FC Bayern and Napoli will Battle at the Allianz Arena in a Vital Clash in Group A
Bayern and Napoli will both be aware that Manchester City is on their heels and both will be desperate to win.
Bayern currently leads the group on seven points with Napoli in second on five points. On Wednesday, if Bayern wins and Villarreal wins, Bayern will qualify regardless of results on the final two match-days. However, if they lose, they will find themselves second in the group and in trouble.
Recent form again does not suggest that Bayern will run into trouble. After the match in Italy, Bayern lost to Hanover. In that match, they did lose a man and yet was unlucky to lose. They have since picked themselves up with wins over Ingolstadt in the German Cup and Nuremberg in the Bundesliga by a combined score-line of 10-0.
Mario Gomez struck twice in the Bavarian derby against Nuremberg while Franck Ribery and Bastian Schweinsteiger also scored. Things were however not as rosy for Napoli.
Napoli lost to Catania, 2-1. They lost a man in the 43rd minute. Mario Santana was sent off after a second yellow card was awarded to him. The day had started well for the Italians as they went ahead by a first minute goal by Edinson Cavani. However, Catania struck early in the second half to take the lead. Napoli, despite being down to ten, pushed and pushed for an equalizer and came very close but did not get it.
Both sides have injury concerns to deal with. Walter Gargano has been definitely ruled out for Napoli. Napoli will have to take to the pitch without captain Paolo Cannavaro who was immense in the match in Italy. He picked up a yellow card in Italy and is thus suspended for the match in Munich. Goran Pandev and Marco Donadel haven’t featured for a while and will perhaps play no part in this one.
For Bayern, Arjen Robben will not be a part of the match. Breno Borges has returned to training but whether Jupp Heynckes will include him in the squad after such a lengthy spell on the side-lines is doubtful. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Daniel Van Buyten are both doubtful.
However, if Jupp Heynckes’ words are anything to go by, both Schweinsteiger and Van Buyten should recover by Tuesday and be prepared to play on Wednesday. A lot of what happens to Bayern happens because of Schweinsteiger who seemingly is the player everyone follows and listens to in Bayern.
In the case that Schweinsteiger does not play, expect to see a defensive midfield pairing of Luis Gustavo-Anatoliy Tymoshchuk or of Toni Kroos- Luis Gustavo with possibly Ivica Olic playing in the wing. In that scenario, Bayern might also shift to a 4-4-2 and play Nils Petersen or Olic up-front. However, Bayern has stuck to the one formation this season and it is difficult imagining Heynckes switching for such an important game.
What Bayern should be careful of is getting a red card. Statistics show that Bayern has committed 59 fouls in the competition so far, more than any other team. Schweinsteiger is one booking away from getting a one-match suspension as is the Napoli duo of Christian Maggio and Salvatore Aronica.
Bayern will have to be wary of Maggio as he caused the most problems for them in Italy. Aronica meanwhile can consider himself lucky to not have picked up a yellow for play-acting in Italy.
Whatever happens, expect this match to be entertaining as both sides will try to win and put one foot into the round of 16 in the Champions League.