Bayern Munich-CSKA Moscow Preview: Russians chase shock win for qualification

The visitors could progress to the last 16 with a victory at the Allianz Arena but the Bundesliga champions have won all 10 of their home games so far this season

CSKA Moscow can qualify behind Bayern Munich in Champions League Group E if they can upset the odds with a win in Germany.

Vasili Berezutski’s injury-time goal to snatch a 1-1 draw against Roma on matchday five handed a huge boost to CSKA’s hopes of reaching the last 16, although Manchester City’s dramatic 3-2 comeback win over Bayern later that evening served to cloud the issue.

The Bavarians are already assured of first place having won their first four matches, including a 1-0 triumph in Moscow, but the three other teams in the pool are locked together on five points apiece.

CSKA’s four-point haul from their games against City means they hold the advantage over the Premier League champions in terms of head-to-head records, although a 5-1 thrashing in Rome back in September counts against them in this regard.

The upshot is CKSA must win in Munich and hope Roma do not do likewise when they host City – and victory at the Allianz Arena stands as one of the tallest orders in football today.

Bayern have won 10 out of 10 on home turf across all competitions in 2014-15, conceding just twice, and boast a similarly imposing record against their Russian visitors thanks to 3-0 and 3-1 wins when the teams were drawn together in last season’s Champions League group stage.

Provided Berezutski recovers from a knock, CSKA are at full-strength – with the exception of long-term absentee Rasmus Elm (stomach) – as they aim to build on momentum gained through three consecutive domestic wins heading into Russia’s winter break on the back of the Roma result.

Bayern are without Mehdi Benatia following the defender’s red card against City, while influential midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger is chasing a first start of the campaign as he works his way back to full fitness.

Time on the sidelines for the likes of Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm, Thiago Alcantara and Javi Martinez have provided midfield opportunities for the likes of Sebastian Rode.

Signed from Eintracht Frankfurt during the close-season, Rode has gradually acclimatised to life with the Bavarian giants and produced an influential display from the bench during Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen.

Benatia’s sending off at the Etihad Stadium meant a tactical substitution cut short Rode’s first Champions League start.

And the 24-year-old insists Pep Guardiola’s team will work hard to end a triumphant group campaign with a fifth win.

Rode told Bayern’s official website: “We still want to win. It’ll be another 70,000 crowd and we want to put on a show for them. If I play I can promise I’ll give it everything.”

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