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'Defend from the front and take initiative'

Bayern with chance to seal last-16 spot

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The last 16 is calling! FC Bayern are just one step away from qualifying for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League. The German record champions can book their ticket early with a win at home to Olympiacos on Wednesday (kick-off at 18:55 CET with live ticker on fcbayern.com), in what is also their first game under new coach Hansi Flick. The 54-year-old was placed in charge on Sunday following Niko Kovač’s departure. “Hansi Flick has our trust, and I think he’s just the right man at the moment,” said chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, while Joshua Kimmich described his new boss as “a top bloke”. fcbayern.com has all the information you need to know on Flick’s debut against the Greek outfit.

The situation

Three games, three wins: Bayern’s Champions League campaign could not have gone better so far. The Reds are sitting comfortably at the top of Group B on nine points, ahead of Tottenham Hotspur (4), Red Star Belgrade (3) and Olympiacos (1). In the reverse fixture a fortnight ago, FCB claimed a hard-fought 3-2 win in Piraeus, and now it’s the turn of the Greeks to visit Munich. A win would confirm Bayern’s place in the last 16 but even a draw would be enough if Spurs win in Belgrade. If the German record champions win and the other match ends in a draw, they will also be guaranteed top spot in the group. For Bayern, it’s a case of bouncing back after Saturday’s crushing 5-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga.

The opposition

Olympiacos have struggled in Europe so far this season. With just one point from their first three group matches, the Greek side have it all to do and must get three points against Bayern to maintain their chances of going through to the round of 16. In their domestic league, the Piraeus club are two points ahead of PAOK at the top of the table, although they only managed a goalless draw at Xanthi FC at the weekend. However, FCB already know from the reverse fixture that Olympiacos will not be easy opponents. “We found it hard,” admitted captain Manuel Neuer.

Team news

Long-term absentees Niklas Süle (cruciate ligament), Lucas Hernández (ankle) and Fiete Arp (recovery after scaphoid fracture) remain sidelined. Flick revealed in Tuesday’s press conference that Javi Martínez and Thomas Müller will both feature.

What the coaches say

Hansi Flick: For me it’s important that our team are proactive and take the initiative. We need to defend from the front and also try to win the ball back as quickly as possible. Olympiacos showed in Piraeus that they’re disciplined and compact in defence. They’re good down the wings, quick in transition and possess good individual players. Mathieu Valbuena is back after missing the reverse fixture. In central midfield Guilherme is one of their best players – he hardly makes any mistakes and stands out.”

Pedro Martins, Olympiacos head coach: “We’re sure that Bayern will play with the same philosophy. For us it’s about being organised, concentrated and patient. We want to make history at the Allianz Arena.

Top fact

Bayern are unbeaten in their last 13 Champions League group games (11 wins, two draws). And the statistics suggest they’ll extend this run on Wednesday as FCB have never lost to a Greek club in European competition (10 wins, two draws). The Munich men have not even conceded a goal in six home matches against teams from Greece.

The referee

Polish referee Pawel Raczkowski will oversee Wednesday’s encounter at the Allianz Arena. It will be the 36-year-old’s third appearance in Europe’s premier club competition and his first involving Bayern.

The kits

Bayern will wear their red home jersey, with the goalkeeper in green. The visitors will be in grey and white, with their keeper wearing yellow.

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