What: UEFA Champions League – Group F
Who: Bayern Munich vs Valencia
When: Wednesday 19th September, 2012, at 19:45 UK time
Where: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany

Fresh Start

After finishing the Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League as runners-up last season, it is fair to say that luck was not Bayern Munich’s ally in their attempts to be crowned with silverware. However, once again, the Bavarians are firmly ranked as one of the favourites for the 2012/13 Champions League crown. A good start against Valencia will all but confirm this theory.

The German giants may be inspired by history here, having won their fourth Champions League accolade in 2001 against Valencia, and though Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is more than aware of the danger Los Che pose, he is desperate to get a new campaign under way.

"We get to start from scratch again and in our first match we face a very strong opponent who we want to pick up our first three points against”, declared Neuer.

Another player who knows Valencia very well is new signing Javi Martinez, who has battled Los Che several times with Athletic Bilbao. “They will demand we play at our best because they are a great team, very together, can impose a high tempo and are tactically strong”, acknowledged the Euro 2012 winner.

Tough Task

A 2-1 win over Celta Vigo at the weekend was Valencia’s first in their opening four league games, which constitutes a bad start for a team vying for third place in La Liga, even at such an early point in the season. Facing a tough side here, a surprise at the Allianz Arena could jumpstart Valencia’s campaign.

And striker Roberto Soldado has confirmed his faith in his team, declaring that Valencia can hold their own against Bayern Munich, despite Die Roten being favourites for Group F.

"The important thing is to start well against the strongest team in the group, who are also doing well, but we have to win to get a good start in the Champions League and we are prepared to so”, commented the former Real Madrid man.

But Valencia remain short of several key players, including Pablo Piatti and Ever Banega. Piatti’s speed and Banega’s cunningness will be sorely missed as Los Che line up in Munich, making their task an even more difficult one.

Recent form

Bayern Munich:
Greuther Furth 0-3 Bayern Munich (25/08; Bundesliga)
Bayern Munich 6-1 Stuttgart (02/09; Bundesliga)
Bayern Munich 3-1 Mainz (15/09; Bundesliga)

Valencia 3-3 Deportivo La Coruna (26/08; La Liga)
Barcelona 1-0 Valencia (02/09; La Liga)
Valencia 2-1 Celta Vigo (15/09; La Liga)

Key absences

Bayern Munich: Mario Gomez; David Alaba; Diego Contento; Arjen Robben (doubt)

Valencia: David Albelda; Pablo Piatti; Fernando Gago; Sergio Canales; Ever Banega

Players to watch

Bayern Munich – Javi Martinez: The new “Kaiser” of Bayern Munich has been highly praised within Germany much is expected of the man who cost €40M from Athletic Bilbao. Martinez’ expected partnership alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger in the midfield could be one to savour.

Valencia – Adil Rami: The French international has so far been a shadow of the player that excelled last season in La Liga. Against an attacking team of Bayern Munich’s calibre, he will need to be at his absolute best in order to return happy to the Valencian community.

Match Prediction

Valencia appear to be too weak to mount a serious challenge against the hosts here, especially at the Allianz Arena. Bayern Munich will want to make amends after a disappointing season last year and will start with a win at home. Bayern Munich 2-0 Valencia.

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