Villarreal v Bayern Munich preview

While the Spaniards, who finished fourth in La Liga last season,

host Germany’s record champions, who finished a disappointing third

in the Bundesliga, the group’s other two participants Manchester

City and Napoli will be locking horns in England in one of the most

competitive Champions League groups. With little to choose between

all four clubs as they take their places in the starting blocks,

avoiding a false start is a priority. “Spanish football is the best

that Europe has to offer at the moment,” said Bayern’s chairman

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge to reporters before Munich flew out to

Valencia on Tuesday. “We know that the final takes place in Munich

and we have got to pay attention that such a dream does not turn

into a nightmare. “We need to concentrate to ensure that we don’t

experience any setback.” The prospect of taking part – and winning

– the final in their own stadium is the driving force behind

Bayern’s motivation while Villarreal are just keen to enjoy the

occasion alongside three of European football’s giants. “Playing in

this competition is the biggest stimulus a footballer could have

nowadays,” said their coach Juan Carlos Garrido. “We know that we

have been dealt a difficult group with three of the best sides in

the world right now, but this is the Champions League. “We face

three clubs who attract an immense media interest and with players

from the highest level. “For Villarreal, it is magnificent to be

able to play in this competition against teams with such history.

“Playing against Bayern is a great motivation.” However, Garrido

insists his side will not only be making up the numbers tomorrow

night. “We are going to have to fight for every ball and get the

fans on our side,” he added. “We know that they are a good team and

we are going to have to work very hard because this is a crucial

game. “To keep the three points would be a major coup and it would

make our intentions clear that we can qualify.” A 2-2 draw with

Sevilla saw Villarreal get their first point of the season in La

Liga at the weekend while Bayern warmed up for tomorrow night’s

clash with a 7-0 win over Freiburg. However, their coach Jupp

Heynckes is reading little into that victory. Although that

emphatic result will have “given us a boost”, Heynckes has warned

tomorrow’s opponents will certainly provide a much sterner test.

“European games cannot be compared with the Bundesliga,” he said.

Bayern will be without Arjen Robben, whose groin injury is proving

to be more problematic than first feared. It is likely Heynckes

will name the same starting XI as he did on Saturday with in-form

Mario Gomez, who has scored seven goals in his last two games,

leading the attack with Franck Ribery and Thomas Muller in support.

Garrido is without the suspended Borja Valero, who was sent off in

the qualifying match against Odense, while Cristian Zapata is also

part of the squad after missing the Sevilla game due to a late

return from international duty with Colombia.