (4-3-3):

Keylor Navas; Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos (capt), Raphael Varane, Marcelo; Luka Modric, Casemiro, Toni Kroos; Isco, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lucas Vazquez

Coach: Zinedine Zidane (FRA)

Referee: Bjoern Kuipers (NED)

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