Bayern Munich will kickstart their 2019-20 UEFA Champions League campaign as they host Crvena Zvezda at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday.
Bayern Munich will have an excellent opportunity to get an early headstart in their UEFA Champions League group as they face minnows Crvena Zvezda on Wednesday. It will also be a give them the chance to get back to winning ways after a disappointing 1-1 draw with RB Leipzig in their last Bundesliga match.
The Bavarians have now already dropped four points in their opening four league games. But, the main focus will be on the Champions League this week – a competition they will be expected to win this term, just like any other season. They haven’t performed well lately, in this coveted tournament and they must win tomorrow, with Tottenham Hotspur playing Olympiacos in the other fixture.
As for Crvena Zvezda, they are apparently the only team in the Serbian league to maintain a hundred percent winning record this season. They are coming on the back of a narrow 1-0 win over Indija. But, travelling to Allianz Arena on Wednesday will no doubt be one of their most challenging tasks this season.
And here, at the Hard Tackle, we run the rule over both these sides ahead of this Champions League encounter tomorrow evening.
Team News & Tactics
Bayern Munich had a strenuous game away to Leipzig on the weekend. And coach Niko Kovac is likely to make some changes, especially given the fact that Crvena Zvezda are not the most challenging opposition in this group. Not to mention they have a crucial match-up against 1.FC Koln coming up this weekend in the Bundesliga.
Having said that, Bayern do not have much depth in the defensive department, meaning we can expect no changes in the backline. Niklas Sule and Jerome Boateng will continue at centre-back while Lucas Hernandez will once again deputise for the injured David Alaba at left-back. Benjamin Pavard is a guaranteed starter on the opposite, with Manuel Neuer starting in goal.
Thiago Alcantara, however, could be rested, with Corentin Tolisso coming into the side. The Frenchman has never really managed to make an impact since coming back from a long injury layoff. This will be a chance for him to impose his authority in the middle of the park, alongside Joshua Kimmich. Mickael Cuisance is also an option.
Philippe Coutinho was surprisingly left out of the starting eleven against Leipzig. He is likely to return in the number ten role, at the expense of Thomas Muller. Alphonso Davies and Ivan Perisic, meanwhile, will both replace first-choice wingers in Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman.
And finally, the Bayern Munich attack will be led by Robert Lewandowski. The Pole will seek to replicate his scintillating scoring run in the Champions League, having already netted seven goals in four matches. Jann-Fiete Arp could also feature at some point of the game.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Pavard, Sule, Boateng, Hernandez; Kimmich, Tolisso; Perisic, Coutinho, Davies; Lewandowski
It’s almost needless to say that Crvena Zvezda will employ a deep defensive block in an attempt to contain the Bayern Munich attack. Manager Vladan Milojevic has primarily preferred a 4-2-3-1 setup, and the 49-year-old is unlikely to make any changes to that shape tomorrow.
However, the defensive duo of Nemanja Milunovic and Milos Degenek will sit deep inside their own half. The two full-backs in Milan Gajic and Jander will support them during defensive phases, almost operating as auxiliary centre-backs. Jander will be deputising for the injured Milan Rodic at left-back.
Full-backs being deployed in a deeper role means wingers, too, will have to shift and act almost as makeshift wingbacks. Mateo Garcia and Rajiv van La Parra are favourites to start and the latter’s vast experience could be crucial if the visitors are to salvage anything from the game.
Both van la Parra and Garcia will provide defensive cover but will also support the central striker Milan Pavkov, who has already netted four goals this term. He will also be supported by the number ten Mirko Ivanic, with Jose Canas and Dusan Jovancic operating in a deeper midfield role.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Borjan; Gajic, Milunovic, Degenek, Jander; Canas, Jovancic; Garcia, Ivanic, van La Parra; Pavkov
- This will be the first competitive meeting between Bayern and Crvena Zvezda since October 2007, when the Germans prevailed 3-2 away in Serbia in the UEFA Cup Group Stages.
- German champions Bayern Munich have scored in each of their last 28 Champions League Group Stage matches at the Allianz Arena, a run stretching back to November 2009.
- Bayern Munich lost their last Champions League match at home; a 1-3 defeat at the hands of Liverpool in the Round of 16 stages last season. They haven’t lost successive UCL home games since October 2002.
- Of teams to have played more than 10 Champions League games at home, Bayern Munich have the third-best win ratio in home matches (70%) behind Real Madrid (75%) and Barcelona (74%).
- This will be Crvena Zvezda’s second participation in the Champions League, having finished fourth in the Group C last season, behind Napoli, PSG and eventually winners Liverpool.
Player to Watch
Bayern Munich haven’t produced that many players from their academy in recent years. Even if they have, they failed to integrate them into the first-team, causing them to leave the club in search of regular game-time. Kovac, however, is known for his proficiency in developing young talents.
So naturally, the Croatian mastermind would like to give young players the opportunity to perform in this game, one of which is Alphonso Davies. The Canadian winger has already made a few appearances in the Bundesliga this season, and this will be an exciting opportunity for him to make his mark at a higher level of football.
Hence, all eyes will be on Davies, even though it remains to be seen whether or not he starts the game tomorrow.
Bayern Munich 4-0 Crvena Zvezda
Bayern Munich are expected to stroll through this task, thanks to the home advantage. The visitors are likely to struggle in dealing with the gifted players Bayern have in long supply. Therefore, we can expect the Bundesliga champions to secure a comfortable 4-0 win.