Fans at the Jan Breydelstadion on Wednesday evening can expect a "spectacular" UEFA Champions League game, according to Club Brugge KV coach Jan Ceulemans. Having qualified for the UEFA Cup, the pressure is off the Belgian champions while FC Bayern München are determined to secure the win that could see them top Group A.
"It should be a spectacular game," said Ceulemans, whose team have six points from five matches so far. "It's much more than a friendly as this is Champions League football in front of more than 25,000 spectators and we need to put on a show. They are here for the victory and both sides will go for it."
Bayern have booked their ticket to the knockout rounds but are keen to win Group A and ensure a home second leg in the last 16. Coach Felix Magath said: "It's important we have the second leg in Munich as that's a big advantage. All the teams still in the competition will be difficult to play so it's important we beat Brugge. I'll be sending out my best side."
The Bundesliga leaders currently top the section ahead of Juventus on goal difference. With head-to-head results between the two clubs equal, Bayern need only match the scoreline obtained by the Italian outfit at SK Rapid Wien to stay first.
"We're starting on the basis that Juve will win," continued Magath. "Brugge are stronger than Rapid and, while we'll keep an eye on events in Austria, we need to go into the match thinking that the best thing would be to win by two goals."
Michael Ballack and Oliver Kahn are fit for the visitors after recovering from minor knocks but Lucio (cracked kneecap), Mehmet Scholl (hamstring) and Willy Sagnol (suspended) are all out. German international left-back Philipp Lahm, who made his comeback after cruciate ligament surgery in Saturday's goalless draw at VfB Stuttgart, might switch to the opposite flank in Sagnol's absence.
Ceulemans, meanwhile, is not hiding the fact that, with third place guaranteed, he is giving priority to domestic duties in Belgium. "It's no secret that the games against [KRC] Genk and [R. Excelsior] Mouscron are more important for us than the Bayern one. But we would like to put on a show for the supporters."
Several players will be rested although Ceulemans baulked at suggestions he was selecting an experimental lineup. "All the players have some experience and on paper I think it's a good team. We'll play with three central defenders and be more attacking than usual."
Marek Špilár, Günther Vanaudenaerde and Rune Lange will all start having overcome minor ailments, while Philippe Clement will drop back from his usual midfield berth to play in central defence. Croatian striker Boško Balaban, scorer of both goals in the 2-0 weekend win against KFC Germinal Beerschot Antwerpen, is given a break with 19-year-old Jeanvion Yulu-Matondo coming in on the right wing.
Weight of history
History is on the side of the hosts as Bayern have not won in Belgium since 1967 when they defeated R. Standard de Liège in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. Magath, however, says the record books hold no fear. "It was the same when we played in Austria [against Rapid] but we won there and my players are very motivated to do the same in Belgium."
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