The draw for the Champions League Round of 16 took place in Nyon on Monday and Bayern Munich drew one of the toughest possible opponents. The Bayern - Liverpool tie was undeniably the most exciting fixture drawn today.
Matching up against the Premier League table toppers is clearly not the best news to wake up to, but Niko Kovač understnds what lies ahead. Kovač is optimistic, totally confident, and believes that Bayern can make it into the quarterfinals. In a post by FCBayern.com, Kovač indicated that he expects an awesome tie:
We can all look forward to such a great game. It’s the toughest draw we could’ve been given. Liverpool got to the final last year, they’re top of the Premier League and one of the favorites for the Champions League. We’re FC Bayern München, though, and I’m sure Liverpool know they’ve got to come here to Munich for the second leg. The chances are 50-50. We’ll see what happens. I’m very confident we’ll get through.
Even though things have changed since he left the Bundesliga in 2016, Jürgen Klopp knows Bayern pretty well. Just like Kovač, the “Scouser” is looking forward to it: (via LiverpoolFC):
Difficult. Good draw. It was clear it would be difficult [and] they are obviously a top side. For me it’s nice, going to Germany. But it’s just the draw. So we have now time to prepare the game, a lot of time obviously, and hopefully we have all our players available then. It will be a tough one, an interesting one, and I am looking forward to it.
It doesn't matter how well the coach knows his rivals, it's all about what the players do on the pitch. That's what Klopp thinks about the draw. He is excited to do his part and hopes the players will do theirs as well:
This is a different Bayern than what I played. We all know the stadium, the atmosphere will be great. It’s a really nice trip for all our supporters, it’s a wonderful city, so that’s all good. We obviously know more about German football than about any other league, that’s true, but that doesn’t make a big, massive difference. In the end, the boys have to decide it on the pitch. Let’s give it a try.
Manuel Neuer, who missed last season's Champions League knockouts due to a long-term injury, also thinks that the matches will be exciting. The skipper told FCBayern.com:
They’re having a very good season and we know they were in the Champions League final last year. They certainly won’t be delighted with the draw, either. They can counter quickly and they’re dangerous in front of goal, but they’re also vulnerable, as we’ve seen, and they’ll be up against a good Bayern attack. It’ll be a great game both at Liverpool and also at home at the Allianz Arena.
David Alaba reiterated the feelings of his coach and his teammates. The Austrian is thrilled to play at Anfield and is hoping to bring some points home:
It’s certainly not an easy draw. They’re a very, very good side with unbelievably good individual players. They’ve shown, not just recently, what potential they have – they were in the final last season and they’re currently top of the Premier League. The excitement is huge, though. I’ve never played at Anfield so I’m very much looking forward to the game
Niklas Süle hopes to bring home a point or three during the first leg and thus make the return leg easier and less stressful to play:
In terms of the team, the names and the stadium it’ll be an extremely tough match, but we’re all really looking forward to it. We need to be at the top of our game and get a good result in the first leg. I’m very confident that we’ll come out on top. I’m really looking forward to going up against their attack and seeing Roberto Firmino again. It’ll be an awesome experience.
Hasan Salihamidžić is an outlet of positivity and indicated that players should look forward to challenges like these and seek to overcome them:
They’re the team of the hour, they’re the league leaders in England. They play good football, they’re very physical and they’re full of energy. You need two good days. They were in the final last year, they’re a top side, it’s a tough one but these are the challenges that you look forward to as a player and that you have to overcome in your career.
If there is any consolation, it’s that Klopp has not exactly owned Bayern in his meetings against the Bavarians.