Empty stadium awaits as CSKA Moscow take on heavyweights Bayern
29 September 2014, 08:10
Moscow - Playing five-times winners Bayern Munich in the Champions League should have been one of the highlights of CSKA Moscow's season but unfortunately for the Russian champions, they will have to play the Group E contest behind closed doors on Tuesday.
CSKA were ordered to play the match in an empty arena by European soccer's governing body UEFA following the poor behaviour of their fans against Viktoria Plzen last December.
After being thrashed 5-1 by AS Roma in their opening match two weeks ago, CSKA now have the daunting task of taking on European heavyweights Bayern without the backing of their boisterous supporters.
The last time they met at the Khimki Arena, Bayern were emphatic 3-1 winners at the same stage a year ago.
Leonid Slutsky will be hoping his men reproduce their domestic form, having won seven of their nine Russian Premier League matches this season, on Tuesday but admitted his side need to overcome their defensive shortcomings after leaking three goals in their 4-3 win over Ural Yekaterinenburg.
"The team was unbalanced and we looked very weak in defence," Slutsky told reporters.
To add to their woes, in-form striker Seydou Doumbia did not train all week after picking up a minor injury in their win over Lokomotiv Moscow last weekend.
While Slutsky is hopeful that Doumbia will be in the starting line-up against Bayern, he will have to make do without midfielders Pontus Wernbloom and Alan Dzagoev who are both serving three-match European bans.
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Bundesliga champions Bayern got their campaign off to a winning start, beating Manchester City 1-0 and will start the encounter with CSKA as overwhelming favourites, despite having a few injury problems.
The club will face the Moscow side without defender Holger Badstuber, midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger, Franck Ribery, Thiago Alcantara and Javi Martinez.
Leaders Bayern are unbeaten in the Bundesliga this season, enjoying a 2-0 win against Cologne this weekend. Pep Gaurdiola's team spent the night in Cologne before leaving for Moscow on Sunday.
Prior to last season's 1-0 semi-final first leg loss at Real Madrid, Bayern were undefeated in 10 UEFA Champions League away games.
Meanwhile, CSKA have won just one and lost five of their last seven UEFA competition home games in Moscow.