Verdict: Both teams to score
Best odds: 4/6
Bayern Munich has the opportunity to secure their place in the knockout rounds of the Champions League when they face Galatasaray in Group A at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night.
The perpetual Bundesliga champions aim to complete a double victory over their Turkish opponents after winning 3-1 in the reverse fixture two weeks ago.
Three days after a humbling exit from the DFB-Pokal in the second round at the hands of third-tier side Saarbrucken, Bayern Munich bounced back in impressive fashion by defeating Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund 4-0 at Westfalenstadion on Saturday.
Dayot Upamecano opened the scoring for Bayern in the fourth minute, and Harry Kane delivered a brilliant hat-trick in his Der Klassiker debut, taking his league goal tally to 15 in just 10 games. This victory allowed Thomas Tuchel’s team to make a statement and remain within striking distance of Bayer Leverkusen at the top of the Bundesliga table.
Bayern are looking forward to returning to the Allianz Arena, where they have won their last four games and scored an impressive 22 goals, including a thrilling 4-3 victory over Manchester United in the Champions League on matchday two.
As one of only four teams with a perfect record in the group stage after three matches this season, the Bavarians boast the longest unbeaten run in the history of the Champions League group stage, extending it to 37 games with the win over Galatasaray two weeks ago.
The six-time European champions have won their last six encounters with Turkish teams in European competitions, including a dominant 6-0 victory over Galatasaray in their only previous home meeting with the Super Lig club during the 1972/73 season.
Tuchel is dealing with a couple of injury concerns. Defender Matthijs de Ligt is expected to be sidelined for several weeks due to a partial knee ligament tear, and Tarek Buchmann remains unavailable as he continues his recovery from a hamstring problem.
On a positive note, Bayern welcomed back Dayot Upamecano and Leon Goretzka in the previous match. Goretzka played with significant strapping on his hand following an operation last month. Both players are in contention to start.
Joshua Kimmich served the first match of his two-match domestic ban last weekend, but he is available for Wednesday’s match and expected to return to the midfield, partnering either Goretzka or Konrad Laimer.
Thomas Muller will continue to compete with Jamal Musiala for a starting spot in the number 10 role, but Musiala is expected to retain his place in the starting lineup, playing behind just behind Kane.
Galatasaray are entering Wednesday’s match on impressive form, having won eight of their last nine matches across all competitions, but traveling to Munich, they will be aware that the only game in that stretch that they failed to win was the home defeat to Bayern.
In domestic competitions, Okan Buruk’s team has been nearly flawless, earning 31 points out of a possible 33 in 11 Super Lig matches. They have won 10 consecutive matches since a goalless draw with Kayserispor on the opening weekend of the season back in mid-August.
Wilfred Zaha played a pivotal role in Galatasaray’s recent victory, scoring a goal on either side of halftime to help secure a 2-1 home win over Kasimpasa last Friday, elevating them to the top of the Super Lig table, surpassing Fenerbahce.
Galatasaray will now shift their focus back to the Champions League, where they are still in contention to reach the last 16 for the first time in a decade. They currently occupy the second spot in Group A, one point ahead of third-placed Manchester United, whom they will face in Istanbul in the next round.
While Galatasaray are yet to defeat Bayern, they have reason for optimism as they are unbeaten in their last 10 European away games and have won their last four away matches against German opposition. Their most recent victory came against Schalke 04 with a 3-2 scoreline in the 2012/13 Champions League.
Goalkeeper Fernando Muslera is dealing with an elbow dislocation injury that he sustained in the win over Kasimpasa. As a result, Gunay Guvenc is expected to take his place between the goalposts and make his Champions League debut.
Halil Dervisoglu is ineligible to play on Wednesday since he was not included in the club’s Champions League squad.
Abdulkerim Bardakci, who started at left-back against Kasimpasa, is likely to move to the center-back position to accommodate either Kazimcan Karatas or Angelino on the left side of the back four.
Tete is expected to compete with Hakim Ziyech for a starting position on the right flank. Wilfred Zaha, Kerem Akturkoglu, and Mauro Icardi are all anticipated to continue in the attacking roles, which means that Dries Mertens may be have to settle for a place on the bench.
Expectations of goals are high for Wednesday’s match. Bayern have scored at least twice in 14 of their last 15 matches across all competitions. Additionally, Galatasaray’s last five Champions League away matches in Germany have seen a total of 22 goals.
Bayern are considered strong favorites to secure maximum points, possessing enough offensive firepower to outscore their Turkish opponents and secure a spot in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Verdict: Both teams to score
Best odds: 4/6