Munich (Germany) (AFP) – Bayern Munich host Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday with Niko Kovac needing to fix a leaking defence and lack of finishing after yielding top spot in the Bundesliga.
The clash at Munich’s Allianz Arena could well decide Group E after Bayern claimed a 2-0 win at Benfica in the opening round a fortnight ago while Ajax won 3-0 at Greek side AEK.
Dauntingly for Ajax, Bayern have won the last 12 matches at home in the Champions League’s group stages.
However, the five-time European champions finished the weekend second in the German league after crashing to a shock 2-0 defeat at Hertha Berlin on Friday after being outplayed in the capital.
“It is an important game against Ajax. A win would make things easier for us going into our next four games,” said Bayern head coach Kovac.
“Many people said we wouldn’t lose a game in the (Bundesliga) this season, but now it has happened in no time at all,” he added.
Uncharacteristically for Bayern, they leaked a late equaliser in a 1-1 league draw with Augsburg last Tuesday, which was followed by the defeat in Berlin, but Kovac remains unfazed.
“You have to differentiate, one is not directly linked to the other,” he insisted.
“You could also say we won seven out of nine games.”
However, the Bayern boss will be troubled by the ease with which Pal Dardai’s Hertha unpicked the lock of the Bayern defence.
He will seek a tighter performance against Ajax, who are second in the Dutch league after a 2-0 win at Fortuna Sittard on Saturday.
Ajax coach Erik ten Hag will have taken note of how Bayern’s defence was shaken in the first half by Berlin.
Jerome Boateng needlessly gave away penalty by fouling Salomon Kalou which Vedad Ibisevic converted for the opening goal.
Niklas Suele, Bayern’s other centre-back, was out of position when Hertha’s Ondrej Duda, the league’s current top-scorer with five goals in six games, smashed home a close-range cross.
Bayern’s star-studded attack also has a point to prove against Ajax after just having just one Arjen Robben goal, in the draw with Augsburg, to show for 40 shots on goal in their last two games.
Even the likes of James Rodriguez, Franck Ribery, Robben and Robert Lewandowski could not breach Berlin’s defence despite 25 shots.
Kovac is concerned by a lack of precision after his team “were not clinical” and more mistakes in defence “will be punished” against the Dutch.
Nevertheless, a win over Ajax would boost confidence before Saturday’s home league match against Borussia Moenchengladbach when they can aim to make up the one-point gap behind new Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund.
Historically, there is nothing separating Bayern and Ajax, who have three wins each, plus two draws, in their previous eight meetings.
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $35/mo. for Sling Blue
- Watch Premier League, World Cup & MLS
- Includes USA, NBC, FOX, FS1 + more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Man City’s Mendy was ‘predator’ pursuing women, rape trial hears
- New Brentford book captures heart of club: Just a Bus Stop in Hounslow
- Spurs midfielder Lo Celso joins Villarreal on loan
- African players in Europe: Dream home debut for Awoniyi
- Where to find Juventus vs. Sassuolo on US TV
- Where to find Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace on US TV
- Famous clubs battle for Champions League group slots
- Alaba free-kick gives Real Madrid win to start title defence
- Roma squeeze past Salernitana, Immobile fires Lazio to Bologna win
- Chippa inflict first loss on Orlando Pirates’ new ‘plumber’ coach