Roma eye Bayern knock-out blow

A home victory and a draw in the other Group E game between Basle
and CFR Cluj in Switzerland would see the Italians progress in
second place with a game to spare. Bayern have already qualified,
having won their opening four group games. “We face a very
important game,” said Roma captain Francesco Totti. “This game and
the match in Cluj will decide our qualification.” Roma travel to
Romania in a fortnight’s time. The Italians, who lie second in the
group, three points clear of Cluj and Basle, head into the
encounter in buoyant mood. Saturday’s 2-0 triumph over Udinese,
their fourth win in five league games, lifted the Giallorossi up to
fifth place in Serie A. “We have left behind us our disappointing
start to the season,” said Totti. “We are on the right path and we
want to continue in the same manner.” Bayern travel to the capital
hoping to keep up their perfect record in the competition. Last
season’s Champions League runners-up won 4-0 in Cluj last time out
to seal their progress. Louis van Gaal’s side head to Rome on a
nine-match unbeaten run in all competitions. However, last
weekend’s 1-1 draw at Bayern Leverkusen left them 14 points behind
runaway leaders Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga. “We’ve not
lost for nine games now,” said Van Gaal. “We’re playing better
football, we’re scoring goals, but it doesn’t feel good when you
fail to win. “This was another match we could have won. I think we
still have a chance of battling for the title, but Dortmund
obviously have the best chance now.” The German giants will have to
overcome the absence of the suspended Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Captain Mark van Bommel is out with a knee problem while Arjen
Robben, Ivica Olic, Holger Badstuber and Miroslav Klose are all out
injured. The only good news for Van Gaal is that Argentina centre
back Martin Demichelis and French forward Franck Ribery have
recovered from their respective injuries and will feature against
Roma. Roma coach Claudio Ranieri welcomes back Daniele De Rossi and
John Arne Riise after both missed Saturday’s game through injury.