Bayern Munich will take on Maccabi Haifa this afternoon at 2:45 p.m. EST to try to keep its Champions League hopes alive. Bayern need a victory coupled with at least a draw between Bordeaux and Juventus to survive to the final match day. Should Bordeaux fail to cooperate, and Bayern manage a draw, they will clinch 3rd in the group and head to the Europa League.
After Luca Toni’s new RAI interview ripping Louis van Gaal yet again, he was suspended for the match today. I would venture he was unofficially suspended on Sunday, but they did try to cover that with saying he was hurt. The official Bayern website was still continuing on with the Toni injury cover story as late as yesterday. The PR department is obviously working overtime.
Franck Ribery was due to begin training but has been placed in quarantine instead. His wife has been diagnosed with swine flu.
Arjen Robben has been ruled out, and continues his peculiar health and wellness cycle. Altintop is a question mark, based on the injury he got in the warmups Sunday.
Wednesday was greeted with the news that Miroslav Klose will be out for the match, following a training ground incident. Although we will not actually be seeing any less of Klose (he’s been invisible as has been well-documented in our comment section), the rules of the game indicate a replacement must be found. Or, I suppose LVG could start with 10 men and show us just how much of a genius he is.
As of this writing, kicker is projecting Danijel Pranjic to start at striker alongside Mario Gomez. This is projected mainly on the basis that Ivica Olic is thought to be not yet fit enough for a full 90 minutes. I suppose another option would be to stick Müller up top to start and shuffle the midfield accordingly.
Opponents from the east
A team like Maccabi Haifa is difficult to scout. But the Israeli outfit has played 10 matches in the Israeli Premier League this season, and has come away with 10 victories. Although they are without a point in Champions League play, all of their matches have been close, the last 3 all 1-0 results. Haifa may actually have played its best CL match against Bayern, with the wheels just falling off in the last moments of the 3-0 defeat. Haifa’s top goal scorer, the somewhat ironically named Shlomi Arbeitman, played only 21 minutes as a substitute in the first matchup between the teams, so he is one to look out for.
Why would this team decide to do anything positive at this point? 0-0, in front of a noticeably half-full Allianz Arena is my call.