German giants, Bayern Munich, will be keen to qualify for the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals when they take on Red Bull Salzburg on Tuesday.
German champions Bayern Munich welcome Red Bull Salzburg to the Allianz Arena for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie on Tuesday.
The matchup looked to favour the Bundesliga giants, but Salzburg put up a real show in the first leg as both sides drew 1-1 in Austria. Given that the away goals rule is no longer in effect this season in European competitions, Bayern’s late equaliser will not hand them an added advantage ahead of the return leg.
Die Roten were far from their best in the return leg, and the Austrian giants took advantage of it by taking the lead through Chukwubuike Adamu in the 21st minute. Kingsley Coman came off the bench to draw the Germans level, but it did little to mask their ineffectiveness on the night.
With the game now poised on a knife’s edge, Bayern will be counting on home support apart from their superior quality to take them to the Last Eight of the competition. Nothing short of a win will do on the night, and Die Roten will need to be at their best if they are serious about winning a seventh European crown.
Salzburg covered themselves in glory in the first leg. However, with all due respect to the Austrians, there are far tougher challenges awaiting Bayern in the tournament, and they can not afford to get held up in the Last 16. Whether Julian Nagelsmann’s side can make their quality count or Salzburg pull off a stunning upset remains to be seen.
Team News & Tactics
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) March 7, 2022
Given that the away goals rule has been done away with, Bayern can play their own game without being defensive. This could work in favour of the Bundesliga giants, who are among the best teams in world football when on pomp.
Nagelsmann will have several injury concerns going into the game. Bayern will have to take to the field sans Corentin Tolisso, Alphonso Davies and Leon Goretzka. It is not all doom and gloom as veteran attacker Thomas Muller has recovered from his illness and is expected to feature on the night. Manuel Neuer is also back fit and is expected to go straight back into the starting XI.
Talented teenager Jamal Musiala could be in line to feature given Tolisso and Goretzka’s absence. Whether the sensation will start the game or come off the bench remains to be seen. Bayern are likely to employ a 4-2-3-1 formation to gain control of the midfield and launch attacks at will. The experiments with a three-man backline have not gone so well, and Nagelsmann will be well-advised to go with what works.
Neuer is a sure starter in goal and will play behind the back four of Benjamin Pavard, Niklas Sule, Dayot Upamecano and Lucas Hernandez. Marcel Sabitzer and Joshua Kimmich will form the double pivot in midfield, playing behind the trio of Leroy Sane, Thomas Muller and Kingsley Coman. Ace striker Robert Lewandowski is a shoo-in to lead the line and will be keen to return to scoring ways in Europe.
Bayern have struggled defensively this season and will need to get their act together on the night. While most of their issues have been self-inflicted, Die Roten are yet to get going at full steam.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1) : Neuer; Pavard, Sule, Upamecano, Hernandez; Kimmich, Sabitzer; Coman, Muller, Sane; Lewandowski
Red Bull Salzburg
This is the Austrians’ first foray into the knockout stages, and they now find themselves within a shot of springing a major shock. Salzburg have lost on nine of their last 15 away trips to Germany, including a group stage game to Wolfsburg.
To make life harder for Matthias Jaissle, a lengthy injury list for Salzburg includes Sekou Koita, Albert Vallci, Ousmane Diakite, Bryan Okoh, Jerome Onguene and Noah Okafor. Meanwhile, Benjamin Sesko and Oumar Solet are back in training and are in contention to feature.
— FC Red Bull Salzburg (@RedBullSalzburg) March 7, 2022
Salzburg are expected to deploy a 4-3-1-2 formation that will try to play through the Bayern lines. The pace and guile of Karim Adeyemi could be something that could hurt Bayern, especially given Upamecano’s poor form of late.
Philipp Kohn is expected to feature in goal behind the quartet of Andreas Ulmer, Maximilian Wober, Kamil Piątkowski and Rasmus Kristensen. Nicolas Seiwald and Mohamed Camara will provide the brains and muscle in the midfield, handing Brenden Aaronson the opportunity to push forward and supply the duo of Chukwubuike Adamu and Karim Adeyemi.
Salzburg have nothing to lose and will benefit from taking the game to their opponents. While Bayern are a class apart, they have shown some vulnerability this season.
Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Kohn; Kristensen, Piatkowski, Wober, Ulmer; Capaldo, Camara, Seiwald; Aaronson; Adeyemi, Adamu
- Red Bull Salzburg have lost six of their last nine games in Germany.
- Bayern Munich have won all of their five meetings against Austrian clubs at home.
- Red Bull Salzburg are playing in the knockout stage of the Champions League for the first time. A victory on the night would make them the first side from Austria to progress to the last eight since 1982.
- Bayern Munich have won five of the six ties where the first leg ended in an away draw in the UEFA Champions League.
- Red Bull Salzburg are yet to win a single game away from home in the UEFA Champions League this season.
Player to Watch
Among the greatest strikers to play the game in recent years, Robert Lewandowski has no peers when it comes to making a decisive contribution in front of the goal. The Polish marksman is getting older, but his ability to continue scoring remains intact.
Buoyed on by a home crowd, the Allianz Arena is not an easy place to play at. Lewandowski is Bayern’s top scorer this season and usually feeds off the crowd’s energy, especially at home. A deadly player in the box, he needs just an opportunity or two to make the difference. Any chance Salzburg have of causing an upset will depend on how well they can shackle the 33-year-old.
Bayern Munich 2-0 RB Salzburg
Bayern Munich go into the game as favourites and will be expected to get the job done on home turf. The Germans are among the best teams in the world, and the difference in quality should reflect at the Allianz Arena. The stadium is one of the toughest places to visit, and the occasion could prove to be too much for the Austrians.