The time has come: Bayern Munich take a 5-0 lead over Besiktas JK with them onto the pitch tomorrow to seal advancement to the Champions League quarterfinals. Both sides will be missing key players, but the odds are still lopsided in Bayern’s favor.
No Robben, no problem
After drubbing Hamburg on Saturday, Bayern must make do without two players on the squad: Corentin Tolisso will remain in Munich while he recovers from the severe bruise he suffered on his shin. Arjen Robben was scratched from the squad yesterday, after suffering a pinched nerve. He had taken part in individual training along with Thomas Muller, Franck Ribery, and Robert Lewandowski.
Here is how Jupp Heynckes may line Bayern up:
Since Lewandowski, Joshua Kimmich, and Sebastian Rudy all face suspensions if they receive another yellow card, it is unlikely that any of them play. Sandro Wagner can lead the offense in his first Champions League start for Bayern. Franck Ribery will aspire to keep the incredible momentum he showed in his start against Hamburg. Thomas Müller can drift out wide, while James Rodriguez may make his comeback at the 10—James recently rejoined full team training.
In the midfield, Thiago Alcantara may relieve Arturo Vidal and continue his return to form, while Javi Martinez holds down the defensive midfield. In the back four, Niklas Süle might take a turn instead of Jerome Boateng (or perhaps Mats Hummels), while Rafinha replaces Kimmich on the right.
This lineup should be more than sufficient to overcome Besiktas—provided the players are not overwhelmed by the deafening noise that awaits them in Istanbul.
Besiktas: no center-backs, big problem
As if the odds against Besiktas could not get any steeper, they find themselves not only in a 5-0 hole, but also without their starting center-backs from last game, and another one on top of that is also injured.
Besiktas's coach Senol Günes revealed that neither Dukso Tosic nor Pepe are fit to play (Pepe suffered a broken toe in the teams' first encounter), while Domagoj Vida will serve a suspension for the red card he saw that put his team down to ten men against Bayern in Munich. Whatever the makeshift lineup Günes fields to close that massive hole in his team's defense, Uli Hoeness is not worried. Bayern's president stated,
Nothing can happen. I'm not worried. Considering our displays despite the big advantage in the Bundesliga, we have nothing to worry about. None of our players will lack the necessary commitment away to Besiktas.
After the match, Bayern will head straight to the airport and leave Besiktas and Istanbul in the dust.