Well, we’re at that part of the year, where a bunch of men in suits gather in Switzerland to conduct the Champions League draw. Bayern Munich are once again a part, being one of the seeded teams that won the group. They have the potential to face some tough opponents — Real Madrid and Chelsea chief among them.
The draw for the Round of 16 is unique, because unlike the other knockout draws it takes place months before the actual games — giving the teams involved plenty of time to prepare for these respective ties.
Bayern have the potential to face the following opponents:
- Real Madrid (Spain)
- Atletico Madrid (Spain)
- Chelsea (England)
- Lyon (France)
- Napoli (Italy)
- Atalanta (Italy)
Lots of interesting ties in there, including a few revenge matches. So what do we at Bavarian Football Works think about our potential opponents?
Ideal draw: Napoli
Napoli are a mess, and Gennaro Gattuso is unlikely to fix that any time soon. While Ancelotti may have orchestrated some key results against Liverpool to qualify for the Ro16, their team is currently falling apart at the seams. However, the Neapolitans are still a “big name” team, so beating them would come with decent street cred for the team and improve Bayern’s confidence. They would be a perfect opponent to start off the knockouts.
Worst draw: Real Madrid
Real Madrid have lived rent-free in our heads for some time now, and that’s not likely to change any time soon. Sure, they’ve lost Cristiano Ronaldo, but they still have Rodrygo and Vinicius and loads of other talent to offset the loss. However, Bayern’s mental block against the Blancos might be the biggest obstacle for the team — facing them as early in the Ro16 might put the players under pressure. Let’s save the reunion for the later rounds, thanks.
Ideal draw: Napoli
Napoli are far from the easiest team that Bayern could draw — Lyon and Atlanta are two obvious examples of easier matchups. However, this is the exact reason why the Naples-based team would be so fantastically attractive. They aren’t a world class side, but they aren’t slouches either, meaning that chances of getting knocked out would be slim for Bayern, yet the team would still need to click into another gear and put out good performances.
Therefore, two games against very competent opposition would serve Bayern well and give them invaluable match practice to aid them in the latter stages of the CL. Which of course, Flicki-Flaka-inspired Bayern will achieve.
Worst Draw: Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid under Diego Simeone have consistently been among some of Europe’s most feared sides for years now. The Spaniards’ direct, counter-attacking play could cause great issues for the Bayern defense, a defense which is susceptible to being caught on the break, and harmed by physical presences.
Furthermore, the scorelines in such a fixture would likely be low, potentially allowing luck to dictate the ties. On account of these factors, I believe that elimination would be a very real possibility against Atletico, especially since Bayern wouldn’t have faced any true, top quality opposition in 2019 before this potential tie. For Bayern’s champions League hopes, they will wish to avoid the side that sent them to despair in 2016.
Ideal draw: Chelsea
Bayern Munich are at a juncture where stability and momentum is key. Coach Hansi Flick is still finding his feet, and although the team is playing an impressive brand of football, there is a lot of room for improvement in various areas. The squad is still getting used to the “high-intensity gegenpressing,” and the state of the Bayern’s defense is also cause for major concern.
Chelsea boasts great quality in the attack, but they don’t have the world-beaters that could cause Bayern too many problems. On the other hand, they will be no walkover, and the tie will really test Bayern’s quality and, if they qualify, prepare them to face other good opposition in the latter stages of the UCL. Bayern will be favorites, but the tie could go either way, and that is what will make this exciting.
Additional bonus: Revenge for ‘the game that shall not be mentioned’, served cold on a “Flicki-flaka” sized platter.
Worst draw: Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid are the anti-Bayern in so many ways — a team that parks the bus against good opposition, a team that is blisteringly quick and lethal on the counter, and one comprised of menacing, aggressive players that can fight dirty when required. This tie could quickly turn into a foul-tasting one for Bayern, since the team is bound to get frustrated against a 11 man wall. It’s also quite unpleasant for Flick, who will be subjected to one of the most difficult ties as early as the round of 16.
Sure, revenge against the Madrid side might seem delectable, but we are just as likely to see ourselves getting knocked out, which makes this the worst possible UCL tie for me.
Ideal draw: Atalanta
From a greedy perspective, I would to see Bayern get drawn to face Atalanta, who were a team that barely scraped through to the knockout stages.
They’re clearly the weakest opponent that we can face on paper — not only is the gap in talent massive, but the Serie A side conceded 12 goals during the group stages, which is the most of any side that progressed to the knockout stages next to Tottenham.
Worst draw: Real Madrid
For the love of God; please let us avoid any of the La Liga teams, especially Real Madrid. We just always seem to have terrible luck against Spanish teams and always get the WORST officiating crews possible, though we dispatched Sevilla over two legs in the 2017/2018 season. Atletico Madrid could also prove to be a massive struggle for us, so I’d prefer to avoid them in the round of 16.
Who do you want to face in the Champions League Round of 16? Comment below!