Created on 28-09-2015 at 17:30 PM
The games just keep on coming for FC Bayern in the traditionally busy early autumn period. After the 3-0 Bundesliga victory over Mainz on Saturday, Germany’s biggest club face their next challenge just three days later: Pep Guardiola's troops host serial Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb at the Allianz Arena in the second Champions League group stage fixture on Tuesday (Live in English from 20.45 CET on Twitter and fcbayern.de Web Radio).
“It's a great opportunity to take the next step and move onto six points,” said Guardiola at Monday’s pre-match press conference. “If you want to qualify for the Round of 16 you have to win all your home matches and at least one away. We've accomplished one part of it,” commented the Catalan, recalling the 3-0 opening day victory in Piraeus two weeks ago.
Martínez and Boateng fit
For Tuesday evening’s first-ever encounter with the Croatians in Europe’s elite club competition, Guardiola may have to make do without two players: Arturo Vidal is doubtful after taking a knock on the knee, and Sebastian Rode too has “some problems,” the coach reported. On the plus side, Javi Martínez is free of pain after his return to the starting line-up in Mainz; his recently injured knee stood up “very well.” Guardiola said he would call up one or two player from the U-23 reserves to fill out the squad.
Dinamo Zagreb, undefeated in their last 45 matches, arrived in the Bavarian state capital on Monday. “What can you say? If you achieve that you have a great attitude,” acknowledged Guardiola. “Of course it's impressive, but it's time they suffered another defeat,” announced Jérôme Boateng, who was only a substitute in Mainz but is set to play on Tuesday.
Guardiola: They’ll come here and defend
Zagreb sprang something of a surprise with a 2-1 victory over Arsenal on Matchday 1, but their away record in the competition makes dismal reading: 17 years have passed since their most recent win on the road and they have lost their last six away fixtures. “Provided we play to our potential, we’ll book the next three points. It would give us six points and a perfect start,” stated captain Philipp Lahm. “They’ve beaten Arsenal but we’re obviously aiming to win and stay top of the group,” added Boateng.
Guardiola believes the Croats will field “a very defensive team playing disciplined football,” aiming to launch their “quick wide players” on counter-attacks. He has also advised his players that Dinamo are likely to favour man-to-man marking, a contrast to the zone defence favoured by most European teams. “We have to analyse and interpret this, and optimise our attacking moves accordingly,” said the coach, hinting at a minor change in tactics.
Once again, the Spaniard has high hopes of in-form strikers Thomas Müller and Robert Lewandowski. The Pole has scored seven times in the last two matches and was the “key player” in the back-to-back wins last week, Guardiola noted: “I hope he can continue this fantastic streak on Tuesday.” And Müller is already up to 30 Champions League goals thanks to his brace in the opening match away to Olympiacos.