With the Champions League last 16 kicking off this week, Bayern Munich must wait until next week to resume their bid to reclaim the European crown.
After finishing second to PSG on goal difference in Group B, Bayern were at risk of facing another European giant in the last 16 but they perhaps would argue they received one of the best draws available when they were pitted against Turkish side Besiktas – but they cannot afford to underestimate their opponents. Check out these Bayern vs Besiktas betting odds ahead of the game.
Besiktas were one of the surprise packages of the Champions League group stages as they joined Tottenham, Liverpool and Barcelona as the only clubs to go unbeaten as they topped Group G.
While on paper at least, their group didn’t contain another true heavyweight in European club football, the likes of Porto, Monaco and Red Bull Leipzig would all have fancied themselves to progress in the competition over their Turkish counterparts.
Winning four of six group stage games, including impressive away wins against each member of Group G, Besiktas illustrated that they have a formula especially away from home which can secure positive results.
With only five goals conceded as well in their six games, Besiktas had one of the best defensive records in the competition entering the last 16 and they will be a tough nut to crack.
Bayern didn’t strengthen themselves in January despite securing a deal for Leon Goretzka in the summer, but their star-studded squad should have the beating of Besiktas over two legs.
That’s not to say they didn’t attempt to bolster their squad, as Bayern are believed to have seen a bid for Gareth Bale rejected by Real Madrid last month.
After reaching the Champions League final three times between 2010 and 2013, winning the competition in the 2012/13 season, Bayern have been unable to reach the final in each of the last four years, being knocked out in the semi-finals on three occasions during that spell.
Having parted company with Carlo Ancelotti earlier in the season and replacing him with iconic former coach Jupp Heyenckes until the end of the season, Bayern will be hoping the veteran coach enjoying his third spell at the club as manager can add to his eight major honours won with Bayern as a coach, including the Champions League in 2012/13.
In what was his final game as a coach before retiring, Heyenckes won the Champions League with Bayern a year on after losing in such dramatic fashion to Chelsea, and going into a similar situation this season with his time as a manager almost certainly coming to an end after the current campaign, this could be the perfect storm for Bayern to recapture the greatest prize in European club competition – but they cannot afford to look past Besiktas who have a history of being one of Europe’s finest party-poopers in recent years.