4 December 2012 10:06
German giants Bayern Munich are on track to finish top of Group F ahead of Valencia on Wednesday.
Last season’s UEFA Champions League finalists are level on points with the La Liga club but their superior head-to-head record means they will advance from the group as winners with victory at home to BATE Borisov.
Bayern have only lost two of their past 15 league and cup fixtures, one of those defeats coming against BATE in October.
The Bundesliga leaders have been close to faultless this season as they look to end Borussia Dortmund’s domination of German football and avenge their heartbreaking loss to Chelsea in May’s Champions League decider.
Bayern’s attacking displays this season have wowed the football world, with a whopping 51 goals scored in 20 Bundesliga and European games this season.
And while the likes of Mario Mandzukic (nine goals), Thomas Mueller (eight goals) and Toni Kroos (six goals) have caught the eye, it’s Bayern’s defence that deserves plenty of praise.
Philipp Lahm, Jerome Boateng, Dante and Holger Badstuber have formed Bundesliga’s best defence, conceding just six goals, while shipping six in the Champions League.
Wednesday’s opponents BATE got off to a flying start in Europe, beating Lille and Bayern in their opening two games but it has been slim pickings since, losing three on the bounce.
The nine-time Belarusian champions sit three points clear of Lille in Group F however they are still guaranteed European football in the New Year regardless of Wednesday’s result because of their super head-to-head record against the Ligue 1 club.
Valencia have secured a place in the knockout phase but could still pip Bayern into top spot if results go their way.
The scenario is simple for Valencia they must beat Lille and hope Bayern fail to win in Belarus.
Assistant coach Voro takes temporary charge of first-team duties following the sacking of Mauricio Pellegrino after their hefty 5-2 defeat to Real Sociedad at the weekend.
And he will hope for another strong performance from leading marksman Roberto Soldado, who has 14 goals in his past 14 Champions League games.
Lille have already been eliminated and are facing their worst-ever performance in the Champions League but they will be buoyed by Valencia’s away record in Europe which has resulted in just two wins in 11 games.