Chelsea and Bayern Munich are set to finish out our Round of 16 two-legged tie 5.5 months after playing the first leg at Stamford Bridge. Bayern hold a 3-0 lead, which seems insurmountable, but you never know in football! Ahead of Saturday’s game, we sat down with cross-network blog-friend ‘Ineednoname’ of Bavarian Football Works for a brief Q&A. Be sure to check out the reverse version over on their site where we talk Kepa, Pulisic, and getting excited for Werner.
WAGNH: Since the first leg, when questions still remained about Bayern’s domestic form, y’all have polished off another league title, while continuing to rebuild and reshape the squad. How long to do you expect this domination to go on?
BFW: Realistically, our domestic domination isn’t going away any time soon. Bayern have a complete stranglehold on the league in every way that matters.
European domination is a different thing entirely, as conditions are very unpredictable. Barcelona and Juventus seem to be on a downward slide, while Liverpool, Real Madrid, and Manchester City are all set to maintain their status as elite teams. I see Bayern probably continuing to rub shoulders with that caliber of club. However, given the financial power of the teams at the pinnacle of the sport, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a more teams muscle their way back into consideration — especially Premier League teams like United, Arsenal, or even Chelsea.
WAGNH: Who have been Bayern’s key players after the restart? Same as before, all the usual suspects, or have the unprecedented ghost-games bring out key performances from other, perhaps less familiar faces?
BFW: It’s been the usual names: Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Alphonso Davies, etc. The big change after the restart is that Leon Goretzka bulked up significantly during his off-time and has displaced Thiago Alcantara from the lineup.
Goretzka and Kimmich are now Hansi Flick’s go-to starting pivot, and it’s led to rumors that Thiago wants to leave the club. Goretzka is incredibly physical — he’s quick, tall, and built like the Hulk. Bayern fans will be interested to see how he fares against Chelsea.
WAGNH: Does the long break between the last Bundesliga match (five weeks ago) and this game give you any pause or concern?
BFW: There’s plenty of reason to be concerned. Bayern is a team that thrives on momentum, with several of our key players preferring to play day-in, day-out to maintain sharpness. It’s quite annoying that this break had to happen. If we don’t win the Champions League this season, I think the break will be the main culprit.
WAGNH: What are Bayern’s plans for the summer? Chelsea have been tenuously linked with David Alaba; but surely he’s not going anywhere?
BFW: We already got Sane, and we want a right back. Ajax’s Sergiño Dest has been linked, and so has Norwich’s Max Aarons. Other than that, we mostly expect departures. Club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge admitted that we can’t get Havertz this season, so I guess he’s all yours — and that’s about it.
As for David Alaba, it’s too early to tell what will happen. The German press keeps flip-flopping on the issue, and his agent has apparently offered him to every team on the continent that has cash. However, Alaba supposedly only wants to move to Spain, and neither Barca nor Madrid seem very interested at the moment. So I think we have a decent chance of keeping him.
WAGNH: Have Bayern ever lost a competitive home game by more than three goals?
BFW: We lost 4-0 to Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid in the second leg of UCL semi finals in 2014. It was a pretty devastating loss, given that it kinda came out of nowhere and it was just a year removed from our treble. Madrid won the UCL that season. So I guess anything can happen.
Well, here’s hoping we can draw inspiration from Uncle Carlo for a second Miracle in Munich! Thanks again to ‘Ineednoname’ for the chat. May the best team win, as long as that’s Chelsea! Be sure to check out Bavarian Football Works in the meantime.