One scoreline must have sent eyebrows raising high in Turin over Easter- Bayern Munich’s 9-2 victory against Hamburg. The win meant Bayern consolidated their 20-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga and took them within a whisker of the title. It also underlined the size of the task confronting Juventus in the Champions League Quarter-Final.
But Bayern will find Juventus, who themselves are only a few wins away from winning the Italian League, much tougher opposition than some of the teams they have been facing this fast few weeks.
Bayern have only lost one game this season in the Bundesliga, but their recent form has been less impressive – until they thrashed Hamburg (a better-than-midtable side), they had scraped home against Leverkusen, Dusseldorf and Hoffenheim. It was the Champions League defeat against Arsenal that upset the Bayern elder statesmen that are the movers and shakers at the club. In particular, it showed that Bayern are vulnerable at set-pieces.
The Champions League final defeat at the hands of Chelsea was a killer for Bayern and they are anxious to make sure this time. They have the resources to just that – how many teams can leave a player like Arjen Robben sitting on the bench?
The Arsena gave was the only serious blip on the road to the last eight for Bayern, although BATE did beat them 3-1 in the group stage. Valencia and Lille were disposed of and the way Bayern played at Arsenal demonstrated that they can be devastating at times.
Juventus have beaten some decent sides, notably Chelsea and Shakhtar Donetsk in the group stages, and they made light work of Celtic. Juventus have not lost away in the Champions League since 2010 and this season, have lost just twice on their travels in Serie A.
Andrea Pirlo has been outstanding this season, may find it had to deal with Bayern’s mobile midfield. Up front, Fabio Quagliarella and Alessandro Matri will be key for Juventus. Both scored in Juventus’ 2-1 win against Inter over Easter.
The Italians, as ever, will be tough to beat. It should be a tremendous two-legged tie, but Bayern may be too dynamic for the team that will surely be Italian champions in a week or two.