Allianz Arena, Munich
Wednesday 5th Nov, 2014, 19:45 GMT
Bayern Munich host AS Roma at the Allianz Arena looking to seal their qualification from Group E. Pep Guardiola could not have asked for anything more from his side in the away game at the Stadio Olimpico but Bayern would be advised not to underestimate Roma. The difference in class between the two teams was painfully visible in the first half an hour of the game and the relentless pressure on Rudi Garcia’s side yielded five first half goals which settled the contest. Bayern were made to work hard for their 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund at the weekend and Franck Ribery’s decisive intervention after coming on as a sub was another reason to cheer for the Bavarians. Guardiola would like his side to improve their conversion rate as they were guilty of missing some gilt-edged chances on Saturday.
Roma, on the other hand, were comfortably beaten by a rejuvenated Napoli team in a tense Derby Del Sole fixture on Saturday. Rudi Garcia’s men looked second best in every department and in all honesty they were lucky to concede only two goals. Garcia will be a worried man ahead of this daunting trip to the German champions. It will be a tough ask to recover from the psychological blow of conceding 7 goals in their own home ground but Roma still control their own destiny in this group. Ahead of the potential group decider with Manchester City, Garcia will be hoping to regain some confidence and improve their current form which has been pretty sluggish.
Team news and tactical brief
Mehdi Benatia seems to have finally found his stride in Guardiola’s system. His performance in the 7-1 win at Olimpico demonstrated his quality and he will continue to marshal the defence plus build play from the back. Juan Bernat and Arjen Robben will look to make inroads down the flanks which worked to devastating effects in the first leg. Xabi Alonso has been in superb form this season and his presence has been vital in Bayern’s system. Alongside Phillip Lahm, the Spaniard has been the focal point of Bayern’s module.
The asymmetric shape in Bayern’s playing system has David Alaba almost playing as a box to box midfielder even though he starts as a central defender in a 3 man backline. Because of this the left hand side of attack seems a bit more aggressive than the right. On the right, Robben will once again torment Roma’s fullback. Coupled with Philip Lahm, Robben always has an extra man on the overlap which tends to distract the defence and allows him to cut inside and shoot on goal. World Cup winners Mario Gotze and Thomas Muller forming a trident upfront with Robert Lewandowski have been decisively brilliant so far this season. Gotze has a roaming role in Guardiola’s scheme of things and is very hard to mark as he continually finds himself in dangerous positions in the attacking third. Lewandowski set up a goal as a target man, got a brilliant header from inside the box a fortnight ago and he will be a constant nuisance disrupting Roma’s midfield in particular Radja Nainggolan.
Probable Starting Line-up (3-4-2-1): Neuer(GK); Boateng, Benatia, Alaba; Bernat, Alonso, Lahm, Robben; Muller, Gotze; Lewandowski
Rudi Garcia has been trying to release the pressure from his players ahead of this match but even he understands that Roma are not in their best form coming into this vital clash. They were very sluggish against a highly charged up Napoli side on Saturday and looked well off the pace. Lorenzo Insigne and Jose Callejon caused plenty of problems to the Roma fullbacks which look like a weak spot in Roma’s system. Rudi Garcia did not select Douglas Maicon for this game and Ashley Cole was probably the worst player on the pitch in the 7-1 loss in October. He is unlikely to play any part in this game and Garcia will use Greek internationals Vasilis Torisidis and Jose Holebas as fullbacks while Kostas Manolas and Daniele De Rossi will start in defence.
Miraljem Pjanic has looked a shadow of the player he was last year and it is no coincidence that Roma have looked sluggish in the middle of the park during this poor phase for the Bosnian. Seydou Keita, who enjoyed four wonderful years under Pep Guardiola’s tutelage in Barcelona, will be back in the starting lineup after missing three games with an injury picked up during the international break alongside the only impressive player for Roma this weekend Radja Nainggolan. Daniele De Rossi will play a vital role as a central defender. Gervinho caused major concerns for the Bayern defence two weeks ago and he will definitely enjoy the space offered by the high defensive line deployed by Guardiola. But more often than not the Ivorian is let down by his finishing which might tempt Rudi Garcia to start Mattia Destro alongside him. Francesco Totti did not look in good shape and was very subdued in the 65 minutes played at the San Paolo which could see him dropping to the bench for this game.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-3): De Sanctis(GK); Holebas, Manolas, De Rossi, Torosidis; Pjanic, Nainggolan, Keita; Iturbe, Destro, Gervinho
Bayern Munich enjoyed a 7-1 win at Roma on MD3 of the 2014-15 Champions League; the third time that they have scored seven goals in a Champions League game.
This 1-7 reverse was Roma’s joint-heaviest Champions League defeat; alongside their 1-7 loss to Man Utd in April 2007.
Roma have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last 15 Champions League away games.
Bayern have enjoyed four successive CL wins against Italian opponents; netting 14 goals and conceding just three.
Thomas Müller has been involved in 19 goals in his last 26 Champions League appearances (15 goals, four assists).
Müller now has 23 Champions League goals; the only German to have scored more in the competition is Mario Gomez (26).
No side have attempted more shots on target in the Champions League than Bayern Munich (27) this season.
Roma have registered only one draw in their last 16 meetings against German opponents, winning seven times(L9).
Players to Watch Out For
Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)
The Dutchman was a constant terror down the right flank in Rome and after netting the winner late in the second half against Dortmund on Saturday, Robben will be a man full of confidence. Guardiola’s system with darting wingbacks has helped Robben find even more space and this will be the biggest concern for Roma.
Daniele De Rossi (AS Roma)
Daniele De Rossi was rested against Napoli as Rudi Garcia wanted his vice-captain to be fully fit for this crucial clash. Roma were run ragged by the Germans but De Rossi’s inclusion could stem the rot. He will sit deep and try to stifle the free flowing movements of Bayern. Tough task ahead for Roma but if anyone can inspire them on Wednesday, then it has to be Danielino.
Bayern Munich 3–1 AS Roma
Bayern Munich should continue their run of good form and pick up a comfortable win to seal qualification from this group. Roma might pose some questions but Bayern have something extra and are definitely a step ahead of the Italian club.
Blast From the Past
Roma held on for most of this tie in 2010 but were ultimately undone by a piece of magic from Thomas Muller and then Miroslav Klose settled the match two minutes later with a trademark headed goal.