Bayern München go into this game after a hard-earned 2-0 win over Ingolstadt. Coach Ancelotti will switch from a 4-3-2-1 to a more preferred 4-2-3-1 formation here. Boateng and Ribery remain the most important absences. Robben will return to starting along with Douglas Costa. Thiago Alcantara or Müller could be benched as they’ve struggled with form lately. Bayern München will definitely look to get a win in this encounter. Ancelotti knows that the return leg in London will be a tough challenge, so he’ll try to get some kind of advantage. Bayern will have an attacking approach and will look to put the guests under pressure from an early stage. A switch to an all-out attack is also possible towards the latter stages of the encounter if required.
Arsenal are in generally good shape coming into the game as just Santi Cazorla and Ramsey are notable absentees, weakening the midfield a little. They have depth to cope and Mohamed El Nenny is likely to replace Oxlade-Chamberlain in a move that offers more defensive stability. Ospina starts for Cech in goal, a weakening but one that is standard in the Champions League this season. They travel to Munich with plenty of belief and will feel that they are capable of coming away with a positive result. A score draw would be seen as a decent outcome, and even a 2-1 defeat isn’t a disaster as it’d give them an away goal for the second leg. They’ll try and be positive in their approach where possible, but against a strong Bayern side they may have to sit in and counter at times. While it’s level they’ll look to be positive when possible, but they won’t want to fall behind early and be left chasing, so they’ll weigh up their attacking risk. If ahead they’d become a little more cautious, trying to close out the result, but inviting pressure is dangerous against a talented opponent. Going behind will force them to open up more, putting strain on the back line.
Verdict & Prediction
Bayern haven’t started the year in great form, but building a 7-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga table should serve give them confidence here. They’ll be playing in front of a sold-out Allianz Arena and a return to Champions league football should give them a further boost entering the pitch. Ancelotti will be determined to secure a good result before the return leg in London. Bayern will go for victory here and if possible by a 2-goal margin. Given the away-goal rule, they will also look for a better defensive display and will look for a clean sheet against a dangerous Arsenal outfit.
Prediction: Bayern München -1.00 Asian Handicap (or -1.25 at 1.96 Pinnacle)
Odds: 1.70 SBOBET