Bayern Munich and Dinamo Zagreb square in the final group stage game of the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League. This is the return leg of the first fixture that took place in Munich in which the Bavarians steamrolled to a 5-0 victory.
The match is meaningless in the sense that neither side can gain or lose a position in the group regardless of the result. Bayern have solidified themselves to the top of the table, while Zagreb could win the match by 50 and not get out of last place.
So, what's on the line in the match? Pride is, for starters. Bayern were shellacked at the weekend against Borussia Mönchengladbach, and they would really enjoy a nice bounce-back victory against a European opponent.
The Match (2nd Meeting)
Location: Maksimir, Zagreb, Croatia
Head: Martin Strömbergsson
FC Bayern results: This is Bayern's first match with Strömbergsson as the referee.
Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com
Television and Streaming:
US: ESPN 3, WatchESPN, Fox Soccer 2Go
Canada: TSN 3
UK: BT Sport Extra, BT Sport Live
Germany: Sky Sport 2 & 3 | HD, Sky Go, TeleClub Sport Live
FC Bayern: LWWWW
UEFA Champions League: 1 W, 0 D, 0 L
Largest Victory: 5-0 (Champions League: September 29, 2015, Munich)
Even though the match is meaningless for FC Bayern, it should be expected that Guardiola will field a mostly full strength lineup for the match against Dinamo.
Since Jerome Boateng is sitting on a yellow card, it would make sense for Guardiola to run out Javi Martinez and Medhi Benatia at the centerback positions. This would allow Boateng to not only avoid being suspended for the first knockout game in the new year and give the German defender some rest.
Franck Ribery very well could find himself in the starting lineup for FC Bayern, having returned from his long injury absence over the weekend. If not, expect the Frenchman to make another substitute appearance as he rounds into form.
Projected Lineup (4-2-3-1):
Franck Ribery – Thomas Muller – Kingsley Coman
Sebastian Rode – Joshua Kimmich
Rafinha – Javi Martinez – Medhi Benatia – Philipp Lahm
Bench: David Hundertmark, Tom Starke, Jerome Boateng, Jan Kirchhoff, Thiago Alcantara, Xabi Alonso, Fabian Benko, Niklas Dorsch, Arturo Vidal, Julian Green
Out/Suspended: Holger Badstuber (suspended), David Alaba (ankle), Arjen Robben (calf), Douglas Costa (thigh), Mario Götze (thigh), Juan Bernat (groin), Manuel Neuer (rest)
The match will be an interesting one for Dinamo, as their title race in the Prva HNL is far tighter than FC Bayern's in the Bundesliga. Dinamo are currently tied at the top of the table with HNK Rijeka with 39 points after 19 matches. The stakes couldn't be higher between the two clubs, and they will meet in the final match before the winter break.
Matjaz Kek will have to balance not getting destroyed by Bayern and keeping his players healthy and injury-free in this one.
Projected Lineup (4-2-3-1):
Junior Fernandez – Marko Rog – El Arbi Hillel Soudani
Paulo Machado – Domagoj Antolic
Josip Pivaric – Jeremy Taravel – Leonardo German Sigali – Ivo Pinto
Bench: Antonio Jenzia, Filip Benkovic, Damir Savsic, Arijan Ademi, Ante Coric, Armin Hodzic, Marko Pjaca
Projected Score: Dinamo Zagreb (0-3) Bayern Munich
The Other Action
Group F Opponents
Olympiacos vs. Arsenal (Wednesday, 2:45 PM ET)
Rest of UEFA Champions League
Paris Saint Germain 2-0 Shakhtar Donetsk
Sevilla 1-0 Juventus
Benfica 1-2 Atlético Madrid
Galatasaray 1-1 Lokomotiv Astana
PSV Eindhoven 2-1 CSKA Moskva
Real Madrid 8-0 Malmø FF
Valencia vs. Olympique Lyonnais (Wednesday, 2:45 PM ET)
Chelsea vs. FC Porto (Wednesday, 2:45 PM ET)
Dinamo Kiev vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv (Wednesday, 2:45 PM ET)
AS Roma vs. BATE Borisov (Wednesday, 2:45 PM ET)
KAA Gent vs. Zenit St. Petersburg(Wednesday, 2:45 PM ET)