Bayern Munich will be aiming to kick off their 2019/20 UEFA Champions League campaign with a win when they face Serbian side Red Star Belgrade in Group B on Wednesday
Since winning their fifth Champions League title in 2013, Bayern have never failed to progress past the group stages but have become unstuck in the knockout rounds, losing to Liverpool and Real Madrid in recent years.
Last season they began with a win over Benfica and in 2017 they beat Anderlecht 3-0 on the opening matchday. A similar result will be the aim this week.
Standing in their way are the current Serbian SuperLiga champions Red Star Belgrade who have already negotiated themselves through four tricky qualifying rounds this term, edging out Young Boys on away goals last month to finally secure qualification.
This is a game therefore Bayern should win, but nothing is easy in Europe.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Wednesday 18 September|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||20:00 (BST)|
|Where Is it Played?||Allianz Arena|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||BT Sport Extra 2|
Where to Buy Tickets
Bayern manager Niko Kovac will be without both David Alaba and Leon Goretzka for the clash at the Allianz Arena.
Austrian international Alaba picked up a groin injury in the warmup before last Saturday’s meeting with RB Leipzig and will be out for several weeks. Lucas Hernandez is set to shift across to left-back to cover. Meanwhile, midfielder Goretzka underwent an operation last week on a thigh problem.
In more positive news, Philippe Coutinho is set to start as he begins his quest for European glory, after failing to reach the final of the competition with Barcelona, Liverpool or Inter. He will play off of Robert Lewandowski in attack, who has started the season well.
For Red Star Belgrade, boss Vladan Milojevic has a reasonably fit squad to pick from, with club captain and former Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Marko Marin and centre-back Milos Degenek, once of VFB Stuttgart, fit to face their former BuLi foes.
They will be without Branko Jovicic though who has knee ligament damage and new striker Tomane, who will miss the game through suspension after being sent off in the meeting with Young Boys.
|Bayern Munich||Neuer; Pavard, Sule, Boateng, Hernandez; Kimmich, Thiago; Gnabry, Coutinho, Coman; Lewandowski.|
|Red Star Belgrade||Borjan; Gobeljic, Degenek, Babic, Rodic; Canas, Jovancic; Nabouhane, Marin, Vukanovic; Pavkov.|
Head to Head Record
Overall, the teams have played one another on five occasions, Bayern and Red Star both winning two, with one game ending in a draw.
You would have to go back to 1991 though for the last time Red Star Belgrade beat Bayern. This was in the 1990/91 European Cup semi-finals, where Red Star Belgrade progressed to the final, beating the Bavarian giants 4-3 on aggregate.
Bayern have started the season reasonably well, picking up two wins and two draws in the Bundesliga, and they sit just two points behind league leaders RB Leipzig.
An impressive 6-1 victory at home to Mainz 05 in their last game at the Allianz Arena has been the highlight thus far, but they still have yet to really come to life this season. They will be eyeing up a big victory on Wednesday to show the rest of Europe they mean business in the Champions League.
As eluded to earlier, Red Star Belgrade have battled past Suduva, Finnish side Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi, FC Kobenhavn and Young Boys this summer to earn their place in Group B alongside Tottenham Hotspur, Olympiacos and, of course, Bayern Munich.
In the SuperLiga they have started the season on fire, winning all six of their opening league games as they aim to defend their title. In fact, Vladan Milojevic’s side have only lost one game in the league since October 2017. Quite remarkable really.
Here’s how both sides have performed in their last five games.
|Bayern Munich||Red Star Belgrade|
|RB Leipzig 1-1 Bayern Munich (14/09)||Red Star Belgrade 2-1 Indija (14/09)|
|Bayern Munich 6-1 Mainz 05 (31/08)||Vojvodina 1-2 Red Star Belgrade (31/08)|
|Schalke 04 0-3 Bayern Munich (24/08)||Red Star Belgrade 1-1 Young Boys (27/08)|
|Bayern Munich 2-2 Hertha BSC (16/08)||Young Boys 2-2 Red Star Belgrade (21/08)|
|Energie Cottbus 1-3 Bayern Munich (12/08)||Spartak Subotica 2-3 Red Star Belgrade (17/08)|
With the likes of Coutinho, Lewandowski and Coman all set to play on Wednesday, Bayern will start with a win as they should have too much in attack for Red Star Belgrade.
While the Serbian side did progress through qualifying, last season they lost all three of their Champions League away group games, conceding 13 and scoring just two in these matches.
With Spurs next up in Group B, Bayern will know a victory this week is essential if they want to top the group, meaning they should dispatch Red Star Belgrade with ease.
Prediction: Bayern Munich 4-0 Red Star Belgrade