It was merely a slip of the tongue, but it lowered the tension on the eve of FC Bayern München's crucial Champions League quarter-final clash with SL Benfica.

After extoling the qualities of the Portuguese side's front pairing of Jonas and Kostas Mitroglu, Bayern custodian Manuel Neuer appeared to have convinced himself that keeping them quiet on Tuesday night is a somewhat utopian notion. "They will score," he said, before realising what words had just spluttered out of his mouth. "They will try to score," he rephrased, with a grin.

Prolific Portuguese

Bayern are treating their last-eight rivals with the respect they warrant, and Neuer's errant affirmation was perhaps more than just a Freudian slip. "They've scored 48 goals between them," he said. "But we've not just been focusing on their forwards, but on their overall approach to away games." The 30-year-old took a deep breath, before adding: "they've got some truly remarkable players. It's going to be tough."

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© gettyimages / Adam Pretty

Tough but not impossible, with Neuer revealing just a little of what they had studied about their next continental opponents, and what could well be a key to victory. "They defend high up the field," he said. "And that could open up gaps for us." Gaps for the likes of Douglas Costa, Franck Ribery and Robert Lewandowski to penetrate into. And you could see the Brazilian winger already licking his lips. "I've never been so far in this competition," said the former FC Shakhtar Donetsk winger. "This is the happiest time of my career."

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It could get even happier, if Bayern show they have done their homework and eliminate a Portuguese team in the quarter-finals for the second year running. Last year they progressed thanks to a 6-1 win over Porto on home soil, but not even that would be a perfect result for Neuer on Tuesday. "With the away goals rule, it's always an advantage to win the first game and keep a clean sheet," he said. A 6-0 would leave him and many others duly satisfied.

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