UEFA Champions League 2011, Bayern Munich Vs. Napoli: Bavarians Fight Azzurri For Top Spot

On October 18, Bayern Munich and Napoli faced off in Naples with the top spot in Group A of the UEFA Champions League on the line. With Manchester City sitting behind both teams with unbelievable talent and questionable form, a loss would be crippling to either team. Both teams grabbed a point in a physical 1-1 draw, but that hardly tells the story.

Napoli were not anywhere near their best at home. Bayern Munich, though their play could reasonably be described as dirty on the night, were also the much better footballing side. They kept the ball better and created more chances as Napoli's front three struggled after scoring their opening goal. The goal was an own goal, and Napoli never actually got a shot on target.

At the Allianz Arena, a repeat performance will almost certainly not earn Napoli a point. Bayern Munich has won their last two matches in all competitions by a combined score of 10-0, as they absolutely bulldozed Ingolstadt in the German Cup and Nürnburg - not a bad side by any stretch of the imagination - in the league. Nürnburg played athletic fullback Timothy Chandler as a midfielder in an attempt to slow down Franck Ribery and their strategy was unsuccessful. Ribery scored a goal and was a creative force. Mario Gomez scored twice, taking his goal tally in all competitions over the last year and a third to 65 in 78 matches, 17 of which were substitute appearances. 

If Walter Mazzarri sticks with his preferred 3-4-2-1 formation, his front three are going to have to create a high volume of goal-scoring opportunities and his central midfielders, arguably his team's weakest point, will have to have terrific games. There is an inherent disadvantage in playing a back three against one and three striker systems like Bayern's, so the performances of the individual players will have to be spectacular for Napoli to get points in Munich.

Napoli vs. Bayern Munich kicks off at 3:45 pm ET, 7:45 pm GMT and 8:45 pm local time. We'll have coverage of all of Wednesday's Champions League action in our UEFA Champions League Wednesday, Matchday 4 StoryStream. For more on the entire world of football, check out SB Nation Soccer.

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