Champions League: Bayern Munich vs Fiorentina
The European tie between Bayern Munich and Fiorentina ought to be an entertaining affair given the attacking tendencies of both clubs during various stretches of the season. The Bavarians have been scoring for fun in the Bundesliga totaling 21 goals in just 6 matches. Prior to this stunning six match run, Bayern scored four past Juventus in Turin in the Champions League.
While Bayern appear to have reached top form and are firing on all cylinders, Fiorentina have been struggling to win as they cannot seem to find the back of the net with the same ease as the German giants. The Italians have only scored six times in the last six games in all competitions including three goals against a weak Lazio side in the Coppa Italia. The main concerns for the Gigliati are not limited to scoring but also relate to forward Adrian Mutu’s complex situation. The Romanian star has suffered from injury during the course of the season, been locked in a legal battle with former club Chelsea and most recently received a temporary ban imposed by CONI after failing drug tests for banned substances.
In his absence the Gigliati have struggled to find the back of the net with the main culprit being Italy striker Alberto Gilardino who is going through an apparent dip in form. Gilardino was in impressive form prior to the Winter break but has been erratic since the beginning of 2010. The club has a few other major concerns with the charismatic Coach Cesare Prandelli linked on various occasions with taking over the Italian national team and most recently fallen giants Juventus. The Gigliati have signed a number of players during the January transfer window creating the need to assimilate some new players, including three youngsters, in the middle of the season which can sometimes be a tricky proposition.
Finally, the club’s defense has been shaky since the departure of skipper Dario Dainelli who was surprisingly offloaded to Genoa while his partner Alessandro Gamberini has just returned from injury. On the other hand, Bayern appear invincible as they continue to steamroll one club after another in the German league. Dutch player Arjen Robben has been in impressive form and his trickery will pose one of the greatest threats to Fiorentina’s ambitions to qualify to the quarter-finals. In addition, French star Franck Ribery is slowly but surely working on recapturing his form after time spent on the sidelines due to injury. He has made substitute appearances in the club’s last three matches.
Given the recent form of both sides, it does appear Fiorentina will be facing a daunting task but with Prandelli in charge as well as weapons such as Stevan Jovetic (scored a brace against Liverpool in the Group Stage) and Juan Manuel Vargas creating scoring opportunities it would be wrong to rule out the Italian club too soon. Still, the Bavarians will come into the tie with the clear advantage of having built momentum in the last six matches while scoring goals for fun. The Germans will also be able to use their last trip to Italy as a rallying point after humiliating Juventus in Turin 4-1.