Bayern Munich host Real Madrid on Tuesday in the second leg of their Champions League semifinals tie. Los Blancos won the first leg 1-0 at home, leaving the Bavarians with an uphill battle if they are to advance to the final for a third consecutive year.
Weaknesses in Pep Guardiola's system were exploited in the first-leg defeat. The Bayern trainer admitted in a press conference last Friday that he needed to recognize that German football culture is more attack-minded than his philosophy dictates and that he must adapt his system to accommodate his players, as reported by Miles Chambers on Goal.com.
Guardiola made several changes to his team that beat Bremen 5-2 on Saturday, and in all likelihood will field a very different lineup on Tuesday to that which lost at the Bernabeu. Here's a look at the XI he may select for the pressure-cooker match at the Allianz Arena:
Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer
Manuel Neuer is a lock in this Bayern Munich team for every match in which he is fit and will surely remain so for the duration of his career in Munich. The 28-year-old is in his prime now, and Bayern may need some magic from him if they are to progress past a dangerous Real side that seem to score at will in most matches.
Right-Back: Philipp Lahm
Philipp Lahm has often started in midfield this season, but using the captain out of his natural right-back position in the first leg was a rather obvious mistake that Guardiola surely will have recognized. Lahm played for 45 minutes in a defensive role over the weekend and can expect to be played there against Real as he's put head-to-head against Cristiano Ronaldo.
Center Back: Jerome Boateng
Although Javi Martinez has occasionally started at center back this season, Jerome Boateng can expect to be used at the back in his stead on Tuesday. Real have an exceptionally fast counterattack, and the Germany international's pace and strength will be invaluable as Bayern try to hold off Real's attacking trio of Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale.
Center Back: Dante
As Bayern's most senior defender who has started more than a handful of games this season, Dante can expect to start against Real. The 30-year-old has experience, keen anticipatory ability, decent pace and a good understanding with Boateng as his partner. Bayern will need a big game from Dante but can be confident in the player who was crucial to their treble-winning campaign last year.
Left-Back: David Alaba
At left-back there is no-one at Bayern who can compete with David Alaba. The Austria international was benched over the weekend as Diego Contento got the nod to start, but that was surely no signal of Alaba being out of favor. The 21-year-old is one of the best (if not the superlative best) left-backs in the world and is certain to start.
Defensive Midfielder: Javi Martinez
Javi Martinez was used from the start in midfield against Bremen; it seems that Guardiola learned his lesson in Madrid, with Bayern having been torn apart on the counterattack in the ex-Bilbao man's absence. Martinez played well against Bremen, even contributing to a goal and nearly scoring one of his own. He should start against Real.
Defensive Midfielder: Bastian Schweinsteiger
As vice-captain, it's hard to omit Bastian Schweinsteiger in a match like Tuesday's. The 29-year-old has a history of delivering in major semifinals, and his partnership with Martinez last year was indomitable. If Bayern become desperate for goals later in the game, Toni Kroos may replace Schweinsteiger. But from the start, expect the Kolbermoor native to get the nod.
Right Winger: Mario Gotze
Mario Gotze's inclusion in the Bayern team on Tuesday may be somewhat of a risk, but it's a risk that Guardiola may well take. The 21-year-old has shown bright signs of his ability as of late, albeit without end product; he could yet have an explosion of form against Real. At his best, Gotze is more necessary than Arjen Robben right now: He can play with two feet, and involve his teammates, making him less harder to mark than the brilliant but predictable Dutchman.
Center Attacking Midfielder: Thomas Muller
Thomas Muller's presence was missed for most of the first leg as Mario Mandzukic was left alone in the box and Toni Kroos was unable to close down Xabi Alonso when Real had the ball. The 24-year-old started over the weekend in the hole behind the main striker and will likely be selected against Real. Although rather unspectacular, he has the spirit of a champion, an incredible work-rate and always finds a chance to make the difference in a big game.
Left Winger: Franck Ribery
Franck Ribery's form has been rather poor in recent weeks, but the Frenchman had a great game against Bremen on Saturday that will have boosted his confidence. He scored a fine goal on the counterattack and played a significant role in at least two more. There still is the chance that he may be benched, but Ribery's teamwork will more more likely than not be preferred ahead of Robben's individualism.
Striker: Mario Mandzukic
Although ineffective in the first leg and benched over the weekend, Mario Mandzukic is the most likely starter up front for Bayern against Real. Using Muller or Gotze in attack would be too much of a risk against a Real side that proved its defensive strength last week. Provided Muller is used just behind him, the Croat's physicality and aerial supremacy should (either directly or indirectly) lead to goals.
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