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Bayern Munich Looks for Another Big Result Against Roma in the Allianz

If it is not careful, the Rekordmeister could not only be battling the giallorossi, but complacency as well

Giuseppe Bellini

How does a club approach a match with a 7-1 victory in recent memory? Is there inevitable complacency, or a confidence and fortitude that will drive the club into another big result?

Unlike previous seasons, Bayern have not taken anything for granted in their three-front campaign thus far. A 4-0 battering against Hannover 96 preceded a 6-0 pummeling of Werder Bremen, and that allowed Bayern to come out of Rome with the major advantage they had.

By the same token, Bayern have showed signs of complacency before, even without a secure spot in the Champions League Round of 16. AS Roma have a bit of a chip on their shoulders themselves, especially after losing two big Serie A opponents in a month's time. Bayern will have to have their guard up so that Roma does not sucker punch them when they are not looking.

The Match (4th Meeting)

Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany

Head: Cüneyt Cakır
FC Bayern: 1 W, 0 D, 0 L – 2 YC

Assistants: Bahattin Duran, Tarik Ongun
Fourth Official: Mustafa Eyisoy

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Television and Streaming:
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Canada: Sportsnet One, Sportsnet World Now
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Germany: Sky Sport 4 | HD, Sky Go, ZDF
Other Countries

The Fixture


FC Bayern: WWDWW


UEFA Champions League: 2 W, 0 D, 1 L

Largest Victory: 7-1 (UEFA Champions League: October 21, 2014, Rome)
Largest Defeat: score (Competition: Date, City)

The Squad

Time to put your manager hat on. If you were Pep Guardiola, would you make changes to the squad? Bayern lead their Champions League group by five points thanks to three well-deserved wins and the slip-ups from their opponents. By the same token, most of the squad is fit, no one is suspended, and many are in the form of their lives.

A man known for his tinkers and tricks has found a foundational setup that has worked. Sure, Bayern has dropped a few points here and there, but that might be more of a culprit of Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben not being fit enough to play. A year ago, injuries and suspensions hampered Guardiola from fielding a stout first team against Viktoria Plzen, but that scenario is far from the one at the weekend.

A conservative play would be to install all three center backs into the side, a formation we have not witnessed since the league opener against VfL Wolfsburg. Dante has seen his minutes drop as Mehdi Benatia acclimates himself into Guardiola's setup, but the Brazilian's league form has not dropped in the way many projected it would. Juan Bernat and David Alaba have played every minute of the last seven matches, and maybe it is time for one of them to get a rest.

Besides a tinker here and there, Bayern is going to approach the match the same way they have approached nearly every match this season. Xabi Alonso will control the base, Thomas Müller and Mario Götze will make runs off of Robert Lewandowski, Arjen Robben will dart inside and fire shots with Michelangelo curvature, and David Alaba will jump on who ever scores.

This is the time of year where the Bayern engine is constantly revving, and no club wants to get in their way.

Projected Lineup (3-3-3-1):

Robert Lewandowski

Thomas Müller – Mario Götze – Arjen Robben

David Alaba – Xabi Alonso – Philipp Lahm

Dante – Jérôme Boateng – Mehdi Benatia

Manuel Neuer

Bench: Leopold Zingerle, Rafinha, Juan Bernat, Sebastian Rode, Xherdan Shaqiri, Franck Ribéry, Claudio Pizarro

The Opponent

What ever was shaking Roma before has exacerbated over the past two weeks. Following their 1-7 home loss against Bayern, the giallorossi dropped five points in three matches, including a litmus test against Napoli.

Granted, two Brazilian cogs in their setup remain out, which leaves Rudi Garcia to rely on backups to fill in the cracks. When it comes down to it, Vassilis Torosidis is not Maicon, and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa is not Leandro Castan. Because of their defensive deficiencies, the midfield has had to sit deeper, leaving Garcia's three forwards to fend for themselves.

The encouraging thing for Roma is that Juan Iturbe is showing signs of life. He has not restored the form he displayed in flashes at the beginning of the season, but he is getting his legs back under him. That gives another option, along with Gervinho, Mattia Destro, and Alessandro Florenzi, for seasoned veteran and passing forward Francesco Totti to find.

Whether the punch is big enough to bruise Bayern is not yet clear, and their liabilities in defense could hinder any progress to get a point from the match.

Projected Lineup (4-3-3):

Juan Iturbe – Francesco Totti – Gervinho

Radja Nainggolan – Danielle De Rossi – Miralem Pjanić

Ashley Cole – Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa – Konstantinos Manolas – Vassilis Torosidis

Morgan De Sanctis

Bench: Lukasz Skorupski, Davide Astori, Leandro Paredes, Seydou Kiéta, Adem Ljajić, Alessandro Florenzi, Mattia Destro

The Outcome

The Roma players are not going to allow the match to get out of hand like before. By the same token, the giallorossi will need Manolas and Yanga-Mbiwa to have one of the best matches of their careers to prevent their spine from breaking down again. Bayern are going to control the pace of this match, and if their forwards can get in behind like before, it will be another long day for Roma.

Projected Score: Bayern Munich (2-0) AS Roma

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