Created on 2019-09-18 at 15:43 PM
It’s Champions League time again at last! On Wednesday evening, FC Bayern welcome Crvena zvezda, better known in the west as Red Star Belgrade, to the Allianz Arena on Matchday 1 of this season’s competition. “The Champions League is the most important and best club competition in the world. As always, we start this season with great ambitions and want to go further than last year,” declared chairman and CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. fcbayern.com has researched and analyzed the most important pre-match facts.
The starting position
Floodlights, CL anthems, top international football - FC Bayern fans have been eagerly awaiting this combination since mid-March. After last year's Round of 16 exit against Liverpool, the German record champions are launching a fresh assault in the new Champions League season. In Group B, the men from Munich face Tottenham Hotspur, Olympiacos Piraeus, and Red Star Belgrade. "Our aim is to reach the round of sixteen and win the group in the process. However, we’d be well-advised not to underestimate any team," said FCB sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić. In the Bundesliga, the Bavarians drew 1-1 at RB Leipzig in last Saturday’s top game. "We had more chances and played well, but unfortunately we took two points fewer than planned. We’re taking the positives from the game - we played really well," said coach Niko Kovač.
Red Star Belgrade are the reigning Serbian champions. "Red Star is a big club with a lot of tradition. They have very good footballers in their ranks. Marko Marin is the string-puller and key player. Their aim will be to close down the space well,” commented boss Kovač. Last season, the East Europeans managed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time. Despite a home win over Liverpool, who later won the trophy, the Serbs were out of Europe after the group stage as they came fourth behind Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool, and SSC Napoli. In the current season, Red Star have won their previous six matches in the domestic Super Liga, posting a 2-1 home win over FK Inđija last Saturday.
As well as Leon Goretzka (surgery on the left thigh), David Alaba is not available for the Bavarians on Wednesday: the Austrian sustained a groin injury during the warm-up in Leipzig and is out of action for the time being.
What the coaches say
Niko Kovač: "We have to fight, as in every game. Furthermore, we want our footballing quality to prevail. My guys get along well and are getting to know each other better and better. Red Star have very good players and if you let them get going, it’s tough. They proved that in the last campaign and already again this season. We have to keep the ball away from them. If we play like we did in the first half in Leipzig, we have a good chance of winning."
Vladan Milojević, Red Star Belgrade coach: "We were under pressure in qualification for the group phase. We worked hard to get into the Champions League. We have to be at our very best here. We're playing a top team, but we have no reason to be afraid."
Bayern fans can follow the opening clash in the Champions League live and free of charge in English with fcbayern.com live updates. From midnight, highlights are also available free of charge on FC Bayern.tv. In Germany, Sky Sport (single match and conference) and MagentaSport (conference) offer TV coverage (German language).
Fast starters FC Bayern: the Reds have won their last 15 opening games in the Champions League - a record in the elite club competition! FCB scored a whopping 35 goals in that time, and have not conceded in the last six opening duels. Last season, the men from Munich won 2-0 at Benfica in Lisbon on the first matchday.
Bobby Maddon from Scotland takes charge of Wednesday’s match. He is assisted by David Roome and Douglas Ross. The fourth official is Kevin Clancy. It is Munich’s first game refereed by Maddon. Bayern’s Serbian opponents enjoyed their last clash with a German team with the 40-year-old in charge, as the Scotsman oversaw their Europa League home win against Köln in December 2017. Maddon has featured in the Champions League since last season, and the game in the Allianz Arena is his third appearance in the competition.
The Bavarians will wear their red home jerseys, with goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in green. Red Star line up in navy, the goalkeeper wearing white.