By Walter Broeckx
We play Bayern Munich tonight in the CL. Anyone who follows football a bit knows that Bayern Munich is the biggest team in the Bundesliga. They are the most successful team in Germany. And also in Europe they have won lots of cups. And they sit on top of the Bundesliga with an unseen 15 points more than the team in second place.
They are a club with a lot of tradition and who have produced many world class players. The generation of Sepp Mayer, Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller, Rummenige, …. Oh nostalgia, nostalgia for in those days in my country we could see the German TV stations I kind of grew up with the Bundesliga.
Bayern Munich has always been a team that had a lot of players coming through their own ranks and staying at the club for ever. And they added the best players from other teams in the Bundesliga. I think most players in the Bundesliga dream of playing for Bayern Munich at one stage in their career. Except the loyal Dortmund youth players maybe.
Bayern usually scores at least 2 goals in each game in the Bundesliga. And only on a rare occasion they let in goals. Only 7 so far in the Bundesliga. The good thing is that in the CL this season they have let in more goals. Even more goals than Arsenal in the group stages. So in the CL they are not that tight at the back as they usually are in the Bundesliga. Let us hope they stay that way in Europe.
If we look at Bayern in the CL I have seen that they have a little pattern the last seasons. Go rather far one year and the next season go out rather early. In 2009-2010 they reached the final and the season after that went out in the 1/8th finals. Last season they reached the final and so… well…one can hope they keep up this record.
Being the biggest club in Germany it is the most supported club but also the most hated club for supporters of other teams. They can be a bit arrogant in their behaviour. This goes for club, players and supporters. And certainly for the real Bavarian people it goes with a big pride for their region and the fact that Bayern Munich is the ideal advertising board of their region.
The player to watch closely for me is Muller. A 23 year old or young player from their own youth ranks. He is technically very gifted as are most German players but he can run, run, run and run up and down his flank without ever seemingly getting tired. And he scores a few goals also. I think he is their second best goal scorer. People who fear Ribery or Robben are slightly off centre I think. I know those two can have a great day but they also have more frustrating days than good days.
Their defence should be fine in normal circumstances but they have to shuffle it a bit. So they will play with Dante and Van Buyten in central defence. Both have a Belgian past. As Dante played in Belgium for a few years and Van Buyten is from Belgium be it with a German mother. Van Buyten is an old and experienced defender. He can score a few goals with a header at times but he is also prone to the odd mistake and error.
So we have to hope he is in one of those days famous and feared by the entire Belgium nation… whenever he plays for the Belgium national team!
He really can mess things up at times at the back. I have seen him make school boy errors in international games. But he can also score a goal and that is the reason he got picked so many times to play for Belgium. He also usually struggles against small players who are quick and can turn quick. So that might be a possible weakness in his game. And did I tell you he once was half a season at Manchester City some 8-9 years ago? He only played a handful of games also because of injury when he was loaned there from Marseille his club at the time.
Their keeper has a finger injury it seems so I hope Podolski gets his big gun out there and fires a few cannonballs at the keeper and maybe he can beat him a few times.
Up front apart from Muller who can also play in midfield we will probably see Mandzukic. The Croatian striker who came from Wolfsburg and who made a lot of goals and who is their top scorer this season. But the best scorer in the team is still Gomez. But this season Gomez has seemingly lost his scoring form and his place. But they have a lot of quality upfront.
So one could say they are quite a good team.
No big ref preview from me this time. I have heard that the ref will be Moen from Norway. We had him twice in the CL and won both games. He has done Bayern once and they won their game. All home games in fact. So this will be the first away game with Moen for Bayern. For Arsenal it will be the 3rd home game under Moen. And up to now he was great in both those games. His first visit he got a score of 90% in the old referee review format and the lost points was his assistant missing an offside. We had him also in the group stage this season when we beat Olympiacos with 3-1. So we can hope we keep it up with this ref, who until now has no negative history with Arsenal.
So we should have two teams, a good ref, on paper this should be a good game. If both teams want to go for it, it could be an entertaining evening. Bayern Munich is not a defensive orientated team so they will try to go forward. Given their league position and European status they are the favourites. But we know the favourites don’t always win.
Oh and if you go to the Emirates please do join in from the start when they start shouting REDARMY!!! I wanna hear you tonight!
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