FC Bayern: Wolfsburg Game Review and Champions League Playoff Preview

Samrin HasibAnalyst IAugust 17, 2011

FC Zurich beat Basel, 2-1 at the weekend.
FC Zurich beat Basel, 2-1 at the weekend.

Bayern enter this week's Champions League playoff at home against Zurich on a high, having beaten VfL Wolfsburg at the death at the weekend.

Wolfsburg 0-1 Bayern

Jupp Heynckes recently admitted that while trying to fix the defence, he neglected the attack a bit. He did do a great job with the defence admittedly. However, the understanding between Jerome Boateng, Manuel Neuer and his defensive partners needs a slight improvement.

Wolfsburg had one real chance in the match and Patrick Helmes scored with a header as Boateng played him onside. The goal was ruled out for offside, but later, referee Knut Kircher stated that the goal should have stood.

Meanwhile, Bayern's attack showed little signs of improvement. Toni Kroos took a few good shots, while Bastian Schweinsteiger went forward a lot even though he was caught offside more often than not. Lahm identified the problem that Bayern had in this match as well as against Gladbach properly. He said:

"We have to switch faster from defence to attack and pass the ball forward more quickly."

Mario Gomez's lack of form isn't helping Bayern. Gomez, on my watch, probably got around ten touches on the ball approximately in the whole match. He failed to link up with his teammates, but his mates didn't do him too many favours by creating close to nothing in the final third.

Ivica Olic replaced him for the last five minutes and played a big hand in setting up the goal. Olic and Gomez have both done well in the Champions League before, but it was Olic who was the mainstay in the side in the run to the final in 2010.

Luis Gustavo scored from distance in the 91st minute. Ivica Olic controlled the ball and passed to Franck Ribery, who set up Gustavo perfectly. The power on the shot did not allow Diego Benaglio to stop it from going in. Gustavo was perhaps Bayern's best player, as he was immense in defence and in defensive midfield as well.

A debate is currently raging about Thomas Mueller's position. Mueller was poor against Wolfsburg, but he was played on the wing whereas he usually plays right behind the striker. Toni Kroos played behind Gomez.

With Arjen Robben coming in, this problem might be solved. Who will Heynckes choose to play in the hole—Kroos or Mueller?

FC Bayern-FC Zurich

Zurich started their league season miserably, losing three straight matches. However, they followed it up with a 6-0 victory and with a very important morale-boosting victory against Swiss Super League holders FC Basel, 2-1. Zurich has several injury concerns to deal with at the moment.

Midfielder Stjepan Kukuruzović and forward Alexandre Alphonse were both injured in the match against Basel, ruling them out for this match. Midfielders Xavier Margairaz and Chaker Zouaghi as well as goalkeeper Yanick Brecher are all unavailable through injuries and illnesses.

As for Bayern, everyone seems set to go. Robben has recovered from the injury that ruled him out of action at the weekend. Breno will not be a part of the squad due to injury. Gustavo, who took two knocks to the head at the weekend, is also seemingly prepared to go.

Bayern played Swiss opponents in the shape of Basel in their previous Champions League campaign. They beat the Swiss champions twice and also took a good look at young talent Xherdan Shaqiri.

According to Philipp Lahm, a two-goal lead is desirable. If coach Dušan Djurić's words come true, the two-goal lead will be well earned. This is what the Zurich coach had to say:

"There is one thing I can promise—we will try to make life difficult for Bayern for the entire 90 minutes. We want to win, this is always our intention."

Christian Nerlinger summed up his side's intentions perfectly:

"If we do not go through against them, we do not deserve to play in the Champions League."

And so, it is prediction time. While I do believe that Bayern can shut Zurich out and not allow them to score, I don't think Bayern will score too many goals themselves, even with Robben in their lineup. However, Zurich might be able to sneak an away goal.

Final Score: FC Bayern 2-1 Zurich