A couple of weeks ago, we could only offer poor Tom from Bavarian Football Works a can of Carlsberg at TLO Towers. This time, we’re partying down in Munich, and he interrupted me standing and singing on the table with a Maß in my hand to ask me some questions for his site. I sobered up enough to return the favor and ask him some questions ahead of the Champions League clash:
The Liverpool Offside: So, prior to our last meeting you trailed Dortmund and we were ahead of Manchester City. Those fortunes have, well, changed. How does your improved league position impact your Champions League ambitions, if at all?
Bavarian Football Works: Our league form has significantly bettered since the first leg and we’ve kept up the pressure on Dortmund to the point where we now even have a superior goal difference than them with one der Klassiker left to go this season. A lot of us are definitely feeling a lot more confident ahead of this leg compared to the first leg given how well we’ve played in the Bundesliga since then. We’ve had three wins on the spin and have out-scored our three opponents 12-1 during that span (Hertha Berlin, Borussia Monchengladbach, and Wolfsburg.), so we’re full of confidence, especially in attack. Robert Lewandowski, Serge Gnabry, Thiago, and Javi Martinez have been playing exceptionally well as of late and I think those four will be difference makers against Liverpool. We would love to see another defensive masterclass from Javi.
TLO: Speaking of ambitions, with the untimely exits of PSG (snicker) and Real Madrid (laughing uncontrollably), this Champions League is wide open. In your estimation, will the winner of this match go on to lift #6?
BFW: Right as I’m answering this Juventus have finished 3-0 over Atletico to advance to the quarter-finals, so I think both them and Manchester City remain front runners. With that said, I think the winner between Bayern and Liverpool could definitely beat either of those two teams, and both have. Liverpool triumphed over City twice last season and Bayern beat Juventus back in 2016, so both Juventus and City are 100% beatable. To more accurately answer your question, I do strongly feel that the winner of this Bayern-Liverpool tie will be in the final in Madrid at the very least.
TLO: Eh-hem, we beat City THREE times last year. Moving on. What were your biggest takeaways from the first leg, and how will Bayern change their approach in front of the lederhosen-clad faithful?
BFW: Defensive shape and organization were SO good from Bayern in the first leg, and we need to keep that same type of discipline for leg 2. Obviously, though, we have to make the most of our moments going forward when those opportunities do come, because we likely won’t get a hell of a lot of chances, especially with van Dijk back in the lineup. If there was any big takeaway from leg 1, it’s that either side should’ve finished their chances better -we kind of got lucky that Liverpool fluffed their lines on a couple of occasions. I think that Kovac will have stressed finishing in the sessions leading up to this match and catching Liverpool on the break when they commit numbers forward. It’s funny, because a lot of teams play that way against us; pack in deep, wait to win possession, and then break on the counter. I think it’s how we can catch Liverpool out, especially with how much Trent and Robbo love to roam forward. The flanks NEED to be utilized by Bayern to cause Liverpool come problems, forcing both Salah and Mane to track back and do some defensive work - the more they’re pinned inside their own half, the better.
TLO: I want käsespätzle. I guess that isn’t really a question. But if I had a bowl of käsespätzle in front of me, what’s your pick of Bavarian brew to help wash it down?
BFW: I have my heart set on Weihenstephaner’s hefe weissbier to be quite honest, but there’s sooooo many good biers to choose from. I recently found a place near me that sell’s Erdinger’s weissbier and I’m ALL about it. When in doubt, a good weissbier is never a bad option! If you don’t want to go that route, though, one of my all-time go to’s would be either Paulaner’s Oktoberfest Marzen or Weihenstephaner’s Premium Bavaricum Lager. PROST! Hope you enjoy whatever you land on!
TLO: Good shout on Erdinger. Their dunkle weissbier is fantastic. Though, for me the gold standard of weissbier has to be Schneider Weisse Tap 7. Anyway, back to the footy. Prediction?
BFW: This is the million dollar question! I’d have to say I think this one is going to require a Bayern fightback after an early Liverpool away go. With that said, I’m going to go with 2-1 to Bayern and one of Bayern’s goal will be a Lewandowski penalty - I just have a feeling.
Thanks again and good luck to Liverpool!
TLO: We don’t like your feeling! But best of luck to you (after tonight, obviously), and PROST!