UEFA Champions League Group Stage Preview: FC Bayern München vs Lille Metropole
FC Bayern München will take on the fighters of Lille on Match-day Four in a quest for three points.
Lille will visit the Allianz Arena with a focus on breaking down play rather than playing the game itself, especially if they watched Bayern play Hamburg. Lille themselves won their game on the weekend. They beat Evian 0-2 with goals from Nolan Roux and Florent Balmont. Lille hasn’t suffered a defeat in Ligue 1 in their previous four matches. They sit seventh on 17 points from 11 games.
Bayern meanwhile stretched their lead at the top of the table to seven points, capitalizing on Schalke’s surprise 3-2 loss to Hoffenheim and Frankfurt’s lacklustre 1-1 draw against Greuther Fürth. Their fifth away win of the season in the league was a historic win. They have scored fifteen goals and conceded none away from home in the Bundesliga.
HSV used to act as Bayern’s bogey team before. Bayern doesn’t usually win at the Imtech Arena. At the beginning, it didn’t seem like it was going to be a good day. HSV defended deep and kept Bayern out. However, Bayern capitalized when HSV launched an attack. Luiz Gustavo found Thomas Müller who expertly headed the ball to Toni Kroos.
Kroos couldn’t beat his former team-mate Rene Adler. So, he waited patiently and crossed the ball perfectly for Bastian Schweinsteiger. Bastian headed in for 1-0. Bayern added two in the second half quickly. First, Müller finished expertly from a tight angle after collecting a pass from the immaculate Franck Ribery. That goal was brilliant to say the least.
Kroos added a third. He did a neat one-two with Ribery. He then took the ball of Adler’s reach and hit it perfectly in terms of technique into the net. The angle was quite narrow. The power behind the shot almost tore the net into two. Adler would have ended up in hospital if that ball hit him.
Bayern doesn’t have too many injury problems. Holger Badstuber is out of this one but his absence has been offset by the return of one of Saturday’s star performers, David Alaba. The Alaba and Ribery combination is one Bayern is set to rely on again on Wednesday. Otherwise, Mario Gomez remains the only absentee but should make his way back soon.
Only one Bayern player has played every minute of every match so far this season- Jerome Boateng. Boateng is prone to the occasional error but played extremely well in the last two matches. He has generally played well this season. He and Dante will perhaps continue to partner each other at the back.
Arjen Robben was seen grinning broadly along with Claudio Pizarro and Xherdan Shaqiri on Saturday. He seems quite satisfied to make his comeback slowly. Mario Mandzukic put in a lot of work and might need a rest following Saturday, allowing Pizarro to play.
For Lille, Mathieu Debuchy, after serving out a suspension, is doubtful along with teammates Franck Beria and Marko Basa. Idrissa Gueye, Ryan Mendes, Lucas Digne and Adama Soumaoro have all been ruled out. Rio Mavuba returned to the squad against Evian at the weekend.
This is my best shot at a line-up:
Philipp Lahm- Jerome Boateng- Dante- David Alaba
Bastian Schweinsteiger- Javier Martinez/Luiz Gustavo
Arjen Robben- Thomas Müller- Franck Ribery
Luiz Gustavo was taken off early on Saturday; this might indicate that he will start on Wednesday. However, perhaps Heynckes made the substitution to allow Martinez and Schweinsteiger some playing time together ahead of the visit of the French side. Robben could prove to be valuable if Bayern is not in a winning position late on in the game.
Kroos could be out of this one with a stomach bug. Robben apparently sat out the weekend game due to a cold. Reports in the German media indicate that Robben is set to start against Lille.
What do you think will happen in this match? Let me hear your thoughts.
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