Throw out all the cliches. David versus Goliath. Empire versus idiots. They all apply.
All the odds are stacked against the Czechs. Bet365 has given Viktoria PlzeÅ 40-1 odds to win, with 10-1 odds to get a result in Munich.
The result appears predetermined, but sometimes lightning strikes at the wrong time.
FC Bayern MÃ¼nchen were supposed to win against BATE Borisov last season, but the Belarusian side won 3-1 at home. Along those lines, PFC CSKA Moskva barely escaped out of PlzeÅ with three points.
Still, team form would suggest that a Cinderella scenario is not in a magic wand somewhere. Oh, and FC Bayern have only lost two Champions League matches in the past three seasons (not counting the final-that-must-not-be-named).
The Match (3rd Meeting)
Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com
Television and Streaming:
US: Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Soccer 2Go
Canada: SportsNet 360, SportsNet World Online
UK: Sky Sports Red Button
Germany: Sky Sports 1 & 2 | HD, Sky Go
FC Bayern: WDWWW
Viktoria PlzeÅ: DWLWD
1-0 W (September 15, 1971, PlzeÅ, Czech Republic)
6-1 W (September 29, 1971, Munich, Germany)
While Die Roten had their game farts in the past (BATE Borisov last season, SC Freiburg this season), they do not lose at home. Even a first have scare from Shawn Parker in FC Bayern's match against 1. FSV Mainz 05 was enough to shake Allianz Arena off its foundation.
The doubt only comes from the team sheet, not the team form. With Dante stitched up and Jerome Boateng suspended, Daniel van Buyten will definitely get his crack after successful spells with Belgium over the break. The no-brainer second choice would be Jan Kirchhoff, but after Diego Contento shifted to center back and played decent, perhaps Pep Guardiola may experiment once more.
Now that Mario GÃ¶tze is on form, he is forcing his way into the Starting XI. The conundrum comes with who sits in the vacant bench spot. While Philipp Lahm was an active participant in the midfield thus far, depth issues could require his services back in defense. If Lahm stays in midfield, one of Toni Kroos or Bastian Schweinsteiger will require a warm-up jacket.
A midweek game against a lesser opponent could be Guardiola's window to bench Arjen Robben, pushing Thomas MÃ¼ller out to the right. Franck RibÃ©ry will likely return after his ankle injury, so a reappearance of the 12/13 wings could materialize.
On a less-important note, Patrick Weihrauch did not play in FC Bayern II's win over TSV 1860 Rosenheim, which means he could be a candidate to appear on the team sheet from the reserves. While Javi Martinez is back practicing, he is still doubtful to appear on the bench, which means that Mitchell Weiser or Pierre-Emile HÃ¸jbjerg could also get their first team-sheet appearance.
Projected Lineup (4-1-4-1)
RibÃ©ry â Kroos â GÃ¶tze â MÃ¼ller
Alaba â Kirchhoff â van Buyten â Lahm
Bench: Starke, Contento, Rafinha, HÃ¸jbjerg, Robben, Weihrauch, Pizarro
After starting the Czech Liga with four straight wins, draws have dragged down their title defense as they currently sit in second place behind Sparta Praha.
To give a bit of a snapshot, PlzeÅ operate in a 4-2-3-1 and get goals from everywhere. Marian ÄiÅ¡ovskÃ½, a 33-year-old defender, and Pavel Horvath, a 38-year-old holding midfielder, scored a hat-trick a piece in the ViktoriÃ¡ni's 3rd-round qualifying games against Kalju.
While Marek BakoÅ¡ has started both Champions League matches up from for PlzeÅ, the top has been a crap shoot with manager Pavel Vrba mixing and matching his attackers. Vrba could turn to 25-year-old Michal Duris, but BakoÅ¡ is the favorite to start.
Frantisek Rajtoral has worked wonders from the right-back position, scoring four goals in all competitions. Jan KovaÅÃk and Daniel KolaÅ are the two in the middle two watch, as they have a combined five goals between them in attacking midfield. Stanislav Tecl and Thomas Wagner are the two exciting youngsters who provide a spark for Vrba off the bench.
Vrba only made one change between the Manchester City and PFC CSKA Moskva matches, so this lineup is a little more self-evident.
Projected Lineup (4-2-3-1)
KovaÅÃk â KolÃ¡Å â PetrÅ¾ela
HoÅava â Horvath
LimberskÃ½ â ProchÃ¡zka â Hejda â Rajtoral
Bench: Bolek, HubnÃk, Pospisil, Koukal, Wagner, Tecl, Duris
Juventus. Real Madrid. Manchester City. Barcelona. All have won their leagues in the last two years, and all have failed to get a result in Allianz Arena. A FC Basel (7-0) or Lille OSC (6-1) result should not shock you.
Projected Score: Bayern Munich 5-0 Viktoria PlzeÅ
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