Bayern Munich are favourites to progress to Champions League quarter-finals, but can’t let Liverpool play with freedom


WHEN the draw was made, I thought Liverpool would be too strong for my former team Bayern. Now, though, things feel very different.

In the last few weeks you can see that the Bayern players have found each other again.

Lothar Matthaus reckons Bayern will be too strong for Liverpool in Germany
Lothar Matthaus reckons Bayern Munich will be too strong for Liverpool in Germany

They know what they need to do and what they need to show.

Coach Niko Kovac has finally put his stamp on the team.


Nobody expected the 0-0 draw at Anfield but Bayern will know the dangers when they start this game.

Liverpool are organised, powerful and fast. They don’t have to come out and leave themselves open.

But this time, that is what Bayern must do — and it means Liverpool will look for the chance to hurt them on the counter-attack.

At Anfield, it was very different. Bayern showed the discipline they had been lacking all season.

I don’t think the full-backs crossed the half-way line once. They were determined not to give Liverpool any space and played to not concede.

On the day, though, the result was the only thing that mattered. They cannot play that way tonight.

When you are at home, in a game in which you know you have to score, they have to be more offensive than they were in the first leg.


Niklas Sule may be shunted out to right-back in Kimmich's absence
Niklas Sule may be shunted out to right-back in Joshua Kimmich’s absence

Joshua Kimmich is suspended so it will be either Rafinha or Niklas Sule at right-back.

Sule has played right-back many times and he is faster. Bayern must look after Sadio Mane, who is so quick. That’s why I’d go with Sule.

Sule also adds to Bayern’s aerial threat. They can send him, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng up — and also Javi Martinez.

And they know Liverpool have had problems defending good corners.



Bayern are a different team since coming back from the winter break.

They are playing with far more confidence. They have scored 11 in their last two games and could have scored more.

It has been the real Bayern Munich — sharp from the first whistle.

The players will go into this game believing they will score enough goals to win it, even if Liverpool get one or two.

There has been a change of shape, with the key being to have the three Spanish speakers — Martinez, Thiago Alcantara and James Rodriguez — together in midfield.

Martinez has become the most important player in this system. Everybody realises how important he is, especially in terms of screening the defence.

With him in front, giving stability, they are far more solid defensively.

Thiago is the playmaker and James can play the final ball for the attackers — Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski. They now look balanced.


Liverpool's front-three will always be a worry for Bayern Munich
Liverpool’s front-three will always be a worry for Bayern Munich

The onus is on Bayern because they’re at home but Liverpool only have to draw if they score.

On the other hand, Liverpool have lost their last five European games away from home.

They know they will probably only get one or two chances, so they have to be clinical.

Kovac has been focused on Bayern’s defending. He was always confident they could score.

It was keeping goals out that was the problem — but he seems to have got that right now.


I’m ex-Bayern, so I want them to go through. It will be tight but I think they can do it.



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