Champions League: AS Roma vs Bayern Munich - Preview
Roma coach Rudi Garcia has promised Bayern Munich a red-hot welcome when the Bundesliga giants arrive in the Italian capital looking to spoil the Giallorossi`s great start to the Champions League.
Romw: Roma coach Rudi Garcia has promised Bayern Munich a red-hot welcome when the Bundesliga giants arrive in the Italian capital looking to spoil the Giallorossi`s great start to the Champions League.
Roma warmed up for Tuesday`s Group E clash with a resounding 3-0 defeat of Chievo on Saturday and although Pep Guardiola`s side routed Werder Bremen 6-0, Garcia wants a packed-out Stadio Olimpico to give the hosts something extra.
"Bayern are ready and they will be on a high but we`re counting on a red hot atmosphere at the Olimpico. We can`t wait, it will be a fantastic game," Garcia said after Saturday`s win, which left Roma just a point adrift of Serie A leaders Juventus.
Roma have made a remarkable return to the Champions League following a three-year absence, following up a 5-1 defeat of CSKA Moscow with a creditable 1-1 draw away to Manchester City.
Bayern have registered back-to-back wins over the same opposition and, after their weekend waltz in the Bundesliga, Guardiola`s men should be brimming with confidence.
Guardiola won a record 14 trophies in his two-season spell with Barcelona, including a treble of the Liga, Spanish Cup and Champions League in his first season in charge.
After a sabbatical year, Guardiola took over Bayern and found immediate success, leading the Germans to the Bundesliga title, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.
"It wasn`t easy for Guardiola to go to Bayern but he`s a top coach: he`s had lots of success and he`ll continue to be successful," added Garcia.
"I`ve heard people say it`s easy to get Barcelona playing well but I think much of it was down to Guardiola."
But while Garcia was quick to praise Guardiola`s credentials, the 43-year-old Spaniard may have mixed emotions on his return to the Olimpico.
As a player, Guardiola spent a season at Roma (2002-2003) that was notably marked by a positive test for the banned drug nandrolone, leading to a four-month ban.
It took two appeals and several years before he was cleared of any wrongdoing, pre-empting the end of his playing career with Al Ahli of Qatar and Mexican side Dorados, as well as his well documented, and far more impressive coaching career.
Bayern`s 6-0 win over struggling Bremen moved them four points clear of Borussia Moenchengladbach at the top of Germany`s top flight, but striker Thomas Mueller expects a far tighter game against Roma.
"It won`t be decided quickly, but will be the sort of game which hangs in the balance," Mueller said Sunday following training.
"The main thing is to take at least a point, so that we stay top in the group."
While Roma`s strong point has traditionally been a formidable attack, that has often been accompanied by a leaky defence.
Now, under Garcia, things are tighter at the back. Roma have conceded only four times in seven Serie A games this season, with their 14 goals coming courtesy of no fewer than eight players, Mattia Destro top-scoring so far with three goals.
Italy international Destro has now scored in his past three Serie A starts and said: "We try to impose our game on every match we play. Against Bayern it should be a great game in front of our home fans.
"Whatever happens, it will be spectacular."
Garcia notably rested Gervinho on Saturday, and the Ivorian`s pace could prove key for Roma in what is expected to be a high-intensity start to the game on Tuesday.
Doubts remain, however, over the availability of forward Juan Iturbe although Roma are hoping he recovers in time from a knee injury.