First meets second when Sporting take on Bayern Munich in Lisbon, although both coaches keen to play down the importance of tonight’s match.
Sporting lie second after their win over Internazionale Milano on Matchday 1, but coach Paulo Bento does not believe tonight’s game will be decisive in determining the final group standings.
“It will be an important match against a quality team who currently lead our group, but this is not a game that will decide anything,” he said.
Bento is expected to bring in Leandro Romagnoli, Pontus Farnerud and Ronny at the expense of Rodrigo Tello, João Alves and Yannick Djaló.
“There could be new leaders in the group, and that is our wish,” he added.
“To achieve that, we must make Bayern suffer. We have to be strong in defence, get possession and know what we need to do when we lose the ball. We must make them play where they cannot harm us. Having said that, a less positive outcome, a draw, would still leave us in second place which gives us a good chance.”
With Bayern enjoying a 100% record thus far, a third victory will put Felix Magath’s team on the verge of qualification for the knockout stages. However, the Bayern coach was still unsure whether to adopt an adventurous three-man attack of Makaay, Podolski and Pizarro, or whether to opt for a more cautious approach.
“I am very optimistic,” he said. “We can live with a draw but if we win we are almost through.”
“We are not obliged to set the tone for the game,” the coach added.
“We don’t have to play with three up front – but it is an option.”
Sporting: ? Ricardo; Abel, Anderson Polga, Tonel, Marco Caneira; Carlos Paredes; Nani, Leandro Romagnoli, João Moutinho; Liedson, Alecsandro.
Bayern: ? Oliver Kahn; Willy Sagnol, Daniel Van Buyten, Lucio, Philipp Lahm; Mark van Bommel, Andreas Ottl, Martín Demichelis/Claudio Pizarro, Bastian Schweinsteiger; Roy Makaay, Lukas Podolski.
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