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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Bayern Munich should ease to first-leg win

Bavarian giants primed for entertaining clash with Besiktas

Bayern Munich celebrate Robert Lewandowski's winner at Wolfsburg on Saturday
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Champions League last-16 first leg
BT Sport 3 & Showcase, 7.45pm Tuesday

With Barcelona, Real Madrid, super-rich Paris St-Germain and five Premier League clubs filling half of the spots in the Champions League last 16, Bayern Munich could be flying under punters' radars.

FC Hollywood aren't used to being shoved out of the limelight, however, and their home leg against Besiktas may well remind Europe that Bayern remain serious contenders.

After all, they are 19 points clear in the Bundesliga, beat PSG 3-1 in their group-stage clash at the Allianz Arena, and are on a 13-match winning run under Jupp Heynckes.

Heynckes, a Champions League winner with Real Madrid in 1998 and Bayern in 2013, was reappointed in October after Carlo Ancelotti's reign had gone sour.

And Bayern have flourished since the veteran coach's return with Colombian attacker James Rodriguez among the rejuvenated players starring in a free-scoring start to 2018.

Since the turn of the year Bayern have scored 22 goals in seven domestic games although their only clean sheets in that run came against Bundesliga strugglers Mainz and second-tier Paderborn in the German Cup.

With Robert Lewandowski as sharp as ever up front and Rodriguez, Thomas Muller, Kingsley Coman, Thiago Alcantara, Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Arturo Vidal in support of the prolific Pole, Bayern can afford to concede the odd sloppy goal.

Bayern Munich team profile

Besiktas team profile

That could be the case in their tie against Besiktas, another team who are stronger going forward than they are in defence.

While Bayern finished second to PSG in Group B, Besiktas were surprise winners of their section thanks to away victories over Porto (3-1), Leipzig (2-1) and last season's semi-finalists Monaco (2-1).

Those successes on the road should encourage a bold display from the Turkish side in Bavaria and they probably lack the personnel to sit back and frustrate Bayern.

Five of Besiktas's six group games saw both teams score and they have the attacking players to breach a Bayern rearguard still missing star goalkeeper Manuel Neuer through injury.

Backing Bayern to win with over 3.5 goals in the match is an appealing bet. The Turks could contribute to the goal tally but their hosts may well cover the line themselves as they bid to emulate Manchester City and Liverpool's wide-margin first-leg wins over Basel and Porto last week.

In the last four seasons Bayern have racked up 68 goals in 20 home Champions League matches and they should bolster that record against Besiktas.

Bayern Munich to win & over 3.5 goals
2pts 6-5 Betfair, Paddy Power

Bundesliga standings

Turkish Super Lig standings

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Team news
Bayern Munich
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is the only absentee for Bayern, who will recall several first-team regulars rested at the weekend.

Veli Kavlak (shoulder), Atinc Nukan (knee), Gokhan Tore (knee) and Dusko Tosic (arm) are out for the visitors.

Key stat
Besiktas have kept just one clean sheet in their last 13 Champions League matches.

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Bayern have flourished since the veteran coach's return with James Rodriguez among the rejuvenated players starring in a free-scoring start to 2018
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