Bayern Munich and Lille are set to clash in a Group F fixture in the UEFA Champions League, on Wednesday at Allianz Arena. Bayern currently sit with 6 points and a share of top spot in Group F with Valencia and BATE Borisov. Lille have yet to register a point in the competition, and must win this match to keep their hopes alive in the Champions League.
These two sides met a fortnight ago in France, with Bayern escaping with a 1-0 result, thanks to Thomas Muller’s goal from the penalty spot.
The dangerous aspect to Bayern Munich is that they are starting to get healthy. A fully fit Bayern side is just about impossible to contain. Striker Mario Gomez most likely won’t be ready but Mario Mandzukic has been more than an adequate replacement. The Croatian striker leads Die Roten with 10 goals in all competitions and is a deadly force, around the net.
The creativity of the Bayern attacking midfield is exasperating to opponents. Franck Ribery is the cog of the Bayern midfield engine. The French International is known for sublime service, while chipping in the odd goal as well. Muller has been exemplary this season, after being somewhat agricultural last season. Toni Kroos can move up to striker if need be, but is best utilized as an imposing attacker from the midfield. Arjen Robben has been battling multiple nagging injuries, but the Dutch winger should be fit for Wednesday’s match. Xherdan Shaqiri, Luis Gustavo and Claudio Pizzaro are quality options as well and it wouldn’t be a surprise, to see their names on the team sheet. In all, manager Jupp Heyneckes has some interesting decisions to make, prior to announcing his lineup.
Bastian Schweinsteiger patrols the defensive side of the midfield. The German International can also move up and join the attack when need be. In fact, Schweinsteiger opened the scoring in Bayern’s 3-0 victory over Hamburg, over the weekend. Gustavo may also be used as a holding midfielder, though he tends to ramble forward frequently. Javi Martinez could be used as a holding midfielder as well.
The back four remains sturdy and sound. Captain Philipp Lahm could very well be the best right back in the world today. He defends with technical precision, along with joining the attack with one of his surging runs along the flank. Dante and Jerome Boateng are the likely centre backs. Holger Badstuber is the likely left back. David Alaba has seen time at left back as well, and could see time as an extra defender, if needed.
Manuel Neuer is emerging as one of the best keeper in the world. The German goalie has 10 cleans sheets in all competitions, and is regarded as the next Oliver Khan. Heady praise indeed.
Lille have struggled mightily in the Champions League, and their task becomes much more difficult in this fixture.
Manager Rudi Garcia likes to employ a 4-2-2 formation, with the winger of the midfield playing further forward, while the central midfielders play further back.
Salomon Kalou has been under considerable pressure, since joining the club on a free transfer from Chelsea. The Ivory Coast International, has struggled at times to keep his place in the lineup. In fact, French striker Nolan Roux has seen more pitch time than Kalou and could very well be inserted into the starting eleven, for Garcia’s side. Tulio de Melo should start as the second striker. The Brazilian is known more for his creativity than his finishing.
The midfield has some question marks. Marvin Martin is nursing a groin injury and may miss Wednesday’s match. Rio Mavuba is suffering from a knee knock and he too, may not play. Cameroon International Aurelien Chedjou may move into the midfield role. Chedjou does have 3 goals for Lille, which is surprising, since he is sometimes slotted as a central defender. Dimitri Payet is an electrifying winger who possess pace and technique along the flank. Payet will be guarded closely by Schweinsteiger so this won’t be an easy game for the Frenchman.
If Chedjou does move up to the midfield, that puts the back in disarray. Marko Basa is a fixture as a central defender but who will be alongside him, remains to be seen. Lucas Digne should start at left back. Mathieu Debuchy should start at right back, although Franck Beria as seen time on the right side as well.
Mickael Landreau should get the start between the sticks for Lille. Landreau is an effective keeper, but will need to be in top form, against the menacing Bayern attack.
This could be a big result for Bayern. They need the win in order to break the deadlock in Group F, and regain control of their own destiny. With Bayern getting healthy and Lille hanging on by a thread, I think this will be a big result for Bayern. No contest. Bayern wins 4-0.
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