Well, we’re back and it’s time for the UEFA Champions League! Bayern Munich travel to Spain to face Vincenzo Montella’s Sevilla in the first leg of the Quarter Finals. Bayern have had a bad time against Spanish teams these last few seasons — eliminations to Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, and Real Madrid (again!) have reduced the Bavarians’ once-fearsome reputation against Spanish opposition to pseudo-meme status.
Can Jupp Heynckes’ men overcome the Spanish jinx?
Bayern have a fit squad (kinda ...)
Rejoice! For the first time in ... well, a long time, Bayern Munich actually have a decently fit squad to field in a Champions League game. Long term absentees Kingsley Coman and Manuel Neuer continue on their way to recovery, but apart from that, the Bavarians are completely healthy. Here’s how I think they’ll line up:
The above XI is chosen when taking into account the subs that Jupp made against Dortmund. Franck Ribery and James Rodriguez were subbed off early, ostensibly to keep them fresh for Sevilla. Arturo Vidal had an extra few days of rest after the international break, so he should be good to start. Apart from that, it’s just a question of filling in the gaps — the lineup basically chooses itself from that point on.
Of course, it’s not all rosy for Bayern. Three players in that lineup are at risk of a yellow card suspension: Robert Lewandowski, Joshua Kimmich, and Jerome Boateng. Were they to pick up a booking, they could miss the second leg. So the players will have to play very carefully to avoid missing the next game.
What do we know about Sevilla?
Their stadium is called the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán (copy-paste for the accent marks). They beat Manchester United in the Round of 16. And they are the biggest Jekyll-and-Hyde team in the tournament. One moment, they can lose 5-0 to a relatively mediocre Real Madrid side. Another moment, they can dominate and finally draw 2-2 with a high-flying Barcelona, one of the best teams in Europe at this moment.
The result against Barcelona should be a warning for the Bavarians, as it shows that Sevilla will not go down without a fight. But with Jupp Heynckes in charge, Bayern Munich are in good hands, and remain favorites to advance to the next stage of the competition.