Bayern, Valencia CF and Belarusian surprise package BATE Borisov are all on six points after the first three matches, while Lille are yet to pick up even one. The German record champions achieved a hard-earned 1-0 win in northern France a fortnight ago, courtesy of a penalty from Thomas Müller. After the unexpected 3-1 reverse against BATE in Minsk on Matchday 2 however, no-one in the Bayern camp is taking this one lightly.
Hoeneß: "Things could become dramatic"
Club president Uli Hoeneß, for one, has been stressing the importance of a convincing victory over Lille. "We'll have to snuff them out" the former midfield star and long-time sporting director said in an interview with the sports magazine kicker. Given the current situation in the group, Hoeneß noted that, should Bayern lose, "things could become very dramatic. We're a bit under pressure after that avoidable defeat in Belarus."
Ottmar Hitzfeld, who coached both FC Bayern and Borussia Dortmund to Champions League success, pointed out in an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com that in the first game against Lille, on the back of the loss to BATE, "there was more emphasis on defending than all-out attack." That said, he expects an improved performance from Jupp Heynckes' side this time around: "Bayern will dazzle once again at the Allianz Arena. That I'm sure of. There’ll be no slip-up against Lille."
Lille on the up
However, Lille's form has been improving in recent weeks. A return of ten points from their last four league games following a patchy start to the season has given the 2011 French champions a renewed sense of optimism. "We're going to Munich aiming to pull off an heroic feet," midfielder Benoit Pedretti told French newspaper L'Equipe and, in a similar vein, coach Rudi Garcia compared Wednesday's contest to "David versus Goliath. For us, the most important thing is to believe we can do it. The only star at our club is the team."
His Bayern countrpart Heynckes has hinted that Arjen Robben is likely to start after the Dutch winger sat out Saturday's 3-0 win at Hamburger SV. On the opposite flank, Franck Ribery is also set to face his former employers from the off, while Spanish international Javi Martinez could also return to the starting line-up, particularly with midfielders Toni Kroos and Luiz Gustavo both doubtful. Holger Badstuber, Mario Gomez and Emre Can are all still sidelined for the Munich outfit.
Bayern: Neuer - Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Alaba - Javi Martinez, Schweinsteiger - Robben, Müller, Ribery - Mandzukic
Lille: Landreau - Debuchy, Basa, Chedjou, Bonnart - Balmont, Rozehnal, Martin - Kalou, Roux, Payet