Bayern vs Besiktas – Tuesday, February 20, 19:45GMT/20:45CET – Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Relentless! The Bayern train keeps rolling towards the conclusion of the season at which end the Bavarians are determined to hold three titles in their hand: the Bundesliga, DFB Pokal and Champions League trophies. In that path, they have been efficient and without mercy winning their 13th game in a row this Saturday in a come from behind victory against VfL Wolfsburg, which, depending on the Leipzig result on Monday, could put Bayern 21-points clear at the top of the Bundesliga table.
Bayern have been no-nonsense about their performances in the Bundesliga. Thomas Müller told the press following Bayern’s 2-1 come from behind victory on Saturday as it provided them with a challenge for the upcoming games in the Champions League. Miles ahead of everyone else in Germany and with most of the classic challengers having thrown away the season at the midway point of the Hinrunde Bayern need any challenge they can get from the daily matchday experience to stay sharp for the later stages of the Champions League.
Up first will be Turkish champions Besiktas. For many Bayern were lucky to be drawn against Besiktas in the round of 16. Finishing second behind Paris Saint-Germain Bayern could have been drawn against one of the big teams from England, Barcelona or Roma. Instead, they were given the smallest fish out of the pond.
At the same time, the Bavarians should not underestimate the Turkish champions either. Besiktas finished first in a group that included Monaco, RB Leipzig and Porto. In the league, Besiktas are part of a four pack of teams currently fighting for the Süper Lig title. A 1-1 draw against Konyaspor means that Besiktas are now in fourth place in the standings and the squad seems to be struggling at times without top striker Cenk Tosun, who left Besiktas for Everton in the winter.
In his stead, Besiktas have brought in seasoned striker Vagner Love from league rivals Alanyaspor and Canadian forward Cyle Larin from Major League Soccer side Orlando City. While Larin will be Tosun’s long-term replacement Vagner Love is likely to be starting against Bayern and it will be interesting to see whether the seasoned Brazilian forward still has enough in his tank to threaten Bayern’s backline.
Even without a true all-out forward Besiktas still have enough danger in their attack for Bayern to be careful with the likes of Talisca and Quaresma, in particular, being players that could score at any time. That said Bayern are a seasoned squad with strength in defence that should easily be able to deal with Besiktas frontline. On the other side of the pitch, the likes of Lewandowski, James, Ribery, Robben and Co. might be just too much for Besiktas to handle and this tie could be over by the time the matchup heads to Turkey for the second leg.
Bayern vs Besiktas – Players to look out for:
Robert Lewandowski #9 – Bayern München
Robert Lewandowski has been relentless in his pursuit for the Torjägerkanone (the top goalscorer award in the Bundesliga). The Polish forward has now scored 20 goals in 22 Bundesliga games, and with his closest competitor Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang having left the Bundesliga it seems almost impossible for Lewandowski not to win it at this stage. But while he has been on fire in the Bundesliga his goalscoring rate, by comparison, has been a bit lacklustre in the Champions League where he has scored just three times in five games.
Talisca #94 – Besiktas
Talisca is among the most talented players in the Turkish Süper Lig. The Brazilian attacking midfielder has scored nine goals, and three assists in 20 Süper Lig games this season as well as four goals in five Champions League games. His shot has been described as a force of nature as he likes to hammer balls in from outside the box. A powerful attacking midfielder Talisca has now been linked with a move to one of the big European leagues with RB Leipzig among the suitors.
Bayern vs Besiktas – Match Stats
- This is the only tie in the round of 16 to feature two reigning domestic champions.
- The teams crossed paths for the only previous time in the 1997-98 group stage, both games ending in 2-0 Bayern victories.
- This is the first time Beşiktaş have reached the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds. Their best European Cup campaign came in 1986-87 when they got to the quarter-finals before losing 7-0 on aggregate to FC Dynamo Kyiv.
- Beşiktaş lost their only previous two-legged knockout tie against a German club 3-1 on aggregate to Borussia Dortmund in the 1989-90 European Cup Winners’ Cup first round (0-1 home, 1-2 away).
- Section winners Beşiktaş wrapped up their Group G campaign with a 2-1 win at RB Leipzig, their first victory in Germany on their fifth visit (D1 L3).
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Bayern vs Besiktas – 3-0
Bayern vs Besiktas – Lineups
Ulreich – Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Alaba – Javi Martínez – Müller, James, Vidal, Coman – Lewandowski
Head Coach: Jupp Heynckes
Fabri – Adriano, Pepe, Medel, Gönül – Hutchinson, Özyakup – Babel, Talisca, Quaresma – Negredo
Head Coach: Senol Günes
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and social media editor at Bundesliga.com. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth. Or contact him via email: [email protected]