Spurs travel to the Allianz Arena looking to avenge their 7-2 defeat earlier in the season, and there has been a much-changed look to both sides, with respective managers Mauricio Pochettino and Niko Kovac both being shown the exit door.
Both sides have already secured qualification for the knock out rounds and will subsequently be looking to rotate their sides, with top spot secure for Bayern, and second for Spurs. Jose Mourinho could use the opportunity to take a look at some of his fringe players.
Hans-Dieter Flick will be tempted to do the same, especially after Saturday’s disappointing defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach making it two defeats on the bounce, and as a result, it does make it a tough game to unpick.
Although predicting the personnel that Spurs will opt for is tough, it would be no surprise to see Mourinho opt for a defensive set up, to warn against the threats that Bayern provided in the reverse fixture. Forced to come out and chase the game, Spurs were picked off by the pace of Serge Gnabry on the break, with full back Serge Aurier in particular struggling to cope. The Ivorian defender has improved in recent weeks, helped by a switch at left back with Jan Vertonghen being preferred, and this often leads to Spurs opting set up with a back three when the opposite full back attacks, allowing greater protection to the centre halves.
The wide array of attacking options at Flick’s disposal means that no matter who he picks, the risk of Spurs opting for a high line once again is a tough one. With Danny Rose expected to return to the starting line-up, Juan Foyth could be given the opportunity at right back, and provide the balance that has Vertonghen has done on the other flank. This would mean Spurs would rely upon the left side for their attacks, but could also leave a space in behind Rose for Bayern to target. Thomas Muller started on the right flank on Saturday, however, it would be no surprise to see the more mobile option of Ivan Perisic, Serge Gnabry or Kingsley Coman operate on this flank, in an attempt to break down the Spurs defence, and target this potential weakness. Joshua Kimmich and Alphonso Davies offer impressive box-to-box options at full back, whilst Benjamin Pavard could be given a chance to impress, and offers a similar threat.
Philippe Coutinho missed out for Bayern on Saturday against Borussia Monchengladbach, and it would be no surprise to see the Brazilian return to the starting line up, especially with his scintillating display in the reverse fixture. Creating three chances, and completing 16/22 attacking third passes, the most of anyone on the pitch, Spurs struggled to contain the attacking midfielder, and if he is to start on Wednesday, could hold the key to breaking down this Spurs side. As discussed, if Spurs are to sit deep, it will mean that Bayern will need to break down the English side, and be patient in doing so. Who Mourinho opts for in the central midfield to alleviate the threat of the midfielder will be interesting, as Harry Winks and Tanguy N’Dombele struggled to contain him back in October.
Winks and N’Dombele both missed out on the squad for Saturday’s 5-0 victory over Burnley, with Oliver Skipp appearing from the bench, but it would be no surprise to see the two return for the trip to Germany, offering much needed experience to a side that could see a number of young players involved.
In front of Coutinho, Robert Lewandowski is on red hot form this season, and whether he is rested could have a huge bearing upon the game. The same goes for Harry Kane with Spurs, and with such a busy festive period awaiting Spurs, it would be no surprise to Kane rested.
With Kane potentially being given a rest, given his injury worries in past season, it could a chance for youngster Troy Parrott up front. Introduced off the bench late on, it would reinforce the idea that Spurs will look to sit deep and frustrate Bayern, before hitting them on the break.
Ryan Sessegnon could see first team action, and is well suited to both give defensive protection down the left to Danny Rose, as well as hit the spaces vacated by Bayern on the break. The counter attack will hold the key for Tottenham, particularly if Kane isn’t playing, and if the English striker isn’t starting, it could see Tottenham struggle to see the ball for long periods of the play.
His hold up play is key, and youngster Parrott, or the option Mourinho opts for centrally, whether it be Heung-Min Son or potentially even Lucas Moura, will struggle to bring others into play unless dropping in between the Bayern midfield and defensive lines, and this will see the Bayern centre backs, and centre midfielders, rack up the passes. Not priced at time of writing, the passing markets are worth consideration if the team news shows a Spurs side without Kane, as Bayern will expect to dominate possession.
A lot relies upon the line ups that both sides opt to lead with, and the dead rubber nature of the game makes it a tough one to second guess the intensity.
However, given that Mourinho will often look to sit in and frustrate the opposition in these games, and will be keen for his side to set up to defend for long periods, I’d be tempted to go for under 3.5 goals, available at 1.95 (MarathonBet). Even if Spurs fall behind, I can’t see them actively going out to chase the game till late, and this should see a cagey affair, potentially with a lack of intensity.
Given their torrid domestic form, Bayern will be desperate for a victory themselves in front of a baying home crowd, so that could have an influence on their team selection, and see a slightly stronger line up than a dead rubber would normally suggest. With Spurs expecting to sit deep, and Bayern requiring to break down a compact defence, it would be no surprise to see Coutinho willing to try his luck from range. Priced at 3.25 (BetFred), he is the most appealing anytime goalscorer option, in what is an otherwise tricky tie to unpick.