Champions League: Sevilla vs Bayern Munich – Lineups, Preview and Prediction
Sevilla are looking to upset the odds and shock to the soon to be German champions in the first leg of the Quarterfinals.
(Photo credit: Inkiboo)
19:45 BST, Tuesday 3rd April, Ramos-Sanchez Pizjuan (Seville, Spain), BT Sport
Sevilla made history in the Round of 16 by knocking out Manchester United and entering the quarters for the first time in over 55 years. However, they now face a Bayern Munich hungry for more silverware and add to their haul of five Champions League victories.
Bayern breezed into the quarters by dismantling a weary Besiktas 8-1 on aggregate and a replay of that performance will very much be on their minds as they look to get one foot in the semi-finals for the fourth time in five years.
Standing in their way is a fierce, resilient Sevilla side who have proved on numerous occasions that they won’t just roll over and die. They are here to stand up and be counted in the Champions League after dominating the Europa.
Their impressive home record should be cause for Bayern Munich concern as they only lost two of their last 12 Champions League home ties, with the most recent loss coming almost 17 months ago to Juventus.
Bayern don’t exactly have fond memories of Spanish sides either, having been knocked out of the Champions League the last four years in a row by Spanish opposition. Of course, that came in the form of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico but Sevilla will be hoping to emulate performances of their fellow countrymen and take the game to the German giants.
Last Time Out
Sevilla 2-2 Barcelona (La Liga)
A return from the international break saw Sevilla hosting unbeaten Barcelona. Vincenzo Montella’s side will be extremely disappointed that they weren’t the team to break that record after going two-nil up.
Franco Vazquez opened the scoring after slotting in a squared ball from Joaquin Correa in the first half before Luis Muriel’s deflected striker in the second half beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen and put them 40 minutes from ending Barcelona’s unbeaten run of 36 league games unbeaten.
However, it was not to be. The resilient Catalan side introduced Lionel Messi into the game shortly after conceding the second and he changed the game for the worse. His introduction immediately lifted Barcelona spirits and they created an influx of chances.
It wasn’t until the 88th minute that Luis Suarez converted a corner at the near post to begin the comeback and just 60 seconds later Lionel Messi tied the game up with a low-driven effort from the edge of the box.
Sevilla played well for the majority of the game and fully deserved their two-nil lead but if they want to stand a chance against Munich they must defend better and keep their heads.
Bayern Munich 6-0 Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga)
Der Klassiker provided Bayern Munich with a perfect chance to send Sevilla a warning about their attacking capabilities with a clinical display against their fierce rivals Borussia Dortmund.
It took Bayern just five minutes to find the back of the net after Thomas Muller’s through ball found Robert Lewandowski and the Polish forward did what he does best and found the back of the net against his former side.
Just nine minutes later and David Alaba’s cross found James Rodriguez who easily found the back of the net from close range, minutes after having one disallowed.
It was clear which way the game was going to go when in the 22nd minute Bayern scored their third, James Rodriguez turning from scorer to creator when his floated cross landed at the feet of Thomas Muller, whose close-range finish had the game finished early on.
Munich weren’t done there, though. Their merciless attacking display continued when Franck Ribery dribbled through a sea of yellow shirts before the ball once again landed at the feet of Lewandowski who touched the ball over the line for his second.
Bayern scored a fifth before the half was up, James Rodriguez again setting up the goal with a lovely poked through ball which found Ribery and the Frenchmen easily poked it past a helpless Roman Burki.
Just the one in the second half to complete the destruction and it was a hat trick for Lewandowski. He finished Joshua Kimmich’s cross from close range and made it 6-0 to the soon-to-be champions.
A lethal attacking display which should really worry Sevilla.
Sevilla will be without Ever Banega for the tie, who is suspended for accumulating too many yellow cards. His absence is the only noticeable change for Sevilla, but we could see a reshaped midfield with two strikers.
Bayern Munich Lineup
Bayern can unbelievably strengthen the side that waltzed through Borussia Dortmund at the weekend, with Joshua Kimmich and Thiago looking more likely to feature. Bayern are still without German shot stopper Manuel Neuer due to injury.
Key Battle: Luis Muriel (Sevilla) vs Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
There are set to be goals in this tie, there’s no doubt about it. If Luis Muriel is able to find the net at home first, it could be a huge momentum swing for Sevilla and be the catalyst to push them forward in the tie.
But the Colombian forward has struggled in the league this year, finding the back of the net just six times in 23 appearances since his move from Udinese last summer. If he can tap into his form from last season, we could see him really troubling the Bayern back line.
However, the more likely outcome is Robert Lewandowski scoring and having the ability to score often. Averaging a goal per game in the Bundesliga shows just how consistent the Polish international is and how dominant he can be against a magnitude of backlines.
If he plays anything like did against Dortmund, the game could be over whenever Lewandowski decides it is.
A big loss for Sevilla is the suspension of midfielder Ever Banega. The Argentinian midfielder has been ever-present in the Champions League so far for Sevilla, so it’ll be interesting to see how they cope without him.
They may be forced to reduce the amount of midfield play they undertake and focus on attacking. The gap in midfield means Steven N’Zonzi will be forced to go at it alone against one of the most fierce and balanced midfields in world football.
The absence may come back to bite Sevilla. It’s daunting enough having to play against a midfield consisting of Thiago and Martinez, a duo who perfectly balance each other. They won’t have the same dynamic in midfield and as a result could see the match lost in the most crucial of areas.
Bayern’s silverware haul
Bayern Munich seem like a team possessed to get their hands on anything shiny this season. They are just three points away from confirming their status as Bundesliga champions and have a DFB-Pokal semi-final in just two weeks.
Jupp Heynckes hasn’t yet confirmed where his future as Bayern boss lays, but with a treble on his mind he may be tempted to go for one more year. The German manager has his eyes firmly set on being only the third man to ever win three European Cups (Champions League new and old format) and the second to do it with two different sides.
Prediction: Sevilla 1-3 Bayern Munich
There will be goals in this game, no doubt. But with Bayern’s overwhelming dominance in midfield, the German giants look set to take a big first-leg lead and return home with three crucial away goals.