The Bavarians look favorites to clinch their 6th Champions League crown
The 2019/20 Bundesliga champions are yet to lose or draw a game in the 2020 Champions League and have conceded only 3 goals in 7 games in this year’s competition.
Bayern Munich’s form going into their all-but-certain Champions League quarter-final, the form of their potential opponents in the next stages of the competition and the presence of Robert Lewandowski in their attack make them favorites to end their almost decade long wait for Europe’s elite club competition.
Hansi Flick’s side already have one foot in the last eight of the competition after they handed a 3-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the first-leg of the pre-quarter-final clash between the two sides. Anything barring a miracle would stop the 2019/20 Bundesliga champions from going through.
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They would then face either Barcelona or Napoli in the quarter-final, two teams who are beset by on- and off-field problems going into next month’s clash. The Blaugrana are certain to lose La Liga title to Real Madrid in acrimonious circumstances and are stunned by rumors Lionel Messi could leave the club.
Napoli, the other side who could face Bayern in the semi-final, have problems of their own. Their league form has been excellent since the restart but Gli Azzurri’s leaky defense – that has let in 41 goals in 30 Serie A appearances simply won’t be able to stop the Robert Lewandowski juggernaut.
When Bundesliga became the first major league to resume its operations amid the pandemic in June, Bayern were in the throes of a three-side title race. Borussia Monchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund were breathing both down on their necks and pundits expected that the title race would be a closely contested fight.
Except that it wasn’t to be. Bayern showed that fans or no fans they were the same side that had won 7 straight Bundesliga championships coming into this one. The Bavarians recorded 9 straight victories to win the title with four games left to play.
Part of the reason why that happened has to do with the shortcomings of sides below them in the league table. Borussia Monchengladbach’s early-season title push fizzled out in a 4 th placed finish while Dortmund did what they always do and blew it all away close to the finish line.
Despite the weaknesses of the two major title challengers, Bayern’s own imperious form is the reason why Bundesliga risk becoming a league where only one team dominates. The same form can be expected from them when Champions League resumes next month.
Start with Juventus. They might be seven points clear at the top of Serie A but as their shock 4-2 defeat at the hands of AC Milan – and a Coppa Italia final defeat to Napoli showed, the Old Lady is starting to show signs of age. It isn’t unbeatable, at least to this experienced Bayern side.
The winner of the Manchester City Vs Real Madrid clash could also face Bayern. Hansi Flick won’t mind facing the former as this is the first season in which Pep Guardiola’s side has faced nine defeats in a single campaign. They too, like Juventus, have their weak points that can be exploited on a given day.
Real Madrid might look the likeliest team to deny Bayern their 6th Champions League title. Los Blancos have been on a mission domestically to dethrone Barcelona as they are eking out one victory after another. However, they too have shortcomings.
The top goalscorers still left in this season's Champions League 🔥— Goal (@goal) July 11, 2020
Can anybody catch Lewandowski? 😳 pic.twitter.com/0MAsocmxlL
Despite their excellent form of late, it can’t be denied that Real struggle for goals. Had it not been the case, Sergio Ramos, a center-back, won’t be the 2nd top scorer in all competitions. The mission, then, for Bayern, if they face Real is clear: stop Ramos and Benzema and the game is yours!
PSG, the last remaining side that could possibly stop Bayern, are inexperienced at this level. They might have the dazzling front three of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Mauro Icardi but when stakes are as high as they are in the final four of the Champions League, nobody would bet against Bayern.
On top of everything else, Bayern have Robert Lewandowski. The Polish forward is on a mission this season and after scoring 52 goals in all competitions this season, he’d like to have a pop at Europe’s elite club competition. And for purely selfish reasons too.
The 31-year-old has played football in an era that is dominated by the Ronaldo-Messi duopoly. Both of them have won all but one Ballon D’Or title in the last decade. His excellent goalscoring form notwithstanding, Lewandowski knows that if he’s to win the award, he has to win the Champions League to make his case watertight. And given his form, he looks likely to make his case watertight.
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