FC Bayern Munich attempts to take a commanding lead in Champions League Group A against SSC Napoli on Tuesday evening in Italy. Here’s a brief primer:
Live: In the U.S., you are once again looking at the DirecTV package as your only live television option. The match should appear on channel 483 in that package, from 2:45 p.m. Eastern.
U.S. Fox Soccer Channel 9 a.m. Eastern, Wednesday and Fox Soccer Espanol 12 p.m. Eastern Wednesday
Canada: Sportsnet World has a delayed broadcast from 5 p.m. Eastern.
Australia: ESPN has coverage from 12 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday
Feel free to add the listing for your country or request information if you need it either in the comments here or in the fourm. Also, the Bayern Report Fan Chat might be able to provide you with what you’re looking for; look for it in this place tomorrow.
Five Things I’ll Be Watching For
1) The Complete Ribery
Much has been made of the new improved and happy Franck Ribery. He even speaks of tracking back in not-so-negative tones! Three days after figuring in every goal in the victory over Hertha, Ribery may make just as enormous a contribution without ever scoring. The individual pace and skill that generated the scoring on Saturday may create the opportunities for others on Tuesday. Winning the wide duels early will test just how much faith Napoli has in their system against an attack like Bayern’s, which leads into..
2) Tactics Nerd Paradise
Both sides will be encountering systems that function differently than most of what they see in their domestic leagues. Whether the match ends up being interesting from an aesthetic point of view or not, I expect the tactics nerds of the world will have a very exciting day. But even if you’re not one who is particularly interested in the x’s and o’s, the potential is there for you to learn something you didn’t know before about your team, and maybe even more about your trainer. For those wanting to wade into these waters a little deeper, I suggest this year-old Zonal Marking analysis as having particular relevance in connection to this match.
3) Which Lavezzi Will Show Up?
In my view, Napoli’s attack benefits more from strong individual performances from Ezequiel Lavezzi than any other player, and it’s hurt the most when he’s off his game. Lavezzi was off-form in the loss against Parma at the weekend, and maybe the best thing you can say is that when he fails, he fails by trying to beat too many men at once or by trying to find the perfect outlet-it’s not for lack of effort. But if he’s back in flow Tuesday night he’s more than capable of making the play that closes out Bayern’s clean sheet streak.
4) In the Mood
Despite a very early goal against Villarreal, in each Champions League match so far we’ve seen Bayern come out rather conservatively and end up on the back foot for stretches in the early phases of matches that they would later dominate. I wouldn’t call it something done by design, to me it is more of a reaction to consciously avoid the way they went out of the tournament last season. The nervous caution then seems to give way after about half an hour, and things ramp up. I’m interested to see if that game-flow persists, just where that switch will flip, but also if that flow is interrupted by events, whether it will make any difference. Against Villarreal for instance, the goal seemed to have less to do with it than Rafinha’s substitution into the match.
5) Müller Time
This is the first match that I feel that Bayern might really miss Robben. I think Bayern’s oft-times rote wide game would actually be advantageous against Napoli. While Thomas Müller offers a more versatile alternative, is he going to bury the chances he gets and break out of an easily-forgotten mini-slump in that regard?