UEFA Champions League Preview: Viktoria Plzen v Bayern Munich
By Football News
Bayern Munich visit Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday knowing a win could see them qualify for the knock-out stages of the UEFA Champions League.
The defending champions sit three points clear of nearest rivals Manchester City at the top of Group D after three consecutive wins, scoring 11 goals and conceding just one.
Franck Ribery's form has been key to Bayern's success so far, the France international winger is the German side's top scorer in the tournament having found the net three times.
Two of those goals came in Bayern's 5-0 destruction over Plzen at the Allianz Arena last month as Mario Gotze, Bastian Schweinsteiger and David Alaba also scoring in a comprehensive win.
Manager Pep Guardiola will look for his Bayern side to replicate that performance, well aware that the Bundesliga champions will qualify for the round of 16 if they take all three points and Manchester City beat CSKA Moscow.
Bayern should be boosted by the prospective returns of winger Arjen Robben and midfielder Toni Kroos, who both missed Saturday's 2-1 win over Hoffenheim with groin injuries.
Defender Dante is still a doubt due to a lack of fitness, while Xherdan Shaqiri and Claudio Pizarro (thigh), Thiago Alcantara (ankle) and Holger Badstuber (knee) are all unavailable.
Plzen - competing in the competition for only the second time - are on the brink of elimination and need a shock win to have a realistic chance of reaching the last 16.
The Czech outfit have shipped 11 goals in three straight defeats and have scored in just one game, a 3-2 defeat to CSKA.
Attacker Tomas Wagner could be crucial if Plzen are to get a result after finding the net eight times in all competitions this season, while Daniel Kolar and Stanislav Tecl - six goals each - may also play a pivotal role.
Pavel Vrba's men have no major injury worries, with defender David Limbersky poised to make his Champions League comeback after recovering from a thigh injury.