Bayern Munich will be aiming to confirm their place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League when they take on Lazio this week.
Bayern Munich must guard against complacency and make sure that they see safe passage through to the next stage of the UEFA Champions League when they lock horns with Lazio in the second leg of their Round of 16 tie at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday.
The reigning champions come into the game on the back of a near-unassailable advantage from the first leg, having beaten Lazio 4-1 away from home. So, the Italian giants will need at least four goals to stand a chance of overturning the first-leg deficit and make it through to the next round.
Bayern Munich have been in rampant form of late, though, winning their last four games in all competitions by an aggregate scoreline of 16-5. Lazio, on the other hand, have lost two of their last three fixtures since the defeat to Die Roten and just about managed to defeat Crotone 3-2 this past weekend.
So, it would take a monumental effort from Simone Inzaghi’s men to oust Hansi Flick & co. on Wednesday night. And ahead of this fixture, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
Hansi Flick: "Manuel Neuer has a mild cold, Kingsley has slight muscular problems. We'll have to wait and see, but we hope that they will be available tomorrow. We still have 30 hours before the game. I won't reveal anything about the lineup now" pic.twitter.com/BOo9ivushQ
— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) March 16, 2021
Bayern Munich are sweating over the availability of captain and first-choice goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who is a doubt due to illness while Kingsley Coman could also miss out due to a muscle issue. David Alaba could return, however, after missing the last game but Douglas Costa, Tanguy Nianzou and Corentin Tolisso are all ruled out.
Hansi Flick could be forced into making a few changes for Wednesday, with Alexander Nubel likely to come into the side at the expense of Neuer in goal.
Benjamin Pavard and Alphonso Davies are nailed on for the full-back slots, with the latter’s marauding runs being a key feature of the Bavarians’ attacking play. Veteran defender Jerome Boateng and the returning Alaba should get the nod at the heart of the defence, with Lucas Hernandez dropping to the bench.
Joshua Kimmich is a certain starter in the middle of the park. The German international will look to provide control and dictate the tempo from the centre while his partner Leon Goretzka will provide the forward thrust. Thomas Muller will start in the No. 10 role but constantly look to take up advanced positions in and around the box.
With Coman a doubt for the game, Leroy Sane could get a look-in on the right while Serge Gnabry starts out on the left flank. Robert Lewandowski is the undisputed starter as the centre-forward for the current trophy holders.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Nubel; Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka; Sane, Muller, Gnabry; Lewandowski
Lazio will have to make do without the services of Luiz Felipe and Jean-Manuel Akpa Akpro, while Manuel Lazzari is also a doubt for the contest on Wednesday night. Despite their exit being almost certain, Simone Inzaghi will field a strong lineup to try and pull off an unlikely comeback against the German heavyweights.
— S.S.Lazio (@OfficialSSLazio) March 16, 2021
Pepe Reina will be the man in between the sticks for Lazio, where he will be protected by the three-man defensive lineup of Francesco Acerbi, Patric and Stefan Radu. With Lazzari a doubt, Mohammed Fares should once again feature as the wing-back on the left side while Adam Marusic slots in out on the right.
Veteran midfielder Lucas Leiva will have the task of breaking up play in the middle of the park while Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto will flank him on either side and look to provide the team with the drive and creativity through the middle.
There is no looking past ace goalscorer Ciro Immobile upfront with the former Borussia Dortmund man likely to partner up with Joaquin Correa.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Reina; Patric, Acerbi, Radu; Marusic, Milinkovic-Savic, Leiva, Alberto, Fares; Correa, Immobile
- Bayern Munich have scored at least two goals in 16 of their last 18 matches in the Champions League.
- Lazio have won only one of their last 15 away games in the UEFA Champions League (D5 L9). They are winless in their previous eight games on the road in the competition (D4 L4).
- Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick is unbeaten as a coach in the UEFA Champions League, overseeing 14 wins and one draw till date. During this run, Die Roten have scored 52 goals and conceded only 10.
- Up until this season, no team in the history of the European Cup/UEFA Champions League has ever progressed from a knockout tie after losing the first leg by a margin of three goals or more at home.
- Bayern scored the most number of goals in last season’s Champions League (43), and are leading the way again in 2020/21 with 22 goals in seven matches.
Player to Watch
Robert Lewandowski passes Raul to become the third all-time top goalscorer in the Champions League 🌟 pic.twitter.com/tRyN3FkgUV
— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 23, 2021
The 32-year-old Bayern Munich superstar is enjoying another dream season, having already managed to score 38 goals in just 34 games across all competitions while setting eight up for his teammates as well. And after scoring in the first leg against Lazio, Lewandowski became the third-highest scorer of all time in the Champions League with 72 strikes to his name.
The Poland international put in a fine display at the weekend against Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga and is on a good run of form heading into the Champions League encounter. He will undoubtedly be the biggest threat for Lazio on Wednesday night.
Bayern Munich 3-1 Lazio
Following a surprise defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayern Munich have been near-unstoppable, winning their subsequent four matches in a row and doing so by handsome margins. Lazio, meanwhile, have lost three of their last four games and just about managed to win the other.
Bayern, based on the overall team form and that of Robert Lewandowski, go into Wednesday’s game as utter favourites and should be able to do justice to the tag with another dominant display. The Hard Tackle expects a 3-1 win for the reigning European champions, taking them through to the last eight.