Sevilla get ready to host European heavyweights Bayern Munich, and it will be the first time both teams will meet in Europe’s Premier competition in the modern era.
Bayern Munich will travel to Spain to face an in-form Sevilla side in the Champions League quarterfinals first-leg as they aim to avoid another disappointing result in the country. Bayern will be under less pressure as they are on the cusp of landing another Bundesliga title as they are well ahead of their nearest rival in the German top-flight league.
After defeating Borussia Dortmund 6-0 last weekend, they will be more than hoping to replicate that form in Spain where they have lost in their previous five visits. Spanish teams have been responsible for Bayern’s exit from the competition in the last four seasons and will be hoping for a newer result when they visit Sevilla.
Sevilla, after having surprisingly ousted Manchester United in the last round of the competition and almost ended Barcelona’s winning run previous weekend, will be improved mentally and be positive about getting a result against Bayern. On paper, it may sound a little tricky for the Spanish side, but anything is possible.
Bayern last won the Champions League crown under the management of Jupp Heynckes and will be hoping to repeat that treble-winning season after the veteran coach took over at the Allianz Arena for another term midway through the season. Their path, however, will have a lot of difficulties but they have the squad to compete.
Team News & Tactics
Vincenzo Montella faces a daunting task to keep the record of an undefeated run of 11 games against visiting German clubs alive when they host Bayern. But ahead of the game, they have a few issues in the team. Montella has to deal with the fitness of Gabriel Mercado and Jesus Navas ahead of this game.
On the other hand, critical midfielder, Ever Banega will miss the game as he is suspended after getting a booking against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Otherwise, Montella has a full squad and will be hoping to put Bayern to test in the same way they did to Manchester United.
There could be a start for the Old Trafford hero and French forward, Wissam Ben Yedder, who is Sevilla’s top scorer in the competition with eight goals and is only bettered by Cristiano Ronaldo this season in the Champions League.
Probable Starting-XI (4-2-3-1) – Rico; Mercado, Kjaer, Lenglet, Escudero; N’Zonzi, Pizarro; Vazquez, Correa, Muriel; Ben Yedder
Jupp Heyneckes has a full-strength squad to choose. Manuel Neuer, though, will remain unavailable. The German stopper hasn’t regained full match fitness after returning to training. Kingsley Koman is the other likely absentee, who is yet to recover from an ankle injury he suffered in February.
Heynekes has, however, included Arturo Vidal and Juan Bernat in the squad to face Sevilla as they passed a late fitness test. The players could play some part in the game. James Rodriguez and Robert Lewandowski are set to play a central role against Sevilla.
Bayern could have trouble in the second leg as Lewandowski, Boateng, Tolisso, Kimmich and Rudy are all a yellow away from suspension. Heynckes will likely rotate or play make changes during the match keeping these players in mind.
Probable Starting-XI (4-2-3-1) – Ulreich; Kimmich, Hummels, Boateng, Alaba; Martinez, Vidal; Müller, James, Ribery; Lewandowski
- Bayern would be playing in their 17th Champions League quarterfinals; most by any club.
- Sevilla has recorded a win and a clean sheet in each of the last three games against German opposition at home.
- Bayern have lost on their last five visits to Spain.
- Heynckes has a record of 11 consecutive wins as Manager; the longest run by any manager in Champions League history.
Player To Watch
After an initial dip in form , James Rodriguez is still growing in influence at his role at Bayern. He has begun 2018 scoring three goals in his six appearances in the league. In the weekend game against Borussia Dortmund, he and Lewandowski were involved in all six goals Bayern scored.
Such form will be crucial, and in a familiar atmosphere at Sevilla, his experience will be vital, while he would certainly try to be the central figure. His recently developed combination play with teammates has been exceptional. While the niggling injuries to Robben have given him a chance to do what the Dutchman usually does at this stage of the competition.
Sevilla 1-3 Bayern Munich
The win over Manchester United might have been a brilliant game, but Bayern are no uncertain entrant at this stage. In previous seasons they have steamrolled past teams of different stature. While Sevilla and Montella’s tactics could provide some resistance, it’s likely to be a predictable and dominating victory for Bayern.
That does not imply that Sevilla could not spring a surprise, they sure can. But Bayern and the overall quality of their squad will see the game through. Sevilla does have the required talent in attack, but Bayern’s defence would be sitting tight to stop anything surprising.