Fiorentina haven’t got to a quarter final in either the European Cup or the Champions League since losing one to Celtic in 1969/70. They might have done admirably well in the group stages but form changes rapidly over the winter and the turn of the year has seen Bayern Munich go on a rampage, making up the points deficit in the Bundesliga and easily favourites to progress to the Champions League quaterfinals.
Bayern Munich v Fiorentina Preview
La Viola’s new captain, Riccardo Montolivo describes it as ‘the biggest game in the five years for us under Cesare Prandelli.’ Unfortunately it comes at a bad time for the club.
Prandelli, perhaps distracted by rumours linking him to jobs at Juventus and the Italian national team, has overseen four defeats and a draw in the last month of Serie A. His old captain, Dario Dainelli, was sold during the recent transfer window; his next best centre-half, Alessandro Gamberini, was injured at the weekend along with winger Mario Santana; and Adrian Mutu is busy appealing a drugs ban. Alberto Gilardino, meanwhile, hasn’t scored in over a month.
Bayern’s Louis van Gaal has fewer problems. His team has won 12 matches in a row in all competitions; after four months out of the starting line-up Franck Ribery has made it through 70 minutes in each of the last two games; and Arjen Robben has scored in each of the last five. Van Gaal’s most recent concerns have been complacency – he has strongly rebuked his players for it at half-time in two recent matches – and a virus that has taken a hold on the dressing room.
The Italian press has suggested Prandelli might leave his customary 4-2-3-1 formation for the 4-1-4-1 he used in a narrow defeat to Inter earlier this season. And van Gaal’s system will partly be determined by who does and who doesn’t succumb to the stomach bug. If at least one of Ivica Olic or Miroslav Klose is fully fit, they might play alongside Mario Gomez in a 4-4-2. If neither is feeling tip-top, Gomez might be the lone spearhead of an attacking trident with Robben and Ribery.
Soccerlens Prediction: Bayern Munich v Fiorentina
Bayern Munich v Fiorentina Betting
Paddy Power is giving Soccerlens readers a free £20 bet to spend on the Bayern Munich v Fiorentina game.
Bayern’s home games in this competition have often been high-scoring, but check the line-ups first, and remember that first legs of knockout ties are not usually so free and easy with the entertainment. If the virus doesn’t reduce Bayern’s squad further, there’s an easy win to be had for the home side, so back Bayern in the -1 handicap market.
Watch Bayern Munich v Fiorentina Live Online
You can watch Bayern Munich take on Fiorentina live online as well as all other Champions League games. Read our live Champions League football page for more details.