Anderson Talisca leads a trio of Brazilians in a Besiktas side trying to make a splash with a Champions League knockout of Bayern Munich
The UEFA Champions League nowadays is widely regarded as the biggest club competition in world football. One team that is determined to cause a big upset in this year’s edition is Besiktas, as the Turkish giants are set to collide with five-time winners Bayern Munich in the Last 16.
Leading their front-line will be Brazilian duo Anderson Talisca and Vagner Love, without forgetting the experience of former Barcelona utility-man Adriano at the back. So can the Super Lig representatives rise to the occasion?
Bayern Munich are almost always among the favorites to claim Europe’s top trophy, and it is no different this year as the Germans have received a confidence boost with Jupp Heynckes replacing out of favor Italian tactician Carlo Ancelotti at the helm. The 2013 treble winner’s return to the Bavarians was highlighted with a stunning 3-1 victory over Paris Saint Germain in the group stages, as opposed to the away defeat at the Parc Des Princes, where Ancelotti’s side looked absolutely clueless.
In brief, this is a Bayern team that plays modern football while retaining its German identity, something it had lost under the command of the Italian. This Bayern looks as healthy as ever, having scored 21 goals in their last six encounters, to build a comfortable lead with a margin of 19 points, on top of the Bundesliga.
On the other hand, Besiktas took full advantage of their group stage status as the underdogs, to convincingly finish on top ahead of the likes of FC Porto, RB Leipzig and AS Monaco. An achievement that may not have been possible without Anderson Talisca, whose four goals were crucial.
The 24-year-old has been on fire this season, mustering a total of 14 goals across all competitions, including seven in his last seven encounters. But the biggest challenge lays ahead, as Bayern will be harder than any previous opposition he has come across. It is worth pointing out that Talisca has already scored against the German club, with a stunning free kick back in 2016, when Pep Guardiola was still their manager.
Meanwhile, 2007 Copa América winner Vagner Love is experiencing a very successful season in Turkey at the age of 33, having already scored 13 goals. After his successful spell at Alanyaspor, Besiktas decided to put their faith in him and give the veteran another opportunity at a higher level. The Brazilian striker has so far found the net on two different occasions for his new club.
Talking of veterans, Besiktas have put their faith in another one. Adriano Correia will be asked to put his Barcelona experience into good use, as the Turkish defense will certainly need it against one of the deadliest attacks in the world.
Brazil’s technical staff will be keeping a close watch on the game, with eyes on Anderson Talisca, who has reportedly on Tite’s radar, as the Brazil manager looks to scout yet another third option for the number nine role. This is the golden opportunity for the former Bahia star to grab.