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Champions League: Bayern fight with all might against game-changers Mbappe, Messi

Berlin (Germany), March 7 (IANS) Tension seems omnipresent around Bayern Munich’s offices and training pitches. The second leg of the last-16 round of the UEFA Champions League at Munich this Wednesday seems to have turned into the season’s most important encounter.

Not only coach Julian Nagelsmann announced the outcome is going to decide about good or bad when it comes to this campaign’s evaluation. After the disappointing exit against underdog Villareal in the last-8 last season, the Bayern coach is said to stand under close supervision.

Despite the 1-0 victory in Paris, the 2020 treble winners’ concerns couldn’t be greater as unpleasant memories are alive about the 33 minutes in mid-February when recovered Kylian Mbappe turned up and single-handedly changed the game’s pattern.

A fair amount of fortune again seems required to kick the can down the road on home soil as Bayern’s back row line-up has become a delicate puzzle.

Joint efforts of Dayot Upamecano and Matthijs de Ligt seem inevitable to not leave 22-year-old Josip Stanisic alone having to deal with one of the footballs fastest.

The Croatian right-back is said to replace banned French 2018 World Champion Benjamin Pavard after having outpaced new arrival Joao Cancelo, whose defense performance seems too incomplete to reliably close the Bavarians’ back-doors when under attack.

Not to speak of the Germans having to replace Lucas Hernandez and German international Manuel Neuer.

Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic witnessed “what this exceptional genius is triggering not only for the crowd but his entire team. It took some luck to survive for us in Paris.”

Therefore, Nagelsmann’s first command is not to lose the ball near the team’s box but to keep them busy in their defense as “we saw how much the game changed when Mbappe turned up.”

“How we act when losing the ball; the speed we develop when heading back will be a key to the outcome of the game,” the Bayern coach said.

The Bayern coach blamed his side for losing control at the end of the second half in the league encounter against Stuttgart.

“We all know we have to improve and stay concentrated over the entire 90 minutes,” the 35-year-old said.

The Bayern manager emphasised full trust in his squad’s quality “as we controlled the game in Paris for over an hour.””

Nagelsmann is expecting an intensively attacking Paris side as the reigning French Champion need to make up for the Bavarian’s 1-0 lead in the first leg.

The Bayern coach spoke about early attacks by his side to keep away Paris from taking up speed. “This is a duel on eye level as both have teams with exceptional quality; it might be a case of the form of the day.”



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