Champions League Preview: Viktoria Plzen - Bayern Munich
The European champions have won all of their group stage matches so far and could ensure a place in the next round with another victory.
By Nicholas McGee
Bayern Munich visits Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday knowing a win could see it qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League.
The defending champions sit three points clear of nearest rival Manchester City at the top of Group D after three consecutive wins, scoring 11 goals and conceding just one.
Franck Ribery's form has been key to Bayern's success so far, as the France international winger is the German side's top scorer in the tournament having found the net three times. Two of those goals came in Bayern's 5-0 destruction of Plzen at the Allianz Arena last month with Mario Gotze, Bastian Schweinsteiger and David Alaba also scoring in a comprehensive win.
Coach Pep Guardiola will look for his Bayern side to replicate that performance, well aware that the Bundesliga champions will qualify for the round of 16 if they take all three points and Manchester City beats CSKA Moscow.
Bayern should be boosted by the prospective returns of winger Arjen Robben and midfielder Toni Kroos, who both missed Saturday's 2-1 win over Hoffenheim with groin injuries. Defender Dante is still a doubt due to a lack of fitness, while Xherdan Shaqiri and Claudio Pizarro (thigh), Thiago Alcantara (ankle) and Holger Badstuber (knee) are all unavailable.
Plzen - competing in the competition for only the second time - is on the brink of elimination and needs a shock win to have a realistic chance of reaching the last 16.
The Czech outfit has shipped 11 goals in three straight defeats and has scored in just one game, a 3-2 defeat to CSKA.
Attacker Tomas Wagner could be crucial if Plzen is to get a result after finding the net eight times in all competitions this season, while Daniel Kolar and Stanislav Tecl - six goals each - may also play a pivotal role.
Pavel Vrba's men have no major injury worries, with defender David Limbersky poised to make his Champions League comeback after recovering from a thigh injury.
Top 3 Predictions
FC Viktoria Plzeň 0-3 Bayern
- 22.34 %
FC Viktoria Plzeň 0-4 Bayern
- 19.68 %
FC Viktoria Plzeň 0-5 Bayern
- 9.62 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Nov 5, 2013||FC Viktoria Plzeň 0 - Bayern 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Oct 23, 2013||Bayern 5 - FC Viktoria Plzeň 0|
|FC Viktoria Plzeň|
|Dec 10, 2013||FC Viktoria Plzeň 2 - CSKA Moscow 1||UCL|
|Nov 27, 2013||Manchester City 4 - FC Viktoria Plzeň 2||UCL|
|Nov 5, 2013||FC Viktoria Plzeň 0 - Bayern 1||UCL|
|Oct 23, 2013||Bayern 5 - FC Viktoria Plzeň 0||UCL|
|Oct 2, 2013||CSKA Moscow 3 - FC Viktoria Plzeň 2||UCL|
|5||Daniel Van Buyten||Defender|