News Live Scores

Champions League Preview: Fiorentina - Bayern Munich

Kick-Off: Tuesday, March 9, 2010, 20:45 CET
Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence, Italy.

Setting The Wrong Right

Fiorentina were certainly not happy with Tom Henning Ovrebo's decision in the first leg of the Round of 16 tie against Bayern Munich a fortnight ago as Miroslav Klose's offside goal in the 89th minute was allowed to stand. It robbed la Viola of a vital 1-1 away draw that would have put them in the driving seat for this leg.

However, a 2-1 away defeat isn't too bad either, especially as Cesare Prandelli's side have the advantage of an away goal. As such, a 1-0 victory at home will be enough for Fiorentina to reach the quarter-finals.

Fiorentina have an impeccable home record in the Champions League this campaign as they have won all their games at the Artemio Franchi, those against Liverpool, Debrecen and Lyon. Moreover, they have a great defensive unit which kept the world class Bayern attackers at bay at the Allianz Arena.

Yet things have not been going well for Fiorentina in the league as they sit 10th in Serie A, 11 points off a Champions League spot. Since their defeat to Bayern in Munich, la Viola have won only one of the four matches they have played. This means that they would have to very careful for Tuesday's game and will have to make sure that they do not concede any goals.

Basking In Hype And Expectation

Bayern Munich had a terrible start to the season but they have now picked up momentum both in the domestic and the European arena. At the moment Die Roten are two points clear at the top of the table in the German Bundesliga.

Bayern were arguably the second best side in their game against Fiorentina in the first leg of the round of 16 tie a fortnight ago but still won 2-1 in the end, all be it by a dubious late offside goal. Their performance wasn't very encouraging, as Fiorentina exhibited an exemplar of how to play away form home in Europe and coach Louis van Gaal will be aware of that.

Moreover, Bayern have had defensive problems since that win and will be without two of their main defenders. The Bavarians were held to a 1-1 draw in Cologne on Saturday and although this shouldn't have much bearing on Tuesday night's game, Bayern should be aware of the threat posed by Fiorentina in Florence.





FORM GUIDE


Fiorentina

March 6 v Juventus (H) - LOST 2-1 (Serie A)

February 27 v Lazio (A) - DREW 1-1 (Serie A)

February 24 v Milan (H) - LOST 2-1 (Serie A)

February 21 v Livorno (H) - WON 2-1 (Serie A)

February 17 v Bayern Munich (A) - LOST 2-1 (Champions League)

Bayern Munich

March 6 v Koeln (A) - DREW 1-1 (Bundesliga)

February 28 v Hamburg (H) - WON 1-0 (Bundesliga)

February 20 v Nuernberg (A) - DREW 1-1 (Bundesliga)

February 17 v Fiorentina (H) - WON 2-1 (Champions League)

February 13 v Borussia Dortmund (H) - WON 3-1 (Bundesliga)


TEAM NEWS

Fiorentina

Massimo Gobbi was sent off in the first leg and is therefore suspended for this game. Juan Manuel Vargas was doubtful for the weekend match against Juventus but recovered to start the match and he will again be deployed on the left flank against Bayern on Tuesday night. Alberto Gilardino will be the lone striker up front, but Stevan Jovetic, who has looked good on occasions of late, will play behind him as the creative midfielder-in-chief.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Frey, Comotto, Kroldrup, Felipe, Pasqual; Zanetti, Montolivo; Marchionni, Jovetic, Vargas; Gilardino

Bayern Munich

The German giants have a whole host of injury concerns ahead of their trip to Florence. Martin Demichelis has already been sidelined for weeks after suffering three facial fractures whilst on international duty for Argentina last week and young left back Diego Contento suffered a deep gash to the right knee in Saturday's game against Koeln and has been left behind in Munich. 17-year-old David Alaba will be his replacement in the squad against Fiorentina, although it is expected that Danijel Pranjic will start at left back. However, coach Louis van Gaal has some good news as winger Arjen Robben, who missed the trip to Cologne with a cold, is back training and will start at the Artemio Franchi.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Butt, Lahm, Van Buyten, Badstuber, Pranjic; Robben, Van Bommel, Schweinsteiger, Ribery; Gomez, Mueller


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Alberto Gilardino (Fiorentina)

The Italian international striker has been among the goals this season and has netted 11 times in Serie A and thrice in the Champions League with three assists. Deployed as a lone striker, the former Milan hitman is lethal when given even a small amount space and time on the ball. Gilardino is not necessarily quick or technically a genius but his positional sense, striker's instinct and clinical ability augmented by his shooting prowess make him a very dangerous player indeed. Bayern's defence has been severely stretched and they will have to be doubly careful to see that they do not allow Gila to get a free run on their goal.

Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)

Arjen Robben was the star of the Bayern side that narrowly defeated Fiorentina at the Allianz Arena in the first leg a fortnight ago. He chipped a brilliant pass to Mueller and was the chief architect of Bayern's moves in Munich. The former Real Madrid winger has had his injury problems this term but the 26-year-old is world class when fit. He missed Bayern's weekend trip to Cologne because of a cold but resumed training on Sunday, which means that Bayern coach Louis van Gaal will be relieved given that the Bavarians will potentially have a better attack line with Robben on one flank and Franck Ribery on the other.


PREDICTION

Fiorentina have been struggling in Serie A of late but have a formidable home record in the Champions League this campaign, in which they have won all the three games at the Artemio Franchi. However, they know that they will have to score early and also stop a threatening Bayern attack. It will be a tough game and the first goal will be decisive. Should Fiorentina score, then they will go through as their defensive unit will eventually manage to stave off the Bayern attackers.

Fiorentina 1-0 Bayern Munich