The Champions League draw was made earlier today and one of the more interesting ties in the last 16 of the competition should be Liverpool against German giants Bayern Munich. Both teams have a fantastic history in the European Cup. However, the pair has never met in the competition in its current guise. It promises to be a fascinating two-legged affair.
Contrasting fortunes this season
The two teams have enjoyed contrasting fortunes in their domestic leagues. Liverpool are starting to look like real title contenders in the Premier League. Jurgen Klopp’s side are yet to be defeated in the English top-flight.
The Reds are producing superb performances at both ends of the pitch and look like a match for anybody at the moment.
Bayern Munich, on the other hand, have made a stuttering start to life under new head coach Niko Kovac. The Bavarians are currently third place in the Bundesliga table, nine points behind arch-rivals and league leaders Dortmund.
In the form that the German giants are currently in, a two-legged tie with one of the strongest teams in European football was certainly not what they needed. Die Bayern will definitely be wary of Jurgen Klopp’s team.
Klopp’s presence at Liverpool a big advantage
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is obviously an expert on all things German football. The former Dortmund boss no doubt keeps at least one eye on what is happening in his native league. Klopp comes across as a student of the game and is likely to have extensive knowledge of Bayern.
Klopp competed against Bayern with both Mainz and Dortmund, so he is highly familiar with the reigning German champion’s set-up. The players and coaching staff may have changed since his time in Dortmund, but he will know all about the German giants.
The German boss has displayed his tactical acumen this season by tweaking his system to make Liverpool harder to score against and far more compact. He is also a far more experienced coach than his opposite number Kovac.
There are already question marks over whether Kovac is the right man to move the Bavarians forward. A victory over Liverpool and Klopp would go a long way to elevating the concerns that the fans and many people connected with the club have over his managerial capabilities.
Klopp will be tactically prepared for the match and his counterpart will need all his managerial abilities to guide his team through to the quarter-finals.
The first leg could be the key to victory
One key to this tie could be that the first leg is at Anfield. Liverpool are favourites to win the first leg at odds of 10/11. Despite their recent good form in the league, the Reds will feel that it is vital to establish a big lead heading into the second leg at the Allianz Arena.
The Merseysiders have struggled for wins on their travels of late in the Champions League, losing their last four away games in European football’s primary competition. This will be a concern for the Reds, as only Real Madrid have won at Bayern in the Champions League since Manchester City achieved a 3-2 win in Munich back in 2013.
Liverpool have the capabilities of pulling off a big home victory in the first leg, which may be enough to see them through, but Bayern are certainly not easy opponents.
The Reds will believe they can beat anybody in this competition, and barring any bad injuries, they could once again go far in the Champions League this season.
Will Liverpool progress past Bayern Munich in the Champions League?
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