Lewandowski set for return against Dortmund
Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski is in line to face Borussia Dortmund in their top-of-the-table Bundesliga clash this weekend, after he watched his side clinch their place in the Champions League last 16 on Tuesday.
The Polish international missed the 2-1 Group B win over Celtic in Glasgow that saw the German champions reach the knock-out stage of Europe’s elite competition for the 10th successive season.
Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, undefeated in his fourth spell in charge of the German giants after replacing Carlo Ancelotti last month, was forced to field on-loan Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez up front with Thomas Mueller also missing out through injury.
However, the veteran tactician was confident Lewandowski would return to lead the line against Dortmund on Saturday as they travel to face their rivals, who are just three points behind them in the Bundesliga.
“Obviously it’s not my ideal choice to replace somebody up front with a midfield player but I had no choice,” Heynckes said.
“In my opinion the team did very well with the changes.
“But Lewandowski trained well today and seems fit. Hopefully all things being well he will play on Saturday.”
Bayern, who made five changes for the match in Glasgow, faced a tough challenge against Celtic and only a Halloween horror show in the Hoops defence allowed them to take a 22nd-minute lead through Kingsley Coman.
The hosts responded positively and Callum McGregor’s 74th-minute equaliser looked set to earn them a share of the points.
However, it took just over two minutes for Bayern to regain their lead with Javi Martinez bravely heading home the winner that keeps them three points behind Group B leaders Paris Saint-Germain.
“We have to take into account the last few weeks and all the changes that have taken place,” Heynckes said of his side’s hard-fought win.
“The trainer changed and the training of the players has changed. It’s been difficult.
“We knew it would be difficult and challenging but we must compliment our opponents tonight.
“Celtic played an amazing game. The fans were a super support and it was a wonderful experience for my team.”
The defeat, coupled with PSG’s 5-0 thrashing of Anderlecht, ended Celtic’s hopes of progressing from the group.
However, the Scottish champions, without a home win in the Champions League since October 2013, remain favourites to finish third and claim a Europa League spot ahead of Anderlecht, who they host on matchday six, following their win in Belgium earlier in the campaign.
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers said his side’s performance — coming just a fortnight after a 3-0 loss in Munich — showed the improvements they were making.
“I think we showed in that performance we are certainly improving at the very highest level,” the Northern Irishman said.
“OK, we’re disappointed to have lost but there are so many positives from the game.
“It’s a huge step for their confidence. Now what we have to do is finish off well in these last two games.
“PSG will be a big test for us again but we will back here again for the final group game. We want to achieve what we set out to achieve which is to have European football after Christmas.
“If we can do that then it’s a great marker and measure of how the players are progressing.”
No Comments yet