MATCH PREVIEW: Bayern seek to assert Champions League campaign
Last year’s runners up Bayern Munich have had a fantastic start to their league season. In the Champions League, however, they find themselves in a tricky situation, mainly thanks to their loss to BATE Borisov. With three clubs in their group all on six points, Bayern find themselves third, with only four goals scored, and an equal number conceded. Playing at home against Lille, Bayern will be looking to secure all three points to make a case for progression to the knockout stages.
Injury ravaged Lille have unwillingly become the whipping boys of Group F, losing all their matches thus far, and scoring only once. Their league performances have suffered as well, and they currently sit eighth in Ligue 1, with only four victories thus far. Lille, however, have taken the highest number of shots per game in their group, with 15, the same as Bayern, and will be hoping to make a few of them count tonight.
Bayern Munich: W W L W W
Bayern have been absolutely rampant away from Europe, with only four goals conceded in the league thus far, and only one in their last six matches in all competitions. In terms of attack, Bayern have scored 8 times in three games since their narrow 1 – 0 victory over Lille, with Mandzukic leading the attack well in the absence of Mario Gomez. In the absence of Badstuber, Dante has filled his shoes quite well indeed, and Bayern can expect another solid performance at the back. Up front as well, Bayern have been in prolific form, and the return of star player, Arjen Robben, will only serve as further bad news for Lille. The Dutchman has scored a brace since his return from a six week layoff, and with Ribery putting in a stellar performance at the weekend, things seem only to get worse for Lille.Lille: D L W W W
Lille, on the other hand, seem to be on the upward curve with three wins on the trot since their loss to Bayern. They have conceded only once in those three games, and have kept a clean sheet in their last two. In fact, the turnaround for Lille can be traced back to the game against Bayern itself, where, apart from Muller’s penalty, they managed to keep Bayern out quite convincingly, in front of their home fans in France. However, their problems with injury persist, and it will be hard for even the most hopeful of Lille fans to be optimistic about their chances.
Bayern Munich: Mario Gomez, Holger Badstuber.
Lille: Ryan Mendes, Lucas Digne, Mathieu Debuchy, Marko Basa, Idrissa Gana Gueye, Adama Soumaoro, Rio Mavuba.
Franck Ribery vs Djibril Sidibe
The energetic Frenchman, Ribery, has already notched up 6 goals, and 6 assists this season, and has been Bayern’s best player thus far. With neck breaking pace, and skills to match, Ribery is a threat to any defence in the world, even when they are on top form. Here, he will most likely come up against young Malian Djibril Sidibe, who, at 20 years old, is full of energy as well. However, with lack of experience, the young full back might just fall victim to Ribery’s class, and have a footballing lesson handed to him.
Dimitri Payet vs Jerome Boateng
With everything going haywire around him, Payet has kept his cool well this season, and has definitely been one of Lille’s better players. The Frenchman has a total of three goals, and four assists this season, and could have had more had Lille not been blighted with injuries. He will come up on the left side of attack for Lille, away from Dante, and towards Jerome Boateng, who has had an ordinary season thus far. With Phillip Lahm at hand, Boateng need not necessarily fret, but with Lahm’s tendency to join in attack, Boateng will need to keep an eye on Payet to ensure that Lille do not sneak in a goal through their dangerman.
With Lille having trailed at half-time in every group game thus far, one can expect early goal(s) from Bayern, who are especially stong at the Allianz Arena. It will do the entire world of footballing fans a world of good to watch the duo of ‘Robbery‘ back in action, if indeed both wide players start the game. It is hard to see where Lille will produce a goal from, and might well turn out to be a game in which Lille cling to the match and hope to hit Bayern on a lucky break.