Real Madrid star Gareth Bale is set to miss the crucial Champions League match against Bayer Munich on Tuesday night (18 April) after having failed to recover from a calf injury. Zinedine Zidane has confirmed the big blow in his press conference but was optimistic of having him back for the Sunday's visit of Barcelona.
The Champions League winners secured an impressive 2-1 advantage at the Allianz Arena last week thanks to a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo in the second half.
However, the win came at a price for Real Madrid as Bale was forced off in the 59th minute after suffering a problem in his calf.
Zidane then suggested that he only replaced Bale as a precaution as he did not want to take any risk with the Wales international ahead of the coming crucial encounters with Bayern and Barcelona.
However, the former Tottenham Hotspur star missed the weekend's win over Sporting Gijon and will also be out of action when Real Madrid host Bayern on Tuesday night for the second leg of the Champions League quarter-finals.
"Gareth has worked very hard to return after three months on the sidelines. He returned with a lot enthusiasm but now he has some niggles. I hope it is nothing and that in a few days he will be back with us," Zidane confirmed in the press conference ahead of the game. "Tomorrow (against Bayern) he is not going to play because we do not want to risk him but I hope that in a few days he will be back. He has worked hard and deserves to be with us in the last part of the season."
Bale has failed to recover his best from since returning to action from a serious ankle injury which kept him on the sideline for three months. However, the news is still a massive blow for Zidane as the Real Madrid boss has reiterated many times that the Welshman, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema are "untouchable" in his line-up when they are fit.
Marco Asensio replaced the former Tottenham star at Bayern last week, but Isco could be the chosen one to take his place on Tuesday night after the former Malaga star scored a brace during Real Madrid's 3-2 win over Sporting Gijon on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Nacho is ready to keep his place alongside Sergio Ramos in the heart of the defence as Raphaël Varane and Pepe also remain on the sidelines.
The two defender are also expected to miss the Sunday's visit of Barcelona but Zidane suggested that Bale has still chances to recover on time to face the club archenemies: "I hope Gareth can be with us [for El Clásico] but I cannot be sure. We go day by day."
Los Blancos will arrive to El Clásico with a three-point gap over Barcelona and with one game in hand. Yet, a defeat could still give the Catalans hope to revalidate the title ahead of the last five games of the season.