Bayern Munich’s 2017-2018 Champions League campaign enters the Group Stage tomorrow, as the club hosts last year’s Belgian champions RSC Anderlecht at the Allianz. Anderlecht currently sit in 10th place in the Belgian First Division, with a 2-2-2 record. They will be shown no mercy at the Allianz.
Bayern gets its head back in the game
While many may roll their eyes at group stage matches against weak international opponents, this game could not have come at a better time. A dominant performance by Bayern would help the club move past the scandal of Robert Lewandowski’s criticism of the club and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge’s withering rebuttal, speculation by Thomas Müller that he may someday play elsewhere, and a disappointing 0-2 loss to TSG Hoffenheim on Saturday.
Although Rafinha will still be filling in for David Alaba at left-back, Bayern will have added support among its center-backs with Jerome Boateng now fit to play.
Back in the squad and ready for a new @ChampionsLeague season! ⚽ #motivation #ucl #fcbrsc #jb17 @fcbayern pic.twitter.com/hwHwR6LaOm— Jerome Boateng (@JB17Official) September 11, 2017
If that isn’t a sight for sore eyes!
Arturo Vidal will serve a one-game suspension for being sent off in Bayern’s second quarter-final match against Real Madrid last season. Ancelotti has also indicated that it was a mistake not to rest Franck Ribery against Hoffenheim. The winger picked up a knock after briefly coming on as a substitute. A decision on his fitness will be made after the last practice.
As for how the rest of the team lines up, Carlo Ancelotti has some flexibility, especially in the midfield and on offense. Here is one hypothetical, offense-heavy side:
Neuer; Rafinha, Süle, Martinez, Kimmich; Thiago, Tolisso; Coman, Müller, Robben; Lewandowski
Niklas Süle can join the lineup alongside Javi Martinez, with Jerome Boateng set to make his comeback after about an hour. Sebastian Rudy can be rested, allowing Thiago to pair with Tolisso as an aggressive double pivot.
Up front, Kingsley Coman can continue to man the left wing, presuming Ribery sits the match out, while Robben holds down the right, and Müller lurks behind Lewandowski.
Anderlecht in a nutshell
RSC Anderlecht have started their season with a lukewarm mixture of results (2-2-2), and they lost several key players during the last transfer period, but their offense is showing signs of waking from its slumber. On Friday, Henry Onyekuru, on loan from Everton, scored his first two goals for Anderlecht in a 3-2 victory over KSC Lokeren. The decisive third goal for Anderlecht was scored by Robert Lewandowski's teammate on the Polish national team, Łukasz Teodorczyk.
Carlo Ancelotti showed confidence but respect toward the Belgians at today's press conference. He stated, “Anderlecht are a good team. They are well organised and have options in attack. We have to have a good plan and focus on our own game.”
Anderlecht coach René Weiler hopes to give Bayern at least a little trouble, but seems resigned to a loss: “I'm concerned about our winning the ball and our attacking game. [...] We'll try to perform to our potential and give Bayern a game. But there probably isn't too much to be gained.”