In-Form Lewandowski Leads Bayern vs. Anderlecht in Champions League Opener
Bayern Munich face off against Anderlecht in their opening Champions League group stage fixture on Tuesday night, with both looking to get off to a good start.
The tie sees two domestic league winners go up against one another, in a fixture where it is important for both to get off to a good start considering the difficulty of the group. Group B also contains Celtic and Neymar's PSG, so getting out of the group may be difficult for all involved.
Here's everything you need to know ahead of the clash at the Allianz Arena:
In their last meeting Anderlecht managed a 2-1 win in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup round of 16 second leg, however this was against a weakened Bayern side who already secured their place in the next round after winning the 1st leg 5-0.
To find a real classic encounter you have to go all the way back to the first meeting between the two sides in the UEFA Super Cup in August 1976.
Gerd Müller had scored twice in Bayern's 2-1 first-leg victory in Munich, with the German giants confident of securing the Super Cup trophy, especially after coming in to the tie after winning a third successive European Champion Clubs' Cup (Champions League).
However the away tie took the Germans by surprise. Anderlecht managed to turn around their 2-1 deficit by securing a 4-1 triumph in the return leg, to take the tie and the cup 5-3 on aggregate.
Bayern legend Gerd Müller scored three goals across the two legs in the final, but his 63rd-minute effort at the Parc Astrid in Brussels on 30 August was too little too late. Bayern were already trailing 3-0 to goals from Rob Rensenbrink, François van der Elst and Haan and Rensenbrink added another late on to make it a 4-1 upset on the night.
Robert Lewandowski vs Olivier Deschacht and Uros Spajić
There has never been a goalless draw between these two sides and it's unlikely to change on Tuesday night, especially with Bayern talisman Robert Lewandowski fit and in form.
The Polish forward has already scored three goals in three games in the Bundesliga this season and looks in scintillating form heading into this Champions League tie.
Lewandowski's quality isn't only proven in the Bundesliga as the Pole also scored eight goals in nine games in last season's Champions League competition and in his whole career with Bayern has scored 80 goals in ninety games.
All of this makes the 29-year-old a force to be reckoned with and a scary thought for Anderlecht's back line. Olivier Deschacht and Uros Spajić are the two most likely centre-backs to play on the night and will have to be on top of their game if they are to stop Lewandowski bagging a goal or two.
Anderlecht don't themselves have many star names going forward so scoring goals could be a problem for the Belgians, especially as they're coming up against a strong Bayern defence. As a result it will be vital for the Anderlecht back-line to keep Lewandowski out if they are to get anything out of the game.
Arturo Vidal is serving a one-game ban following his dismissal in last season's quarter-final second leg against Real Madrid, such that Sebastian Rudy and Corentin Tolisso will most probably start in the central of midfield.
Bayern's first choice left-back David Alaba was substituted with an ankle injury during Austria's 1-1 draw against Georgia and was not in the Bavarian's Saturday's match-day squad at Hoffenheim and is likely to again miss out on Tuesday. While Juan Bernat is still out with a long term ligament injury, such that Kimmich will most probably move over to right-back.
James Rodríguez should be fit again after a thigh problem meaning Bayern have no other serious injury worries.
Anderlecht on the other hand have no injury doubts ahead of the game, apart from centre-back Kara.
Potential Bayern Munich Starting Lineup: Neuer, Rafinha, Hummels, Süle, Kimmich, Rudy, Tolisso, Ribéry, Robben, Lewandowski, Müller.
Potential Anderlecht Starting Lineup: Boekx, Obradović, Deschacht, Spajić, Najar, Dendoncker, Hanni, Trebel, Onyekuro, Teodorczyk, Bruno.
Bayern have won five of the two teams' last ten meetings, although the Bavarians should be wary as Anderlecht triumphed in the last, for their third victory overall, beating them 2-1 in the round of 16 second leg.
However, Bayern have made significant improvements to their squad since and have only lost one game in the Bundesliga so far this season. In comparison Les Mauves et Blanc have had an indifferent start to the league season, winning two, drawing two and losing two of their first six matches.
Bayern are clearly the favourites and should win comfortably at home.
Prediction: Bayern 4-1 Anderlecht