Robert Lewandowski has stepped up his recovery from a knee injury as Bayern Munich aim to overturn a first-leg deficit against Paris Saint-Germain without their prolific striker.
Lewandowski suffered damage to his right knee while on international duty with Poland in March, ruling him out of both games against PSG in the Champions League quarter-final tie.
However, Bayern were able to provide a positive update on Monday, with the 32-year-old resuming running duties at the club’s training facilities.
In his absence, the reigning European champions were wasteful in the first meeting with their French opponents last week, resulting in a 3-2 loss on home soil.
Hansi Flick’s side had 31 attempts, the most in a single Champions League fixture since the start of the 2003-04 campaign. Their expected goals (xG) value of 3.8 was the highest for a team in the competition this season.
1.8 – FC Bayern underperformed their Expected Goals value by 1.8 goals last night against Paris Saint-Germain (2 goals, 3.8 xG). This is their biggest underperformance in a single match this season in all competitions. Misfire. pic.twitter.com/61nfglnFnv
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) April 8, 2021
Thomas Muller accepts Bayern must be more ruthless in the return fixture in the French capital, but he is confident they have the quality – even without Lewandowski, who has scored 42 goals in all competitions this season – to turn the situation around and seal a place in the last four.
“We’ll approach the game as we normally do,” Muller told the media.
“It’s important to balance risks in individual situations. We won’t be going all-out-attack from the off, but we will try to score an early goal.
“We would be happy to have as many chances [as in the first leg]. We need to make better decisions in critical moments. We have done some analysis and I hope we can implement it.
“Unfortunately, we have suffered a few injuries, but we feel we have the quality and are mentally capable of turning the game around.”
While Lewandowski is a certain absentee, Flick confirmed in his press conference that Lucas Hernandez, Jerome Boateng, Leon Goretzka and Kingsley Coman had all trained with the squad on Monday, adding: “We assume that those who trained can play.”
Only three of the last 50 teams to lose the first leg at home in a Champions League knockout tie have managed to progress, albeit one of those occasions came when PSG were knocked out by Manchester United at the last-16 stage in 2019.
Bayern have been eliminated in each of the last four instances when losing the first leg, all coming in consecutive seasons between 2014-15 and 2017-18.
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