In trying to overcome those inevitable Champions League jitters (an experience one oddly comes to miss after a couple of barren seasons), Bayern fans will inevitably turn to videos of their last home victory against tonight’s opponents Real Madrid.
Back in 2007, Bayern came into the second leg having lost 3-2 at the Bernabeu and took just over nine seconds to break the deadlock, with a defensive error from los Merengues allowing Hasan Salihamidzic to feed Roy Makaay (remember him?) near the penalty spot for an easy tap-in.
The Bavarian outfit went on to win the game 2-1 and progress on away goals, though their faithful might not be as confident this time round: Madrid are bwin’s favourites to go through at 19/50, whilst Bayern are quoted to do so at 2/1.
Despite having won all their Champions League games at the Allianz Arena (including a 7-0 mauling of FC Basel in the second round), Bayern (33/20) are also playing second fiddle to Madrid in bwin’s 3Way football betting market, as the visitors are priced at 31/20 to win tonight. The draw is at 12/5.
One factor which might weigh against Bayern is their recent attacking profligacy – understandably blunt against Mainz (where a number of second-string players were deployed), Jupp Heynckes’ men were disappointing in the final third in last week’s 1-0 defeat against title rivals Borussia Dortmund, with Arjen Robben’s penalty miss nowhere near as serious as the shocking error he made in front of an unguarded goal in the dying seconds.
Bayern might be too afraid of conceding to be able to harm Madrid, making the odds of 5/2 on them not scoring seem like a reasonable punt.
The Germans could, moreover, be overwhelmed in midfield tonight: forced to attack against a side known for being lethal on the counter, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben risk being cut-off from the rest of their team-mates, as they generally tend to play quite high up the park.
Bwin’s odds seem to reflect this: Bayern are quoted at 57/100 to score under 1.5 goals but 5/4 to score at least twice.
It is consequently difficult to see Bayern winning this one – if anything because the inertia of the draw may favour Madrid, which will perhaps prevent them from going all out for the win.
It might have been easier for Bayern to play the return leg at the Allianz (as they did against Basel and Marseille), where they could have fully exploited the home factor to reach a set target, say a 2-0 victory.
As it is, by starting at the Allianz, Bayern might be too afraid of conceding to be able to harm Madrid, making the odds of 5/2 on them not scoring seem like a reasonable punt.
Should Bayern adopt a cautious approach then it might be the second half before Jose Mourinho’s men make a decisive breakthrough.
It is late on when Bayern could tire of building up play from the back and Real look for a useful away goal on one of their murderous counter-attacks.
A Madrid second half win after a half-time draw is, therefore, quoted at an eye-grabbing 11/2. Otherwise, punters could be tempted by a Real win in a close game with less than three goals, an eventuality priced at a convenient 5/1.
Real Madrid will benefit from having a combative player like Sami Khedira shielding his defence – will Bayern have the same sort of protection?
Meanwhile, with Daniel Van Buyten’s injury, Bayern’s defence looks weak when it comes to facing Real’s counterattacks: Philip Lahm can sometimes be defensively suspect, what will he be able to do when faced with the marauding Cristiano Ronaldo?
The Portuguese winger is on top form, having netted a hat-trick against Atletico in the Madrid derby, and could come up with either the final goal (4/1) or the killer pass tonight.
Otherwise, Karim Benzema has been brilliant this season, netting 17 times in La Liga and stealing Gonzalo Higuain’s starting berth from under the Argentine’s nose.
His 7/1 odds of scoring the last goal are inviting, though some might be tempted to put a fiver down on bwin’s odds of a 1-0 away win thanks to a Benzema strike at 45/1.
Though Bayern are not favourites here, this does not mean that they cannot pull off a surprise: with 12 European goals to his name this season, Mario Gomez could always grab that all-decisive winning goal should Madrid fail to make an impression.
He is priced at 9/2 to score last and has enough Bundesliga collateral (28, to be precise) to prove that he is good for it.
That said, Bayern’s recent form in front of goal suggests it is Mourinho’s men who will emerge with a crucial first-leg lead to take bake to the Bernabeu.
Recommended Bet: Real Madrid to win a game with less than 2.5 goals @ 5/1
Outside bet: Karim Benzema to net the winner in a 1-0 Real Madrid win @ 45/1
For a full goalscorer betting preview of Bayern Munich v Real Madrid, click here.
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