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Parallels and contrasts

‘They’re like we were earlier in the season’

The group stage is all a long time ago. Seventy-one days lie between Bayern’s last Champions League match in early December, and Wednesday’s Round of 16 first leg against Fiorentina. With the notable exception of the Miracle of Turin – the stunning 4-1 triumph away to Juventus – the first round of this season’s competition was hard work for Munich, especially at home.

A goalless draw with Juve, a 2-0 defeat to Bordeaux and a 1-0 victory over Maccabi Haifa were the results at the Allianz Arena, as FCB took just four of a possible nine points. Bayern’s home record in the group phase has only been worse on one occasion, the disastrous 2002-3 campaign which yielded just a single point. What does this all mean for the home meeting with Fiorentina? Nothing, according to Philipp Lahm: “We’re in a completely different phase compared to the autumn.”

Luca Toni torn

That’s underlined by Munich’s current run of 12 wins on the spin, six of them at the Allianz Arena. “We’re in good shape,” said Lahm, a fact which has been noted in Italy, where Luca Toni has warned his fellow-countrymen to beware Germany’s most successful club. “They’re extremely strong at home,” said the striker, on loan to AS Roma from FCB.