It’s all to play for in the second leg between Bayern Munich and Liverpool in the Champions League. Honors were even at 0-0 in the first leg at Anfield, so there absolutely has to be a winner at the Allianz Arena even it requires extra time and a penalty shoot out.
Ahead of the first leg, we caught up with Zach from SB Nation’s Liverpool outlet, The Liverpool Offside, to get a sense of how Liverpool fans felt ahead of that leg. We decided to catch up with him again ahead of the do-or-die second leg, as everything will be on knife’s edge at the Allianz Arena.
1. What lessons did you guys learn from the first leg?
Ein Prosit, ein prosit, der Gem— Wait. What? Oh, hi Tom! Boss night for footy in Bavaria, yeah? So, the first leg was an interesting stalemate. You jokingly predicted a 0-0 tactical draw, and that’s more or less what we got (although the xG stats show a more lopsided affair). It was a weird game of football, where both teams felt shaky at the back, and yet both teams failed to make the net bulge. I think if we learned anything, it’s that both clubs and/or managers are tactically astute, fairly evenly matched, know their way about Europe, and didn’t want to do anything that would give it away in the first leg. Could really see this one going either way in Munich. Should be a cracking match.
2. Will Klopp set up differently? If so, how?
Klopp will be massively bolstered, both in personnel and set-up, by the return of Virgil van Dijk. Fabinho will be free to return to his holding role in midfield (where he has excelled in recent months), and it should bode well for our attack. Of course, that may open up more space for Bayern, who will be bolstered by playing in front of the home crowd. I can’t see Kloppo setting up super defensively, especially with the away goals premium. However, he very well could cede possession — as he has shown a tendency to do in big matches — in order to create space on the counter.
3. Aside from van Dijk, who do you see as a potential difference maker in the tie?
Gee, it’s like you read my mind, and not like an email with questions I can read though or anything. Well, any of our front three can hurt any team on any given night. Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino each scored a brace on the weekend, with the former being in particularly good form. The Senegalese international has 8 goals in his last 9 matches in all competitions, and could easily have a few more if he took all his chances (as we saw last time out against Bayern)! And all of this is ignoring the Mo-shaped elephant in the room, who has been running rampant down the wings in recent weeks, but without the expected goal return. We’ll be hoping he fixes that down in Munich!
Regardless of what happens in the second leg, we would just like to say thank you to The Liverpool Offside for giving us the opportunity to collaborate with them during this tie between two of Europe’s biggest clubs. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with you guys and hope you enjoy the match. May the best team win!
‘Liebe und Respekt’ from BFW!