Felix Magath is hoping his injury-hit Bayern Munich side can seal Group B with two matches to spare when they face Sporting at the Fußball Arena.
But Magath is aware of the dangers of complacency. The Bavarian outfit also won their opening three group games last season but lost to Juventus on Matchday 4 and eventually finished the section second. It meant a last-16 tie with Milan, who sailed through to the quarter-finals.
Magath knows a victory against Sporting will build an unassailable lead at the top of Group B.
“We want all three points,” he said. “It’s crucial we finish top to ensure we’re at home in the second leg of the last 16. We have to see the bigger picture.”
Magath has to contend with a host of injuries as well as the suspension of Schweinsteiger following his dismissal in the victory in Portugal.
I have no idea who will come in for Schweinsteiger,” the coach admitted. “He’s difficult to replace.” Matters aren’t helped by the lon-term injury to Owen Hargreaves and with Sebastian Deisler only fit enough for a place on the bench.
Lukas Podolski will be absent but in Roy Makaay, Bayern have a striker playing at the top of his game.
“Makaay is very important for us,” said Magath. “He scores, he holds the ball up, he tracks back – he can do anything at the moment.”
Sporting counterpart Paulo Bento is looking for his players to bounce back from their disappointing 3-3 draw against struggling Beira-Mar at the weekend.
“What doesn’t kill us can only make us stronger,” was Bento’s response to suggestions that Sporting will be short of confidence tonight.
“We’re the same team we’ve been all season – we just didn’t have any luck against Beira-Mar. We won’t change our system for Bayern, and we’ll look to pressure them and enforce our style of play.”
“We play to win. There’s no place for calculations in football.”
Oliver Kahn; Willy Sagnol, Martín Demichelis, Daniel Van Buyten, Philipp Lahm; Mark van Bommel, Andreas Ottl, Hasan Salihamidži?; Claudio Pizarro, Roy Makaay, Roque Santa Cruz.?
Ricardo; Marco Caneira, Anderson Polga, Tonel, Rodrigo Tello; Carlos Paredes, Nani, João Moutinho, Carlos Martins; Yannick Djaló, Liedson.