Despite, between them, scoring eight of Bayern Munich’s goals in an incredible 9-2 victory over Hamburg on Saturday, Claudio Pizarro, Arjen Robben and Xherdan Shaqiri are all expected to have to settle for places on the bench against Juventus.
Pizarro can perhaps count himself the most unfortunate to miss out on the first leg of his side’s Champions League quarterfinal having scored four goals in that memorable victory. But Bayern’s leading scorer Mario Mandzukic is set to return, alongside Franck Ribery and Thomas Muller.
Bayern’s only absentees are the suspended Javi Martinez and long-term injury victim Holger Badstuber.
With a 20 point lead in the Bundesliga, Bayern are able to put virtually all their focus on going one better than last season’s agonizing Champions League final defeat to Chelsea in their own Allianz Arena. An impressive 3-1 victory away to Arsenal in the last round furthered Bayern’s reputation as one of the competition favorites, but manager Jupp Heynckes believes that the tie with Juventus is evenly matched.
“They do not play the typical catenaccio any more -- they play a very good, defensive style of play with a lot of creativity,” he said, according to UEFA’s official Web site. “It will be a top-quality match between two equal teams. It will be a high-class game -- a typical Champions League quarter-final.”
Juventus’ 2-1 win over Inter Milan on Saturday maintained their nine point lead in Serie A, meaning that, for the Old Lady too, the Champions League can take priority. Mirko Vucinic missed that victory with a fever, but, having returned to training yesterday, he could return to the lineup in Munich. Despite Alessandro Matri and Fabio Quagliarella finding the target last time out, Vucinic may lead the line on his own, if passed fit, with Paul Pogba reinforcing the midfield and Claudio Marchisio pushing forward.
“We will see who is going to start up front -- it may be another midfielder,” Conte said. “We have to stay disciplined tactically and play with lots of commitment. Italian teams normally play a very disciplined type of football. I also want my team to take the game to them.”
Juventus are in the quarterfinals of the Champions League for the first time since the Calciopoli scandal in 2006. They last met Bayern in the group stage of the competition back in 2009 when a resounding 4-1 defeat took the German side through at Juventus’s expense.
Bayern Munich (probable)
D: Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Alaba
M: Schweinsteiger, Luiz Gustavo
Muller, Kroos, Ribery
D: Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini
M: Lichtsteiner, Pirlo, Peluso
Betting Odds: Bayern Munich are 8/13 favorites with Bet 365 to get a victory in the first leg at the Allianz Area. A Juventus win is available at 5/1, with a draw on offer at 31/10.
Where to watch: The first leg of the Champions League quarterfinal will kick-off at 2.45 p.m. Live coverage will be provided by the Fox Soccer Plus, with a live stream available at Fox Soccer 2Go.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.