At times this season, Bayern Munich have seemed like the only team capable of touching the same sorts of heights as Barcelona and Real Madrid. When Bayern are on, they're on, scoring basically at will through the potent front four of Mario Gomez, Franck Ribery, Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben. However, those heady days seem to come in random bursts, and in between the doldrums of mediocrity (by Bayern standards) set in.
The reason (ok, Bastian Schweinsteiger's injury problems are another reason) that Bayern are second in the Bundesliga instead of first is that they combine the unfortunate attributes of being both inconsistent and completely and utterly predictable. Teams know how to shut them down, and all too often there's not a thing Bayern are able to do about it. So, it's no surprise that Phil Pierson over at Bavarian Football Works thinks that, well, there will be no surprises:
No need for rotation at this point, this one's for all the marbles. It's conceivable that Jupp Heynckes could make a change to protect one of the several Bayern players one yellow away from suspension while we're at home, but that's very unlikely. Bayern will bring our "A" line-up, which is pretty much assured except for the question of whether to put Kroos in the midfield or to leave him on the bench for a late burst of offense and start with Gustavo's toughness and tackling power.
Starting lineup - Neuer; Alaba, Badstuber, Boateng, Lahm; Schweinsteiger, Gustavo; Ribery, Mueller, Robben; Gomez.
Substitutes from - Kroos, Olic, Tymochuk, Rafinha etc..
This would be the standard and most predictable line-up. Any chance Heynckes has been cooking up some secret new formation and is ready to bust it out at this most-urgent time? Hmmm ... nah, although that would make for an interesting scene.
Surely Bayern will have to adapt in order to stand much chance of being Real Madrid, who are led by one of the best tacticians in the world. Right?
We'll have live coverage of the game in our Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid, UEFA Champions League StoryStream. For more on the two teams, head over to Bayern Munich blog Bavarian Football Works and Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid.