Preview: Besiktas Istanbul – FC Bayern

It’s the Champions League round of sixteen. It’s the second leg. It’s maybe the loudest arena in Europe. But the Bayern team travel to Istanbul with a five-goal lead in their bags and can therefore be calm and relaxed. Author: Justin • Translator: Dennis

Things could have been different. Ten minutes were played in the first leg and Miasanrot readers must have got the impression that it was exactly the opponent on the pitch, we warned against in our preview.

Besiktas was sharp, tough, and created danger with counter-attacks again and again. But then a few minutes later they were a man down. An blunder and a completely unnecessary tackling threw the complete concept of the guests out of the window.

For Bayern this meant that it they would need patience. The hectic rush from the early stages disappeared successively and the five-time Champions League winner eased into the match. At least in the second half, the Bayern team were able to convince through willpower, attitude and playful class. They didn’t stop and gained an important five-goal advantage.

What to expect in the second leg?

Despite the game being decided, Bayern kept pushing for the next goal. An attitude that is not needed in the Bundesliga. Nevertheless, week after week it is clear that the entire team is working towards one goal.

This special mentality will also be needed in the second leg of the game. After all, the first leg result is deceptive in many ways. At home, the Turks will want to show again that they are better than they could show with ten men.

With their audience at their back and knowing that they won’t be able to advance in any case, their approach may be a little more open than at the beginning of the first match. Besiktas will presumably start higher and will want to force a fast goal.

Bayern, on the other hand, can take this game as a test. A dress rehearsal for the next rounds. Can the team free itself from well-organized pressure? What about fierce phases in the game? Especially away games in the Champions League offer some opportunities to see the team’s status quo.

Hamburg could not serve as a yardstick here. Rarely has a guest in the arena shown so little self-confidence and so little willingness to somehow get rid of the unpleasant situation. Against Besiktas, on the other hand, the Germans are being challenged again.

Particularly with regard to the balance between offense and defence, the Reds will be able to gain some insights. This construction site remains the biggest tactical issue for the record champion. Even against weak Hamburgers there were occasional simple turnovers, which invited the opponent to counterattack. A Ribéry that has been greatly improved against HSV must also feel addressed here.

His offensive actions would be worth a lot more if he didn’t make easy mistakes in between. He lost six offensive duels, won four. Three out of the four in the lead up to his remarkable goal. Heynckes must be able to keep the focus off the Frenchman in the game.

Ideally, Bayern would combine freely in the right half space and then look for a switch to Ribéry. With enough space, he is still a beast. However, the 34-year-old is no longer as good if he himself has to run towards the opponent’s well staggered defensive line. In this case, there is a growing incidence of carelessness or poorly secured dribbling. In the Champions League, these little things can amount to being eliminated.

If James can return to the pitch in Istanbul, that would be a big advantage. The Colombian usually not only attracts opponents, but also takes some of the pressure off the wingers with his own actions. That could be very helpful for Ribéry, if he starts.

Otherwise, from a tactical point of view, Müller is once again worth mentioning. As a fan of Bayern, you won’t get tired of mentioning his outstanding runs and his entire presence. He’s another key to cracking the well-staggered Turks. Kimmich, James, Lewandowski and all other players on the right side of the pitch are currently benefiting enormously from the captain.

But the question remains, who would Heynckes actually like to field on Wednesday evening. Lewandowski and Kimmich risk being suspended with another yellow card. Other players – such as James Rodríguez – may need practice, but they also came from an injury. Heynckes will either rotate strongly and test other players at a very high level, or give his supposed first eleven important minutes to find the rhythm. Both variants have good arguments.

Boosting confidence and taking the next step!

Regardless of the formation, however, the initial phase in Istanbul will be very exciting. Do the Bayern immediately follow the pace and manage to suprise Besiktas? Or do they start the game similarly to the first leg? Then it will be very difficult for the Reds.

Besiktas is still a very experienced and strong team. Even if the result is no longer as important, Bayern can boost their confidence. An away win would be good for the head. But also the manner of appearance can send a message, not only inside the club.

The time for corrections is running out for Bayern. The first leg of the quarter-finals will be played at the beginning of April. By then at the latest, the Heynckes XI must be more creative in the offensive centre, lose fewer balls in senseless dribblings and act more orderly in counterpressing. Above all, however, it must be stronger, more compact and more controlled when they switch to the defensive phase of the game after turnovers. Istanbul could be an important indicator of this development.

Note: Due to the time difference, the game will take place at 6 pm German time.

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