19:45 GMT Wednesday October 19th
Perennial CL semi-finalists and sometimes winners, Munich bestride the Bundesliga like an all-devouring colossus. What’s that you got there, Dortmund? A highly experienced German international centre back? Hmmm, yoink and thank you very much.
Basically, any non-Munich player in a German team who sticks his head too far above the parapet stands a good chance of being swallowed up by ever-hungry Bayern beast. It should be noted that no harm generally comes to those who go there and they tend to be well compensated for their troubles so don’t be worrying.
Careful what you wish for
Munich welcomed Carlo Ancelotti to the managerial bench which his predecessor so rarely sat in. The Italian exudes a cool charm and by all accounts, players warm to his easy going manner but in fairness, most of us prefer a chiller to a ball-breaker. However, what we need and what we want are often two very different things and, judging by some of the noises coming from Bayern recently, a ball-breaker is what they need.
No more Mr Nice Guy
Bizarrely, it may be the aforementioned chiller who dispenses the ball breaking. Following a 2-2 draw where the Germans twice threw the lead away against 10 man Eintracht Frankfurt, Ancelotti said, “There’s only one thing which makes me angry, that’s when the attitude of my players is wrong. I have to make changes because I don’t want my team to have this kind of attitude”. Inspector Clouseau could spot the anger there.
The need to bring to heel
A look at their recent results might also suggest something of a malaise in performance. Their last three matches have seen two draws and a loss with no clean sheets kept. Granted, the loss came in a tight match away to Atletico Madrid but consecutive draws against lowly Bundesliga opposition necessitates some paraphrasing of Oscar Wilde – to draw one may be regarded as a misfortune; to draw both looks like carelessness.
But the others are worse
Happily for the German team, they play host to a stuttering PSV Eindhoven. The visitors are currently 4th in the Eredivisie but are already nine points off the leaders after nine games. Similar to Munich, it is almost a month since they last won a match and are coming into this tie off the back of three consecutive draws.
Given that they share a group with Atletico and Bayern, the best PSV can hope for is to get the better of the fourth member, FK Rostov, and claim a berth in the Europa League by way of 3rd place finish.
They drew away to Rostov in round 2 and given that neither team is likely to get any points in their ties with Atletico or Bayern, winning that home tie might well be enough to see them through. So, even with a mis-firing Bayern ahead, it’s unlikely that they’ll open up too much in pursuit of a win and would settle for not getting spanked, or, whisper it, sneaking away with a draw.
The best case scenario as noted in the last paragraph can be greatly assisted by way of PSV’s defense. They’re looking pretty tight at the moment having conceded just five goals in the league and only one when beaten by an Atletico side who have only recently realized that scores greater than 1-0 are possible over the course of 90 minutes. And resolute though we expect them to be, it seems like it will only be a matter of time before Robert Lewandowski’s huffing and puffing will be blow the house down. Bayern are a predictably short 2/9 from Ladbrokes to win.