BERLIN: Defending champions Bayern Munich will face a test of their resilience to defend the Champions League crown without top scorer Robert Lewandowski at home to Paris Saint Germain early on Thursday morning.
A knee injury forced Lewandowski to be sidelined from both quarter-finals at the Allianz Arena and Paris early next Wednesday morning.
Of the 103 goals Bayern have scored in the Bundesliga or Champions League this season, Lewandowski has contributed 46 of them through goals or assists.
However Bayern proved this weekend they can win a big game without him.
Leon Goretzka scored in Saturday’s 1-0 victory against second-placed RB Leipzig, giving Bayern a seven-point lead in the Bundesliga.
“Obviously they would be better off if there was Lewandowski,” Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann said of Bayern. “But they are world class and there are smart players who can replace them.”
After being used against Leipzig, Lewandowski’s replacement Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is expected to make his third Champions League appearance against his former club.
The 32-year-old from Cameroon left PSG after coming on as a substitute for Bayern in last season’s Champions League final.
“The expectations are huge,” Choupo-Moting said of the rivalry against his former club.
“It was a new edition of last year’s final.
“Maybe no one expected us to meet again this fast.”