9. Bayern Munich
Bayern still aren’t gelling in the Bundesliga, but there hasn’t been much wrong with Niko Kovac’s team in the Champions League. The winners in 2013 wrapped up Group E after taking a point off Ajax in Amsterdam, despite seeing Thomas Muller sent off.
Going down to 10 men would hamstring most teams. Fortunately, Die Roten can count on a No. 9 as ruthless as Robert Lewandowski.
The prolific Polish powerhouse was on target twice against Ajax. His brace put the 30-year-old ahead of some elite names in the competition’s scoring charts:
Lewandowski in this sort of form is good enough to take Bayern all the way to the trophy. His efforts will be helped by dynamic wingers Arjen Robben, Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry.
The only reason Bayern don’t rank higher is the uncertainty surrounding Kovac. The former Eintracht Frankfurt chief has had his tactics questioned amid squabbles with key players, including James Rodriguez and Franck Ribery.
Issues in the dugout are the main reason a team this strong find themselves nine points off the pace in their own division. Even so, the rest of the Champions League had better hope this fractious group isn’t settled and content by the time the knockout phase begins.