Five-star Bayern 'all set’ for Juventus
The scenes at the Allianz Arena following Bayern’s meeting with Werder Bremen were as stirring as always, the floodlights brilliantly illuminating the players dancing arm-in-arm to the backdrop of the south terrace faithful bouncing with post-match delight. And then the crowd turned its collective attention to the Champions League clash against Juventus, chanting “European cup! European cup!” in anticipation of Wednesday’s showdown when the Italian champions are in town for the Round of 16 return. Saturday’s thrilling 5-0 win over Werder Bremen provided the perfect warm-up for the midweek contest.
“I think we’ve shown today that we’re in very good shape. I’d say we can look forward to Wednesday with optimism,” commented Karl-Heinz Rummenigge after Bayern’s thorough and convincing showing against Bremen. Speaking after his 75th Bundesliga match in charge, boss Pep Guardiola made no secret of his pleasure: “We played very well. Our positional play was better this time and we prevented them launching counter attacks. We’re all set.”
Munich’s overwhelming superiority was reflected in stats of 83 percent possession, a 20-2 victory in the shot count, and a final tally of five goals without reply. Thiago opened the scoring in the ninth minute and rounded it off in the 90th to seal the first brace of his pro career, Thomas Müller also scored a brace (31, 65), his fifth of the campaign, and Robert Lewandowski netted his 24th of the season with four minutes left. “We played very well today. We were focused from the start,” summarised Philipp Lahm, who set a new personal best with 167 touches of the ball.
Wary of Juve
However, the club captain swiftly moved on from the weekend encounter: “It all counts for nothing. We have to do it all over again on Wednesday.” Bayern have huge respect for Juventus. “We’re playing one of the best teams in Europe. They’ve not conceded a goal in their last ten league games,” warned Guardiola, “it’ll be a very complicated, very tricky match.”
Bayern were 2-0 up in the first leg in Turin three weeks ago, but the match ended 2-2. “We’ve been warned. We can only afford the bare minimum of mistakes,” commented Lahm, although he too is confident following the 5-0 demolition of Bremen: “We’re in good form in attack and we’re capable of defending well too. It’s all in our own hands.”