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Bayern Munich vs. Atletico Madrid, Champions League preview

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The knockout stages await for both teams, which makes Tuesday’s game kind of boring even before a ball is kicked.

FC Bayern Muenchen - Training & Press Conference Photo by Adam Pretty/Bongarts/Getty Images

Bayern Munich are not the position they want to be in going into the last game of the Champions League group stage. Their runner-up fate is already determined, and their clash against group leaders Atletico Madrid is not going to change that.

In his press conference on Monday, Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti seemed to put much more weight on the knockout stage. “From the knockout stage the level will be higher. We didn’t see a lot new in the group stage. The quality will increase, and we will be competitive.”

Still, Bayern are hosting the same team in the same place where they were knocked out of the Champions League last season. This game also is also coming in the midst of a title race Bayern weren’t expecting, so the Champions League could be where the defending champions re-find their feet.

Atletico Madrid have also traveled to Munich with most of their first team squad. They are coming off a 0-0 draw against Espanyol, but have scored 11 goals and conceded none in their last four games. Atleti could very well try to take the game to Munich, even if the game does not count for anything besides coefficients and cash.

“It is always an important game against Atletico Madrid,” Ancelotti said. “We just haven't achieved what we planned on achieving.”

Thomas Müller could still achieve something on Tuesday no matter what the result is. Although he has not scored in the Bundesliga, Müller has two goals in the group stage, and may be able to use the Champions League to rediscover his scoring touch. That touch looked nearly there in Mainz at the weekend, and he was still able to contribute to Bayern’s 3-1 victory without getting on the score sheet.

As he always does, Ancelotti has promised changes, and may even resort back to the 4-3-3 system he has fallen in love with at Bayern. But the team he selects on Tuesday will be just as important, even if the final result has little meaning.

Score prediction: 1-1 draw. This match will be a far cry from the intense spectacle in April. Bayern had issues containing Mainz on the break, and Atleti will exacerbate that weakness if Bayern aren’t careful. But even with Antoine Griezmann and Kevin Gameiro knocking in goals for fun, Atleti have been inconsistent with their scoring efforts. Each team should get a moment to shine, but don’t be surprised if the result is as empty as the implications of the match are.

Bayern Munich injuries and suspensions: Jerome Boateng, Kingsley Coman, Julian Green

Atletico Madrid injuries and suspensions: Felipe Luis, Tiago

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