German league leaders Bayern Munich will play host to Portuguese league leaders Benfica on Tuesday in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals.
On paper, the Bundesliga champions will be favorites but assuming Bayern will go through from this tie should not be taken for granted. Italian champions Juventus exposed Bayern’s clumsy and susceptible defensive line and Juve striker Alvaro Morata was able to run circle around the Bavarian defenders in Munich.
Another concern for Bayern is the fact Arjen Robben will most likely miss the first game in Munich. While Bayern can compensate for his absence, particularly with the return of Frenchman Franck Ribéry and the presence of young compatriot Kingsley Coman, the team’s manager Pep Guardiola would most likely prefer to have Robben with his added experience and his uncanny ability to get foul calls.
In addition, it would be wrong to focus on Bayern without mentioning a few pillars of the squad, including the club’s top scorer Robert Lewandowski, midfield terrier Arturo Vidal and German star Thomas Müller. Austrian defender David Alaba, who can also operate in midfield, is another name to keep an eye on.
The big names and the great exposure given to Bayern Munich should not take away any credit from current Primeira Liga leaders Benfica and their pool of talented players. In attack, Portuguese top league scorer Jonas Gonçalves Oliveira is having the best season of his career and the veteran is supported by Greek striker Kostas Mitroglou. Between them, the attacking tandem has managed to score an impressive 47 league goals this season!
Another player to keep an eye on is midfielder Nicolás Gaitán who has scored 4 goals and provided 3 assists in 7 Champions League starts this season.
This should be an interesting battle between two teams on top of their respective league, yet the history, the players at Guardiola’s disposal and Bayern’s experience tip the balance in the Bavarian team’s favor. However, nothing can be taken for granted! Tune in on Tuesday, April 5th, 2015 to find out what the final score will be and remember you can follow the result of the game live by clicking here.