It’s Champions League time once again as the last 16 is back and the second round of fixtures commences.
Last week we saw the first eight teams compete, with some thrilling fixtures to take us through to the second leg and this week we’ll be hoping for more of the same as Serie A side Lazio take on current holders Bayern Munich.
Lazio currently sit in fifth in the table, just one point behind third placed Roma and have prepared for this game with four wins in their last six games including a 1-0 win over Sampdoria at the weekend. Bayern on the other hand currently sit top of the Bundesliga and were crowned world champions earlier this month, but have failed to win either of their last two Bundesliga fixtures.
Bayern’s style of play is well documented with a high defensive line, combative and technical holding midfielders and pace in attack behind Robert Lewandowski.
Lazio’s style is a little different though, with Simone Inzaghi opting for three at the back and building the entire team around the finishing ability of Ciro Immobile up front. The Italian striker has scored 19 goals so far this season after 39, 19, 41 and 26 in the previous four campaigns also – making him one of the most lethal attackers around.
The midfield of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto has creativity, steel and an eye for goal to it while Lucas Leiva’s inclusion in the holding role makes them tough to break down too.
Bayern have a few fitness problems right now, with Benjamin Pavard and Thomas Muller testing positive for COVID-19 while Douglas Costa, Serge Gnabry and Correntin Tolisso are all injured and out of the first leg. That means Leroy Sane and Kingsley Coman are certain to start out wide but the formation could slightly change from their usual 4-2-3-1.
Despite the issues they have currently and the form they’re currently struggling in, I can’t see past Bayern Munich dominating the tie and progressing into the next round.
Defensively they’re strong enough to deal with the threat of Lazio and going forward they are still scoring goals freely. They’re still arguably the strongest team in the competition overall when everyone is fit and even if the injuries make the first leg tougher for them, the return leg is at home and they should have enough quality to progress into the last eight.
Lazio 1-2 Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich 3-0 Lazio
(Bayern Munich to progress 5-1 on aggregate)