'You don’t want to go a goal down against Juve'
There is growing excitement as FC Bayern travel to face Juventus in the Champions League Round of 16 first leg on Tuesday. Miroslav Klose knows the Italian side very well: the former Bayern striker has been on the books at Lazio for four and a half years and crossed swords withLa Vecchia Signora on many occasions. fcbayern.de has compiled excerpts from an interview with club journal Bayern-Magazin in which the all-time World Cup top scorer analysed the Bavarians' next opponents.
Interview: Miroslav Klose
Bayern-Magazin: Miro, we'd like your advice as a true Serie A expert.
Klose: "Of course! Go right ahead!"
Bayern-Magazin: Do FC Bayern have to fear Juventus?
Klose: "Fear is the wrong word. FC Bayern don't have to fear any team in the world, but they should definitely have lots of respect for Juve. They're a very clever team and it's not easy to knock them out of their stride."
Bayern-Magazin: Three years ago Bayern prevailed with two 2-0 victories. In what ways have Juve changed since then?
Klose: "They have another coach: Massimiliano Allegri instead of Antonio Conte. Their squad has changed too, but I think their style of play has remained similar. In terms of their development Juve are further on than they were three years ago, partly thanks to the Champions League final last season."
Bayern-Magazin: What do you think are their strengths and where are they vulnerable?
Klose: "You know how they say: attack wins you games, defence wins you titles. I know from my own experience that it's very, very hard to score against Juve. They're very compact and their defence is very organised even when they lose possession. But they also have great quality in the centre and up front. You don't want to go a goal down against them, that just makes it even harder. Bayern might make it difficult for Juve in their own half with aggressive pressing. They have to disrupt their build-up play and be quick on the break. This is Juve's weakness -- if you can call it one after 15 consecutive Serie A victories (the interview took place before the goalless draw against Bologna on Friday evening ).
Bayern-Magazin: How important is their experienced keeper Gigi Buffon?
Klose: "Very important. He still backs up the team. He radiates a strong feeling of safety with his experience, and the opponents' forwards know who they're up against. He still saves unsaveable shots at 38."
Bayern-Magazin: Sami Khedira has been playing for Juve since the beginning of the season. Are you still in contact?
Klose: "Yes, we speak on a regular basis and exchange views. I think the transfer was good for him, Juve's Tifosi hold him in high regard."
Bayern-Magazin: FCB will have to make do without Jérôme Boateng and Javi Martínez, but Juve have a long injury roster too. Who is more disadvantaged?
Klose: "Giorgio Chiellini and Martin Caceres are definitely out for Juve, but from what I've heard Mario Mandzukic might be available. Both teams will be without crucial players, so I don't see advantages for either of the teams."
Bayern-Magazin: Let's finish with your prediction for the duel between Bayern and Juve...
Klose: "It's going to be closer than three years ago, when Bayern got through quite easily. But I think they'll prevail this time too."