Thomas Muller admits he is wary of meeting Juventus in Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 clash after their late comeback against Bayern Munich in the first leg in Turin.
Bayern appeared to be cruising to victory thanks to goals from Muller and Arjen Robben, but last year’s finalists responded in the second half to seal a 2-2 draw and keep their hopes of the quarter-finals alive.
Juve have failed to win any of their last five Champions League games with the Bundesliga leaders and Pep Guardiola’s side have been in formidable form in the competition at home, winning all of their last nine games at the Allianz Arena, scoring 36 goals and conceding just four.
But Muller has warned his team-mates to be on their guard against Massimiliano Allegri’s side in a match he believes would have been better to be played later on in the tournament.
He told Bayern’s website: “Juventus will set up defensively. We want to be dominant and efficient with our chances early on. I’m optimistic, but also wary, because Juventus created two goals from relatively little in the first leg.
“It’s going to be a lively battle, just as you want it to be in the Champions League. Perhaps it’s a bit early for this kind of an encounter to take place, in the round of 16, but that’s how it is. It will be very exciting.”
Juve drew with Borussia Monchengladbach on their last trip to Germany in the group stage and Bayern have not lost a two-legged tie to an Italian team since Inter defeated them on away goals in 2010-11.
Defender Patrice Evra admits that nerves got the better of his side during the first hour in Turin but is confident they have learned their lesson as they aim to inflict only a second home defeat of the season on Bayern.
“We were down 2-0 after 50 minutes but it was our own doing,” Evra told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “We weren’t certain of ourselves at the start and we shouldn’t be embarrassed in admitting that we didn’t play with a lot of personality and character.
“We were too anxious, but when we were down 2-0 we took the field with the desire to level the score. However you shouldn’t react in football, you should take the initiative. What happened should serve as a lesson.”
Javi Martinez is back in training for Bayern and could make his first appearance since January 22, but Jerome Boateng (groin) and Holger Badstuber (ankle) are out.
Mario Gotze returned to the starting line-up against Werder Bremen may return to Champions League action for the first time since the 5-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb in September
Giorgio Chiellini is fighting to be fit following a calf injury but Martin Caceres is out with an ankle problem for Juve, who boast an otherwise strong squad for the trip to Munich.
Key Opta Stats:
– Bayern Munich’s last shot on target in the first leg was in the 55th minute (Arjen Robben’s goal). They were winning 2-0 at that stage.
– Bayern have had the most shots in the Champions League this season (150). They’ve also had the most shots on target (62) and scored the joint-most goals (21, alongside Real Madrid).
– Bayern have also averaged the highest possession in the competition this season (71 per cent).
– All five goals conceded by Pep Guardiola’s side in the Champions League this season have come in the final 30 minutes.
– Thomas Muller has scored 13 goals in his last 14 Champions League starts.
– Paul Pogba has had the most shots without finding the back of the net in the Champions League this season: 23 attempts, no goals. Fifteen of those shots have been from outside the box.
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