It was a catastrophic performance at the weekend for the Bavarians, who lost 3-0 to Bayer Leverkusen in a crunch Bundesliga clash. Thomas Tuchel’s side are now five points adrift in the title race with 13 games to go.
Bayern are seriously in danger of not winning the big one after 11 consecutive domestic successes, but can they bounce back in the Champions League on Wednesday (Feb 14th)?
Against Leverkusen Bayern only had one shot on target (their wort attacking performance in the Bundesliga in the last eight years) and, as it happened in the reverse fixture, they were played off the park by Xabi Alonso’s men.
Thomas Tuchel is under pressure and a premature exit in Europe would all but terminate his tenure in Munich at the end of this season.
As always Bayern have found it very easy to navigate through the Champions League’s group stages, and they’ve only dropped two points (against Copenhagen at home) in the last three campaigns.
The six-times Champions League winners haven’t gone past the quarter-finals in the last three seasons, yet their away record in the competition remains impressive: they’ve only lost two (against Manchester City and Villareal) of their last 13 matches.
Lazio have reached the round of 16 for the first time since 2020/2021 when, under the management of Simone Inzaghi, they were defeated by the Germans 6-2 on aggregate. This is only the third time the Laziali are into the knockout stages and the task ahead of them looks ominous.
Maurio Sarri’s side achieved seven of their 10 points in Group E at the Stadio Olimpico, where a 95th minute goal from goalkeeper Ivan Provedel and a late win against Celtic proved decisive. Lazio’s European campaign has been decided by fine margins as their win at Celtic Park also came in stoppage time thanks to Pedro.
This season they have really struggled to create scoring opportunities, both in Italy (they have the 11th best attack) and in the Champions League.
Saturday’s win at Cagliari was only the third time they've managed to score more than two goals, and in two of those occasions (against Atalanta at home and the Sardinians last weekend) they benefited from an own goal.
In Europe’s top competition Lazio have only recorded 24 attempts, the lowest tally amongst qualified teams, and averaged 46% possession. Only Dortmund and Copenhagen have kept the ball less than the team from Italy’s capital.
Lazio’s fine recent domestic results (five wins in the last seven) have coincided with the interruption of Champions League football.
Having sold last season’s best player (Sergej Milinkovic-Savic) in the summer, and with no additions in the January transfer market, Lazio might again struggle to play to in two competitions, plus the Coppa Italia in April.
Bayern Munich have nine players out due to injuries, including first-team regulars Kingsley Coman, Alphonso Davies, Serge Gnabry and Konrad Laimer. January signing Bryan Zaragoza is also a doubt for the trip to Rome.
Thomas Muller, who was on the bench at the weekend, would probably be in the starting XI making his 147th appearance in the competition, an on-going record for a German player. Raphael Guerreiro should replace Eric Dier in defence, with Joshua Kimmich taking the place of Sacha Boey.
Patric and Mattia Zaccagni are out in the Lazio camp as Maurizio Sarri will confirm the same front three that played against Cagliari: with Ciro Immobile supported by Felipe Anderson and Isaksen.
Rovella, who was suspended last weekend, should play in midfield in place of Cataldi; and Lazzari will play at right-back instead of Hysaj, with Marusic moving to the opposite flank.
The visitors are favourite (4/7) to win the first leg of the Round of 16. Bayern are unbeaten in the last 12 games against Italian opposition, having won the last five matches (last year they beat finalists Inter twice in the group stages).
The odds for the draw (16/5) are very high whereas a win for Lazio (9/2) seems the most unlikely outcome.
The Germans have always qualified in the last three knockout meetings against Serie A teams and the Biancocelesti have never won a Champions League knockout tie.
Bayern haven’t lost any Round of 16 first-leg matches in the last 11 years and their only elimination, at this stage of the competition, came at the hands of Liverpool in 2018/2019.
With a combined 37 goals in all competitions so far in 2023/24, Kane and Sané are the most prolific attacking duo in Europe's top five leagues. That’s one of the reasons why the Over 2.5 goals pays 4/6 and the Under 2.5 is priced at 11/10.
Bayern Munich win and Over 2.5 Goals @ 11/10 via #PickYourPunt
Despite their horror-show against Leverkusen, Bayern are simply in a league (or two) above Lazio at the moment.
Maurizio Sarri’s team have kept two clean sheets (same as Bayern) in the Champions League this season, but will struggle against the intensity of the Bavarians.
Of course the hosts might nick a goal on the counter as Thomas Tuchel’s side have only kept three clean sheets in the last seven matches.
Harry Kane anytime goalscorer @ 4/5
Kane has four goals and three assists in this season's Champions League and he’ll be fired up after a disappointing performance at the weekend. Against Leverkusen he just had 18 touches and one shot, as Bayern achieved an xG of only 0.27.
But his debut season with the German club remains remarkable - he has 28 goals and eight assists in 28 appearances. He’s only scored once (against Juventus) in nine games against Italian clubs, but netted twice at the Olimpico for England against Ukraine at Euro 2021.
Football betting tips from Betfred Insights.