Liverpool vs Bayern Munich
It’s another week until Liverpool take on Bayern Munich at Anfield.
But as the Champions League last-16 kicks off on Tuesday, anticipation around this fixture is growing.
The sense is that Bayern are nervous about facing the Reds.
Liverpool are joint-top of the Premier League, only behind Man City on goal difference.
Moreover, Liverpool were the 2017-18 Champions League runners-up, and they have significant pedigree in the competition.
Bayern, meanwhile, are going through a transition period under Niko Kovac.
The Bavarains are second in the Bundesliga behind Borussia Dortmund. Bayern are five points behind BVB.
Bayer Leverkusen also beat Bayern 3-1 at the start of the match.
Bayern’s secret weapon identified by Sport Bild
German journalist Raimund Hinko has penned an open letter to Niko Kovac in Sport Bild.
Hinko is clearly afraid for Bayern’s possible Champions League exit against Liverpool.
Indeed, the reporter feels certain that Kovac is worried too. Hinko’s letter opened with:
Dear Niko Kovac. I do not want it to get stuck in your skin. Your last thought before falling asleep – Liverpool FC. When you wake up – right back to Liverpool… It will not let you go.
Hinko believes that Bayern have now got the right blend in the middle of the pitch:
You finally found the right balance in the midfield with Thiago Alcantara and James Rodriguez, the two artists on the ball.
But when it comes it Bayern’s defence, Hinko is concerned.
Niklas Süle, Mats Hummels and David Alaba have been playing as a three-man unit for Munich, but that back-three isn’t watertight.
But Hinko believes he has a defensive solution:
His name is Javier Martinez.
Niko, you’ve thrown Martinez against Berlin and Schalke in the closing stages as a firefighter on the pitch, and he puts out the worst fires.
One always saw only the head of Martinez. His neck was felt two meters long, so he could head balls from the danger zone. Against Berlin there were four straight in a row. Martinez stood like a wall made man.
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