Bayern have edge on Reds owing to good form: Hamann

MUNICH • Having played for both clubs, Dietmar Hamann is well qualified to pass judgment on the state of affairs between Bayern Munich and Liverpool.

So Jurgen Klopp's players should heed his warning when he says the Reds are running into the six-time defending German champions "at the wrong time".

Ahead of the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at the Allianz Arena today, the former Germany midfielder told the Liverpool Echo: "It has been a tough first season for Munich boss Niko Kovac, but he has kept his cool, even when fans were calling for his head in the autumn.

"Fast forward a few months and they are looking unbeatable, with a new belief pulsing through the Bavarian ranks and favourites to retain their title.

"Their confidence will contrast with the mood at Liverpool and I'll take Bayern in another tight, low-scoring encounter."

Hamann's belief also stems from Bayern's impressive domestic form - they have won 12 of their past 13 league games - to move to the top of the Bundesliga for the first time since September.

Klopp is also wary of the Bavarian giants, despite holding them to a goal-less draw in the first leg at Anfield, telling the club website: "It's a much more positive moment for Bayern. They are top of the table and winning games comfortably again.

"But, if we are at our best, we can be exceptional."

With the onus on Bayern to attack at home, it could favour the visitors' pace on the break, although Liverpool will need to improve on their travels in Europe, having lost all three away fixtures in the Champions League group phase this season.

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson said: "(Bayern) will need to come out a bit more, their fans will demand they try to create.

"It's all about trying to keep them out first and foremost and then hopefully, we can take the chances we get."

Fellow defender Virgil van Dijk, who missed the first leg through suspension, also believes his team will "definitely have our own moments because of the quality we have" even though it will be a "very hard game".

He added: "It is going to be an exciting tie... we need to be up for a big fight because they are probably going to come all in, especially in the beginning. It is going to be tough and we need to do better than we did in the last away games.

"We will need to be patient, ready for what is coming. There will be times when we are going to be under pressure because they have a lot of quality."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 13, 2019, with the headline 'Bayern have edge on Reds owing to good form: Hamann'. Print Edition | Subscribe