How Bayern Munich Will Line Up Against Viktoria Plzen

Stefan BienkowskiFeatured ColumnistNovember 4, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02: Thomas Muller and Philipp Lahm of FC Bayern Muenchen celebrates during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City and  FC Bayern Muenchen at Etihad Stadium on October 2, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Bayern Munich can complete their qualification for the preliminary knockout rounds of the Champions League this week with a win over Viktoria Plzen, assuming that Manchester City can take points of CSKA Moscow in the corresponding group match. 

Two weeks ago, Bayern played hosts to the Euro minnows in Munich and had a relatively easy time of it, with a thumping 5-0 win without ever getting out of first gear. As the Czech side return for the second tie, they'll be hoping to prove themselves as tougher hosts than visitors. 

At the weekend, Bayern travelled to Hoffenheim and came away from the game with a 2-1 victory, yet the manner of such a win was far from comprehensive, similarly to their win over Hertha Berlin the weekend before, and may have lefted a sour taste in coach Pep Guardiola's mouth. 

As such, we're likely to see the new coach go all out for the emphatic win, with a full squad of world class players who should be able to overturn their hosts for the evening with relative ease. 

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In defence, we're likely to see a similar line-up to that of which we saw on Saturday, with club captain Philipp Lahm returning to the right hand side, Jerome Boateng and Dante in the central positions, as well as David Alaba at left-back. 

The two central defenders made hard work of it on Saturday, with Dante looking anything but match-fit and Jerome Boateng continuing to astound and then disappoint week after week. Although Plzen aren't the best of tests, we can be sure that a strong, confident display will go down well with the coach.

The midfield is also likely to see a similar scenario as Javi Martinez keeps his spot in the central, defensive-midfield role alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger to complete the famous duo that caused so much havoc in this very tournament last season. 

Yet rather than Mario Gotze, who started in the Bundesliga match on Saturday, it's probably going to be Toni Kroos, who returns from a brief injury to take up the number 10 role. Although Gotze has played well in recent weeks, such a position appears to be Kroos' to lose rather than Gotze's to simply take. 

With Arjen Robben now likely to miss Tuesday night's match after failing to shake off a groin problem that kept him out of the tie against Hoffenheim, we should see a front three featuring Thomas Muller, Franck Ribery and Mario Mandzukic. 

Although Pep has been keen to drop Mandzukic and resort to a striker-less formation, to varying degrees of success, it would make sense to keep his towering poacher on the field against a side who are likely to park the bus, while Ribery and Muller do what they do best and break down defences with tireless efficiency.