Bayern Munich vs. Juventus Q&A

Michael Steele

Chulla — a regular commenter in the Bayern Munich SB Nation page, Bavarian Football Works — has agreed to answer a few questions ahead of the mouthwatering quarterfinal clash. Chulla has also agreed to come around the BWARAO page over the next couple of days and answer other questions you may have. Keep it classy, guys.

1) Are you disappointed or excited about the first match being in Munich?

Excited. One of the biggest issues for Bayern is being overconfident. When Bayern has a good game away, they are overconfident for the return leg because of the home advantage. Our overconfidence problems date as far back as 2011 against Inter in the Champions League. The same problems continued against Chelsea (2012) and most recently Arsenal a few weeks ago. The overconfidence and lack of winning mentality can be problematic when the second game is at home, things get worse when the away match goes our way. This can also be seen in the Bundesliga where our home record is worse than our away record. At the Allianz Arena, Bayern has drawn two games and lost one, away: one loss. Want more proof? Bayern has conceded nine goals at home and two away. This season Bayern has done better away than at home in almost every metric.

Last year in the game against Madrid, Bayern won 2-1 in Munich, and went to penalties in Madrid. Glad this year the return leg will be in Turin.

2) What will be the starting line-up against Juventus in the first leg?

It will be a 4-2-3-1 as it has been for the past three years. The team has changed a lot this year with the additions of players such as Mandzukic, Dante, and Javi Martinez. The latter, however, is unavailable for the first leg. My prediction for the lineup is as follows: Neuer in goal; a back four of Lahm, Boateng, Dante and Alaba; Luiz Gustavo and Scheweinsteiger in center midfield; ahead of them, the trio of Muller, Kroos, and Ribery; and Mazukic as a lone striker.

Expect changes for the second leg, most likely Javi Martinez replacing Luiz Gustavo.

3) Who is the most dangerous Bayern Munich player?

Unlike 2010 when Robben took the whole team to the final, the current Bayern Munich team is more of a unit than individuals. There are irreplaceable players like Schweinsteiger and Lahm that have solid performances day in and day out. However, this season, the most dangerous player I would have to say is Thomas Muller. He is on top form both scoring and assisting other players. His most dangerous qualities are his positioning and unpredictability, both of which create major spaces in the opposition's half. Also, he has great chemistry with both Kroos and Mandzukic, as he changes positions with them constantly during the match which confuses the opposition's defense.

4) What is the strongest area — defense, midfield, attack?

Defense. Jupp Heynckes has brought in a new system in which every player defends. It all begins from the first line of attack, with Mandzukic and Kroos constantly pressuring the defenders of the other team and running all match long. Mandzukic in particular, is a player that can frustrate bad tempered defenders such as Papadopoulos with his incessant pressing. Muller and Ribery are constantly helping Alaba and Lahm defend on the wings. Luiz Gustavo is a hard tackling no nonsense player and Schweinsteiger has great tactical awareness. The speed of Lahm and Alaba can help close down the spaces of the wings relatively fast, whilst the strength and height of Dante and Boateng can help reduce the aerial threat of most attackers, finally leaving Manuel Neuer as the last man standing who is one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

The stats speak for themselves: Bayern has conceded 11 goals in the Bundesliga this whole season.

5) What is the weakest area — defense, midfield, attack?

Attack. The new style of play has created a relatively deep frontline, particularly when Mandzukic is playing instead of Mario Gomez. The team has major problems when the opposition sits back and defends (such as against Chelsea, Arsenal, Nurnberg) and can easily get frustrated if they don't score early on. The frustration in the team can be seen as they commit more fouls and the midfield begins to crumble.

6) What should Juventus do to win the match in Munich?

Pressure, pressure, pressure. The team that scares Bayern (and Bayern fans) the most has to be Dortmund. The main reason is the amount of pressure they apply throughout the match. Everyone has to put pressure on the whole Bayern team. Particularly on players like Boateng, Alaba, and Neuer, all of whom sometimes commit certain errors that have been costly. That could lead to loss of concentration and open up spaces. The second thing Juventus have to do is take advantage of set pieces. For the last few years, Bayern's players have had trouble defending from set pieces. Many of our goals conceded have been through set pieces.

7) If you could have one Juventus player out of the match, who would it be?

Pirlo. Next question.

8) What concerns you most about Juventus?

Their fighting spirit. The spirit of the Juventus team can prove costly for Bayern. Juventus can come back from a 3 goal deficit no problem against any team in the world, and that is a cause for concern for a team that can become overconfident and has lapses in concentration. It is that fighting spirit that could lead Juventus to an away win and can put an end to the tie before the second leg.

9) What is your scoreline prediction for this match?

Bayern Munich 2-1 Juventus. A strong tactical match with countless fouls, lots of pressure from both sides, great defending. I believe an early goal from one of the sides is to be expected, as well as a late goal.

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