19:45 KO (BST); Tuesday 12th September; Allianz Arena (Munich, Germany) BT Sport Extra
It’s been a less than perfect start for both sides domestically with Bayern Munich sitting fifth in the Bundesliga with two wins and a defeat in their three league matches so far.
Opponents Anderlecht are sitting ninth in the Belgian Jupiler Pro League after six contests and are seven points behind Club Brugge, who top the table.
Bayern will look to atone for their defeat on the weekend and a Champions League win on the opening night of the tournament would be a much-needed boost.
Anderlecht are going into the game as heavy underdogs, but could they surprise the Bundesliga’s record champions on their home patch?
Last Time Out
Hoffenheim 2-0 Bayern Munich [Bundesliga]
Carlo Ancelotti failed to win in Sinsheim last season and was hoping his Bayern Munich side could change that come Week 3.
Bayern Munich came out looking to keep possession and did so in the game’s early stages, but it Hoffenheim showed the greater attacking intent as they opened the scoring in the 27th minute through Mark Uth.
Uth popped up again for Hoffenheim just after halftime to make it 2-0 to Julian Nagelsmann’s side.
Bayern had 72% possession and outshot Hoffenheim 19-6, but it still wasn’t enough to break through. It’s the second consecutive match in which Bayern have failed to score in Sinsheim, as they drop their first points of the Bundesliga season.
Anderlecht 3-2 Lokeren [Belgian Jupiler Pro League]
Anderlecht were looking to turn their fortunes around as the club had gone winless in their past three fixtures.
The hosts flew out of the gates and opened the scoring three minutes through on-loan Everton striker Henry Onyekuru. The joy lasted only three minutes as Lokeren equalised through defender Mijat Marić.
Lokeren then took the lead just before half-time through Icelandic international Ari Freyr Skúlason.
However, as it seemed like more points would fall by the wayside, René Weiler’s side kicked into gear and brought the game back to level terms after 77 minutes as Onyekuru got his brace.
In stoppage time Anderlecht won the game as Nicolae Stanciu set up Łukasz Teodorczyk to secure all three points for the Belgian Champions.
Bayern Munich Lineup
Plenty of questions will be raised as Bayern look to avoid an upset against Anderlecht in Week 1 of the Champions League group stage.
I expect Ancelotti to go with a 4-3-3 formation, which poses questions over who will start. Bayern looked a step slower than Hoffenheim and with Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben both on the bench, Bayern lacked a real punch going forward.
Thomas Müller was a shadow of himself and will be benched along with Kingsley Coman. Arturo Vidal was given a rest but should come in with Sebastian Rudy making way.
After a much-needed victory, René Weiler will look to cause trouble in Munich. Anderlecht have a full squad to select from with no injuries or suspensions carrying over.
I expect a 4-3-3 with a triangle in midfield, comprising an unchanged side with plenty of options on the bench going forward for Anderlecht.
Key Battle: Robert Lewandowski vs Henry Onyekuru
An interesting battle up front will be between Robert Lewandowski and Henry Onyekuru. This isn’t Lewandowski’s first rodeo in the Champions League and this season seems to have plenty riding on the Bavarians, who haven’t made it to the final since they won the prestigious title in the 2012/13.
The Polish international was on the losing side of that final, but since joining Bayern, Lewandowski has been a massive contributor with 33 goals in his three Champions League seasons in Munich.
Onyekuru is very much an up and comer in the ranks. On loan from Everton, the Nigerian has taken some to time to settle into his new club.
Last season at KAS Eupen, Onyekuru was a scoring machine with 22 goals and both his parent and current clubs will look to see if the 20-year-old has what it takes on the big stage.
With a defeat last time out in the league, the Bayern dressing room will need to channel some positive energy for their Champions League home opener.
In a game they dominated but failed to see out, plenty of question marks arose after failing to get the job done.
Changes are expected and in front of a capacity crowd, can Bayern get the job done or will they succumb to a second defeat in just a few days?
Prepare to play without the ball
Anderlecht better be prepared to play on the counter as they will not see much of the ball at the Allianz Arena. Last time out the Bavarians had 72% of possession on the road to a Hoffenheim side playing in the Europa League.
With the intensity and standard being higher, René Weiler’s side will need to be strong defensively by absorbing the pressure and frustrating Bayern.
Chances will be limited to the attacking three who should bring a packed dinner as, in all likelihood, it could be a long night for them.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 3-0 Anderlecht
This game feels like it should be a formality and after a defeat last time out, you should believe Bayern Munich will come to play on Tuesday night.
Anderlecht could park the bus from the first whistle as they try to avoid the onslaught from Bayern, who will pepper the Belgian champions’ goal from the outset.
It will be a long night for the travelling fans as Bayern run rampant on the opening night of the Champions League.
Will it be Bayern Munich or Anderlecht getting the three points in their opening Champions League fixture? Let us know in the comments section below.
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