Bayern Munich takes on Lazio on Tuesday at the Stadio Olimpico in their first leg of their last-16 knockout tie in the Champions League.
Hansi Flick’s side finished top of Group A, while Lazio finished second behind Borussia Dortmund. The German champion’s form is not at the quality it was during the group stages when they took 16 points from a possible 18 but when it comes to the Champions League, Bayern is a different animal.
Domestically, Bayern has been up and down, especially in their last two outings. A 3-3 draw against Arminia Bielefeld in which they were 2-0 down and they then followed that up with a disappointing 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, so they are not exactly in the best form.
Bayern are unbeaten in five Champions League games in Italy (three wins, two draws). The last two appearances by FCB at the Stadio Olympico produced a total of 13 goals, including eight in a 7-1 win at Roma in October 2014. #LAZFCB pic.twitter.com/Pqs9Qfy9ml
— Sextuple winners 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 (@iMiaSanMia) February 22, 2021
Throughout the season, Bayern’s defensive fragilities have been there for everyone to see and against Frankfurt, Daichi Kamada and Amin Younes found ample amounts of space in the box to give their side a commanding 2-0 at half-time. It was a lead that proved too much for Bayern as they slumped to a defeat that cuts their lead at the summit to just two points.
When it comes to European football, however, Bayern is a different beast. They remain unbeaten in 17 Champions League matches and have already clinched the Club World Cup. If they can sure up their defensive inconsistencies, it should see them through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
The Italians will be without Stefan Radu, Luiz Felipe, Silvio Proto, and Thomas Strakosha for the visit of the reigning champions due to injuries.
Both Joaquin Correa and Ciro Immobile are likely to start upfront as they look to exploit Bayern’s high line with their blistering pace.
Hansi Flick will be without numerous first-team players for the clash with Thomas Muller and Benjamin Pavard out due to COVID-19. While Tanguy Nianzou, Serge Gnabry, Douglas Costa, Alexander Nubel, and Corentin Tolisso will all miss through injury.
Both Javi Martinez and Leon Goretzka will likely return to the starting line-up after coming in during the loss to Frankfurt as Flick looks to add some strength to his midfield.
Bayern Munich possible starting lineup:
Neuer; Sule, Boateng, Alaba, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka, Martinez; Sane, Lewandowski, Coman
Even though Bayern are a little short-handed when it comes to players and can be got at in defense, offensively they should be too strong for Lazio as it would be hard to see Bayern not coming away from this tie with at least one or two away goals.
Lazio has the attacking power to trouble Bayern and should fancy their chances, but Bayern should be too strong in this tie and take an advantage back to the Allianz.
Predicted scoreline- Lazio 1-2 Bayern Munich