A mauling is expected when Bayern Munich host Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
The reigning champions underlined their title credentials with an authoritative 3-1 victory over Manchester City in the previous round of matches, and Plzen, if they are not careful -- or actually, even if they are -- could be in line for a hammering at the Allianz Arena.
Franck Ribery celebrates with his Bayern Munich teammate David Alaba after scoring against Manchester City in the Champions League, October 2
"I have a lot of respect for our opponents," Bayern manager Pep Guardiola said. "I saw them against Manchester City and they performed very well in the first half. They have some excellent players and play nice football. The team has changed a bit since I was at Barcelona [who played Plzen in the 2011/12 group stage] but their philosophy remains the same."
Bayern have six points from two matches and will have a huge foot on the door to the knockout stages with victory against Plzen on Wednesday. Plzen, on the other hand, are yet to pick up a single point from Group D, which also consists of CSKA Moscow.
Pavel Vrba is dreaming of a positive result against Bayern, but the Plzen manager did not go further than hoping for a 0-0 draw.
"Two years ago we played Barcelona, now we're facing the Champions League title holders again," Vrba said. "There is a very difficult game ahead of us, and to be very honest my feelings are quite intense. Anything could happen. Perhaps we will be able to get a 0-0 draw. Perhaps we will lose. Football is still full of surprises. You never know what will happen.
"We have improved a lot since the matches against Barça; we score a lot more goals now, but of course Bayern will put us under a lot of pressure. Guardiola will also have a good game plan and will know how to put us into trouble.
"We won't play a very offensive style, but we will try to be proactive. We will attempt to keep the ball and surprise our opponents once in a while. Of course we want to survive this group stage."
Team News: Jerome Boateng is suspended for Bayern Munich, while Dante is ruled out with an ankle injury. Javi Martinez has returned to training, after nearly two months out, but the Plzen game might come too early for the midfielder. Franck Ribery, though, is expected to be fit after missing the weekend Bundesliga game against Mainz.
Marian Cisovsky, the defender, who scored five goals in qualifying for Plzen, is back with the team, but David Limbersky misses out despite returning to training.
Key men: Bayern Munich: Mario Gotze hasn't exactly set the world alight after his move to Bayern, and now that the playmaker is free from injury, he will want to stamp his authority in Bayern colours.
Viktoria Plzen: Cisovsky's return is a timely boost for Plzen, and the minnows will not only want the player to marshal the defence well, but also maybe pop up with a goal or two from setpieces.
Where to watch
The match is scheduled for a 12.15 a.m. IST start on Thursday morning with live telecast on Ten HD.
Expected lineups: Bayern Munich: Neuer; Rafinha, Van Buyten, Contento, Alaba; Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Kroos; Robben, Muller, Ribery.
Viktoria Plzen: Kozacik; Rajtoral, Cisovsky, Prochazka, Reznik; Horava, Horvath; Duris, Pospisil, Kolar; Bakos.
Prediction: 3-0 to Bayern Munich
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