According to Bild, Arjen Robben is absent for FC Bayern. This is a huge surprise; he played on Saturday and looked like he was moving very well. I know he’s been nursing both ankle and back problems, but no indication was given from the club’s official site that he was in doubt for this match. My hope is that we’re being extra cautious with a 2-0 lead going into this second leg, and that he’ll be ready to go by the weekend.
Along with Olic’s hip injury, our roster looks a lot less crowded than it had. Ribery will surely play as a wing on the left side, and he should be in a good state physically, as he was pulled early in the second half in the Hamburg match. The most likely scenario is that Müller plays on the right wing and Toni Kroos comes in at the second-striker/forward middie spot. Kroos was absent this past Saturday, along with Gustavo and Boateng, so those three figure to carry much of the load. Also, I’m going to go ahead and reiterate my prediction that Contento will get some time at one of the fullback spots.
Staring at a two goal deficit, Zürich must attack early and often. If Neuer and the back four can withstand the pressure, there should be several opportunities for Bayern to carve out some space on offense. An early goal would put us in a great position, and Zürich knows they need to score early to have a chance, so expect the first 20 minutes to be fast-paced and aggressive.
Plenty of transfer rumors floating around, we’ll be back with another post tomorrow to address all that. Right now, we’re 90 minutes away from securing a spot in the Champions League group stage. Last year, the possibility of missing the Champions League was every fan’s desperate fear. All of the football world’s media outlets (including the front page of The Offside) were laughing at the possibility of Bayern in the Europa League. We can put that to rest today.
Viva viva FC Bayern!