Bayern Munich’s 4-1 win against PSV Eindhoven two weeks was what got them back to their winning ways. Though they have conceded goals in three in their last for games, the German champions have put together a nice four-match winning streak that has reaffirmed their status as one of Europe’s best teams.
Their performance in recent weeks has alleviated some of the tension going into this imperative return fixture in Eindhoven. Not many will doubt that the Bavarians can put together strong effort when they need to, something that may not have been true two weeks ago. A top performance this time around – in conjunction with Atletico Madrid avoiding defeat against Rostov – could qualify Bayern for the knockout stages with two matches to spare.
“We have improved since the draw in Frankfurt,” said Carlo Ancelotti. “We are playing with more quality, effort and team spirit. We also need that tomorrow.”
However, they will still need to step up their game during their trip to the Netherlands this week. Atletico still has a three-point lead in the group, and with eleven wins in their last 13 games, they are very unlikely to drop points in the Vicente Calderon. Bayern have to stick to their winning ways if they want a chance to top their group.
The task will also be more challenging in Eindhoven than it was in Munich. PSV have conceded just three goals in seven home games this season, and were unbeaten at home in the Champions League last season. Additionally, Bayern’s scoring rate away from home is half of what it is in Munich.
“The game tomorrow will play out differently than the first game,” said Ancelotti. Eindhoven will be more offensive in front of a home crowd. We definitely need to adjust to that.”
PSV coach Phillip Cocu has changed his defensive set-up to get the result that he needs, but Ancelotti will stick to the same system he has used all season. “I am going to put the best XI on the field because we want to win the group.”
That best XI will likely include Arjen Robben, who will play his first Champions League game in the Netherlands since leaving PSV for Chelsea in the summer of 2002. He and Robert Lewandowski combined three times over the weekend, a forceful combination that Ancelotti will probably hope his team has on Tuesday. Bayern have scored multiple goals in all but one of Robben’s starts this season, including the big victory against his former team two weeks ago.
His resurgence, coupled with Douglas Costa’s return from injury, has also left Thomas Müller on the outside looking in. The German forward did not start in either of Bayern’s last two Bundesliga games, playing in the German Cup victory against Augsburg instead. His place in the team has come under scrutiny, but Ancelotti insists he is a key player in his squad.
“I think Thomas Müller is really good,” Ancelotti said. “He is a tactically intelligent player. I just wanted to give him a break in the last game. Now he is rested for tomorrow.”
Bayern’s attacking talent will be put to the test against a strong PSV team. If they come up short, their path in the knockout stage may be more difficult to navigate.
Prediction: 2-0 Bayern win. PSV has defended well as a team in the past two years, which will make breaking them down a much harder task for Bayern than it would be against other opponents. But no defense can stop Robben the way he is playing. The attention he will demand will open up the field for Bayern so long as they are able to switch the play.
Bayern Munich players out and suspended: Javi Martinez (thigh), Rafinha (groin), Franck Ribery
PSV Eindhoven players out and suspended: Siem De Jong (calf), Jorrit Hendrix (knee), Luuk Koopmans (shoulder), Jürgen Locadia (groin), Jeroen Zoet (muscle issues)
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