Thursday, May 25, 2017

Bayern Munich v Dinamo Zagreb: Buoyant Bavarians take on Croatian champions

SoccerNews in UEFA Champions League 27 Sep 2015

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After confirming their best start in Bundesliga history, Bayern Munich welcome Dinamo Zagreb to the Allianz Arena for their Champions League Group F clash on Tuesday evening.

With 21 points from their first seven league games, in which they have scored 23 strikes and conceded just three, Pep Guardiola’s side have begun the current campaign in even better form than in their treble-winning season of 2012-13.

Key to their most recent victories has been the performances of striker Robert Lewandowski.

The Poland international has hit a rich vein of form, following up a record-breaking five-goal appearance from the bench against Wolfsburg last week with a double in the 3-0 victory over Mainz on Saturday.

“I’m really happy to have scored two goals and that we got the win as a team,” Lewandowski told reporters.

“The first half wasn’t so easy, Mainz did well. After the first goal it was easier.”

The double took Lewandowski’s Bundesliga tally to 101 in 168 appearances, and Guardiola – who will still be unable to call upon the injured Medhi Benatia, Holger Badstuber, Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Arturo Vidal on Tuesday – believes the striker’s performances warrant a special treat.

“He’s allowed to go to Oktoberfest,” the Bayern coach joked.

Dinamo, meanwhile, sit top of the Prva Liga and have showed their prowess with a 2-1 victory over Arsenal at Stadion Maksimir on matchday one.

With a 45-match unbeaten run in all competitions behind them, confidence is high in the Croatian side’s ranks.

Coach Zoran Mamic rested a number of players for the 4-1 victory over Osijek on Friday, with Ivo Pinto and Leonardo Sigali missing out through injury.

However, the Dinamo boss is under illusions about Bayern’s preparations for the clash.

“I am glad that there were no new injuries and we can prepare for what awaits us,” he said. “Sigali has no chance to be ready for Bayern, and Pinto is 50-50.

“With respect to his [Guardiola’s] work and success, I’m pretty sure that he will at least get a report if he doesn’t see the whole game.”

Dinamo do have Goncalo Santos available once again after he sat out matchday one due to suspension.

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