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.