Allianz Arena, Munich
Wednesday 21st April, 2015, 20:45 GMT
Bayern Munich host FC Porto in the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinals on Tuesday, in what will be a do-or-die match for Pep Guardiolaa s men. A surprise 3-1 defeat for the German giants at Porto last week leaves them with no scope for error this time around.
Bayern come into the fixture on the back of a comfortable 2-0 win at Hoffenheim, but have a depleted squad at the moment. Mehdi Benatia, David Alaba, Javi Martinez, Tom Starke and Arjen Robben are all on the sidelines and will play no part in the tie. Franck Ribery and Bastian Schweinsteiger may be available for the fixture, although both will not be expected to start the game.
Having made the semi-finals every year since 2012, Bayern know that the task will not be easy this time after falling 3-1 down in the first leg. Outplayed by Portoa s energy and pressing, they will have to alter their game of building from the back to maintain hopes of progressing. Individual errors and static build-up were duly punished by their hosts last week, following which, a more direct attacking game should be Bayerna s game plan. Knowing the importance of the fixture, Guardiola commented a We have to take more risks. That is normal after the game in Porto. I am optimistic and realistica .
Robert Lewandowski has been in top form this month and Bayern will be reliant on his smart play inside the box. Thiago and Sebastian Rode were a few bright sparks in the first leg and will once again look to provide the frontline with quality service and put Porto under threat right from kickoff.
Possible lineup (4-3-3) : Neuer-Rafinha-Boateng-Badstuber-Bernat-Lahm-Rode-Thiago-Gotze-Muller-Lewandowski
Manager Julen Lopetegui perfectly summarized how Porto will face their biggest game of the season yet a The way we approach the game will remain the same. We are a team without any big surprises and quite predictable: when we have the ball we want to attack; when we don’t have the ball we want to get it back. I don’t waste energy and time thinking about what Bayern will do. We need to focus on ourselves.a
Porto will have to do without first choice full-backs Alex Sandro and Danilo, both of whom are suspended following yellow cards picked up in the first leg, which means either Bruno Martins-Indi or Ivan Marcano will start at left back.
Porto will hope to snatch a goal early on to pile the pressure on their hosts to find at least 3 without reply, which would all but send them through. Time on the ball will be scarce, and the defence will have to be on top form to ward of waves of Bayern attacks. The midfield trio of Casemiro, Herrera and Torres were instrumental in nullifying the Bayern attack last week, and will have their hands full yet again at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday. Yacine Brahimi didna t have a whole lot of work to do in attack last time, but Bayern will nevertheless be mindful of his pace on the counter, which may turn out to be the deciding factor of the game.
Lewandowskia s battle with the physical center-back pairing of Maicon and Marcano should be an interesting duel to watch, as will Jackson Martinez and Quaresma against Holger Badstuber.
Cristian Tello is the only absentee through injury.
Possible lineup (4-5-1) : Fabiano-Ricardo-Maicon-Marcano-Martins Indi-Casemiro-Herrera-Torres-Quaresma-Brahimi-Martinez
Watch out for
Following a superb performance (and great goal) against Hoffenheim over the weekend, the energetic Bayern midfielder could be the answer to Portoa s tough pressing. His contribution both offensively and defensively should be vital in Bayerna s quest to reach the semi-finals.
In a game where Porto will be expected to have less chances at goal, the skipper will have to make it count whenever these chances do come. A composed goal last week and great linkup play in general made him a nuisance for the Bayern defence. Although he had an off day in the league game against Academica, he will hope to lead his team into the semi-finals for the first time since winning it all in 2004.
- Bayern are yet to concede a goal at home in the Champions League this season, with them netting 13 times in 4 games
- Porto have scored 7 goals outside the box, including 3 direct free-kicks already in the Champions League
- Porto remain the only unbeaten team with 6 wins and 3 draws to their name
Both teams have their fair share of absentees through injury and suspension, and the pressure will be on Bayern right from the start. The Bavarians usually perform brilliantly under pressure which Porto should be wary of. Two goals isna t too unlikely for the home side, but Portoa s pressing and counter could see them sneak behind the Bayern line to notch up a goal or two.
It certainly will be a close game which Bayern is expected to win, but the Porto attack could clinch a crucial goal to knock the title favourites out.
Bayern Munich 2-1 FC Porto
Blast From the Past
In 1999/2000, the sides drew the first leg 1-1 in Portugal on 4 April 2000 and the Munich return 15 days later looked set to go into extra time after MA?rio Jardel’s 90th-minute goal for Porto made it 1-1. However, there was still time for Thomas Linke to secure a 3-2 aggregate triumph for Ottmar Hitzfeld’s team.