Bayern Munich will travel to neighbouring Austria to lock horns with Red Bull Salzburg at the Red Bull Arena in the UEFA Champions League.
The fixtures in the UEFA Champions League continue to come thick and fast as we approach gameweek three of the group stages. A lot of exciting fixtures this week as well, Real Madrid hosting Borussia Mönchengladbach, Liverpool travelling to Atalanta, RB Leipzig taking on Paris Saint-Germain, and of course, Red Bull Salzburg vs Bayern Munich among the headliners.
Salzburg would definitely consider themselves unlucky bring drawn into the same group as Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich. However, they did themselves no favour against Lokomotiv Moscow either, failing to convert multiple chances. In the process, they succumbed to a 2-2 draw.
Following this, they could not hold out against an in-form Joao Felix who scored two at the Wanda Metropolitano to bag all three points for Atletico Madrid against Salzburg in a 3-2 win.
Bayern, on the other hand, have managed to maintain the bizarre level of intensity they showed last season in the competition. Atletico was no competition for them, as they hit four without reply past Jan Oblak in the opener of the competition. Lokomotiv could only do so much as Joshua Kimmich netted the winner in the 80th minute.
Ahead of the captivating encounter coming our way from Salzburg on Tuesday night, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Red Bull Salzburg
Jesse Marsch will have to cater to several injuries for this crucial tie. He will, however, be unable to call upon the services of Antoine Bernede, Maximillian Wober, and Youba Diarra, both of whom are sidelined because of injury. Patson Daka also hobbled off with an injury against Atletico Madrid, and his involvement in this game hangs by a thread.
Cican Stankovic will start in his favoured role with the responsibility of the gloves in his hands and of the net on his shoulders. He will hope that Andre Ramalho and Jerome Onguene screen him well in the absence of Wöber. Rasmus Kristensen and Andreas Ulmer will get the responsibility to provide width from the back.
March has preferred a 4-2-2-2 formation this season, which often takes the shape of a 4-2-3-1 in attack and 4-4-2 in the defence. Nevertheless, Mohamed Camara will take on a starting role in the double pivot, with veteran Zlatko Junuzovic complementing him as the other half.
Enock Mwepu will start on the right side of the attacking midfield with 20-year-old sensation Dominik Szoboszlai, who has been linked with Manchester United of late, carrying similar responsibilities on the opposite side.
We expect Patson Daka to shake off his injury and come into the lineup pertaining to the importance of this fixture. He will be playing off of Mergim Berisha, who starts with him in the attack as a more creative force.
Probable Lineup (4-2-2-2): Stankovic; Kristensen, Ramalho, Onguene, Ulmer; Camara, Junuzovic; Mwepu, Szoboszlai; Berisha, Daka
Much like his sideline counterpart for tomorrow, Hans-Dieter Flick has a handful of absentees to deal with. The latest players to join this list are Niklas Sule, who tested positive for coronavirus, and Leon Goretzka, who is not travelling after picking up a calf injury. They join Alphonso Davies and Tanguy Nianzou on the sidelines.
Flick will have one eye on the game against Borussia Dortmund at the weekend and will be looking to make some changes to his lineup against Red Bull Salzburg, especially after starting the tournament with two wins. Manuel Neuer will pick up the gloves and armband for the team, holding the fort from the six-yard box.
Ahead of him, we expect David Alaba to return to the lineup in the absence of Sule and will partner Jerome Boateng at the heart of the defence. Benjamin Pavard starts on the right, while Lucas Hernandez could come in to handle the duties as the left-back.
Joshua Kimmich has been in spectacular form this season, being touted as the best midfielder in the world. Little to no doubt over his involvement, as he will partner new signing Marc Roca in the double pivot, who will be replacing Javi Martinez. The latter will not be able to deal with the dynamism that Szoboszlai will bring to Salzburg midfield.
We can expect some changes in the front-four as well, barring Thomas Muller, who will start on the right-wing while Leroy Sane is rested for the weekend. Corentin Tolisso was suspended on the weekend and will be fresh to take on the challenge that Austria presents. He will be the attacking midfielder, while Kingsley Coman takes the slot on the left-wing.
Robert Lewandowski got a well-deserved break against Köln but will return to take his place in the starting lineup ahead of the likes of Eric-Maxim Choupo-Mouting, and Joshua Zirkzee.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Hernandez; Kimmich, Roca; Muller, Tolisso, Coman; Lewandowski
- Lewandowski was the top scorer in last season’s competition with 15 goals. The Pole is yet to get off the mark this term, with Coman (x2), Goretzka (x2), Kimmich and Tolisso getting their goals on the continental stage so far.
- Bayern stretched their Champions League record run of wins to 13 thanks to victories at home to Atletico (4-0) and at Lokomotiv (2-1), and 14 in UEFA competition including their Super Cup win over Sevilla.
- Bayern are unbeaten in 14 away European matches (W11 D3) since a 3-0 loss at Paris Saint-Germain in the 2017/18 Champions League group stage. Outside Munich, they have won nine in a row.
- The 2019/20 Champions League winners have only failed to score in one game this calendar year, a 0-0 draw with RB Leipzig in February.
- Müller has played 117 matches in the Champions League. No German has played in the competition more. Should he feature in Austria, it will be his 547th competitive appearance for Bayern andwill draw him level with Hans-Georg Schwarzenbeck. Only Gerd Müller (565) has played more times for the record champions among outfield players since Bundesliga promotion in 1965.
Player to Watch
Patson Daka is a doubt for Red Bull Salzburg ahead of this mouth-watering tie, and that is not only a loss for the team but the viewers as well. The Zambian striker has scored 12 goals in the last 11 games for Salzburg. Apart from that, he has been in stellar form, as he leads the Austrian Bundesliga scoring charts with six goals in five games.
Should he be fit for the game, Daka will be extremely crucial on Tuesday to exploit Bayern’s high line, as he constantly makes runs into channels behind the defence. Additionally, he will hope to catch one of the error-prone duo Alaba and Boateng off-guard with his intense pressing.
Red Bull Salzburg 1-2 Bayern Munich
On paper, this is certainly the most entertaining game on Tuesday, with the exception of maybe Atalanta vs Liverpool, and fans will hope it lives up to the billing.
However, the involvement of Patson Daka is crucial for this tie; with him the hosts even have a chance to steal three points off the reigning champions. That said, it looks nearly impossible to shake of Bayern Munich right now, and a prediction of a 1-2 win does not flatter them.