Three Bundesliga teams will be looking for results midweek in Champions League play. Bayern Munich face AS Roma on Tuesday, while Werder Bremen travel to London and Schalke host Lyon on Wednesday, with both German clubs needing victories badly.
Bayern Munich will try to extend their perfect record in Champions League competition when they travel to Rome’s Stadio Olimpico in Tuesday’s match with AS Roma. Louis van Gaal’s club leads 2nd place AS Roma by six points in the Group E standings with only one more group game after Tuesday. Die Bayern have scored eleven goals in their four Champions League group matches so far this season while only surrendering three. AS Roma has a negative goal differential in Champions League play, but are doing well in Serie A, fifth in the table. Their unbeaten Serie A streak includes wins over Udinese, Fiorentina, Lecce and Rome rivals Lazio, and a draw with Juventus in Turin.
Bayern Munich are pulling it together after an injury-plagued start to thus Bundesliga campaign, although their nine-game Bundesliga unbeaten streak has them only in the 8th position in the table. Louis van Gaal will have Martin Demichelis available for the clash with AS Roma, but Mark van Bommel, Arjen Robben, Ivica Olic, Holger Badstuber and Miroslav Klose remain out with injury, and Bastian Schweinsteiger will miss the match with suspension. Meanwhile, Mario Gomez has found his mislaid scoring boots and is on fire for the Bavarians.
On Wednesday, Werder Bremen, the bottom-dweller in Group A, will try to get untracked and regain some pride at White Hart Lane against Tottenham. Werder Bremen’s season is spinning out of control, as they have only one draw and five losses in their last six matches since beating Borussia Monchengladbach on October 23, including their Champions League loss to FC Twente and their DFB Pokal elimination by Bayern Munich. They sit in twelth place in the Bundesliga table, owing to a decent start to the season, but are -15 in goal differential. Werder Bremen have not scored in their last four matches in all competitions
Werder Bremen mounted a furious comeback September 14 in their first matchup with Spurs in Germany to gain a point with a 2-2 result. The London club are currently sixth in the EPL table, scoring a huge win this weekend over arch-rival Arsenal, 3-2. Spurs are tied for the Group A lead with last year’s Champions League winner Inter Milan with seven points, five ahead of Werder Bremen, and their lanky forward, Peter Crouch, scored for the English national team against France last week at Wembley. This is a must-win game for embattled coach Thomas Schaaf and his Werder side, which will definetely be without Brazilian midfielder Wesley and may be without the services of French defender Mikael Silvestre and Austrian attacker Marko Arnautovic.
Also on Wednesday, Schalke 04 host Lyon in Gelsenkirchen. The French club leads Group B with nine points, two ahead of second place Schalke. Lyon won the first matchup in France over the Royal Blues, 1-0, courtesy of a first-half Michel Bastos goal. Schalke defender Benedikt Howedes received a red card later in the first half, and Schalke were not able to overcome being a man down for the last 50 minutes of the match.
As all Bundesliga fans know, this has been a terribly disappointing season so far for Schalke, last year’s runnerups to Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga title. Schalke are slowly lifting themselves out of the relegation zone, but still are in the 15th spot in the table. A wholesale backline changeover in the offseason has been part of the reason for the Royal Blues lack of wins, but Coach Felix Magath seems to be getting the team in line, with former Real Madrid star Raul beginning to score goals in bunches, tallying six times in league play now, one behind teammate Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Schalke are undefeated in their last four matches in all competitions, but that includes a fortunate draw against Werder Bremen and a listless performance in Israel in their scoreless draw with Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Lyon have also suffered a lackluster start to their Ligue 1 season, although with their 3-1 win over Lens this weekend Claude Puel’s team now stand only two points out of the Ligue 1 top spot. The difficulty for Lyon is that there are eight teams bunched at the top of Ligue 1, with each between 24 and 22 points accumulated so far this year. Lyon have fared much better in Champions League play, with only a 4-3 loss to Benfica keeping them from a perfect Champions League record. For more information about Lyon and the coaching hot seat currently occupied by Puel, see our sister blog Ligue 1 Talk http://ligue1talk.com/2010/11/22/who-would-want-to-coach-lyon/ .
All three Champions League matches involving Bundesliga teams this week are intriguing. All the matches are available for viewing on American television on the DirecTV Champions League mix at 2:30 pm ET. On Wednesday, the Tottenham-Werder Bremen game will also be shown live on Fox Soccer Plus, while delayed viewings of the Bayern Munich-AS Roma contest will be shown Wednesday at 11:00am ET and the Schalke-Lyon matchup will air on Thursday at 8:00 pm ET on FSC.