MUNICH (AP) — Bayern Munich needs a victory over BATE Borisov to guarantee itself a first-place finish in Group F of the Champions League and to avenge an unexpected loss.
Bayern's 3-1 loss to the Belarus champions in Minsk means the German powerhouse and last season's runner-up has to wait until the final round of group games on Wednesday to secure first place. Valencia travels to Lille needing a better result than Bayern to win the group.
Both Bayern and Valencia are sure to advance and both have 10 points but Bayern has a better head-to-head record. BATE Borisov is sure to finish third and move into the Europa League. Bayern will be without central defender Holger Badstuber, who tore right-knee ligaments in the 1-1 draw against Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
"We'll do ourselves all a favor if we win this game," Bayern midfielder Thomas Mueller said. Group winners could end up getting a relatively easier opponent in the knockout stage and have the advantage of playing the second leg at home.
Bayern is leading the Bundesliga by eight points and is playing an impressive season, so coach Jupp Heynckes is trying to prevent his players form underestimating the Belarusian champions. "BATE sounds like a team you should beat by 5-0," Bayern midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger said.
But Bayern will know better after losing away. Heynckes also will be without forward Arjen Robben, who is still recovering from a muscle tear. The coach may decide to rest one or two stars but he is unlikely to take a big risk by resting most of his first-choice players.
Valencia parted company with coach Mauricio Pellegrino on Dec. 1, appointing Ernesto Valverde until the end of the season. Salvador Gonzalez will take charge of the team at Lille. Pellegrino paid the price for the club's worst league start since 1999-2000 and a 5-2 loss at home to Real Sociedad on Saturday.
Valencia defender Joao Pereira will not travel to Lille as a precaution because of lingering doubts about his recovery from a right calf strain. Defender Ricardo Costa said he hopes the match against Lille will help restore the club's image after the loss to Real Sociedad.
"A Champions League match is always special, but we are feeling a bit sad. We have to do things right," Costa said. "We didn't do things correctly at the weekend and we want to rectify that. I am sure the team will show its best side and try to get the three points."
Saturday's 0-0 home draw with Bastia was Lille's third straight league game without a win and left coach Rudi Garcia feeling frustrated with his misfiring forwards. Nolan Roux is the club's top scorer this season with only four goals in all competitions, followed by winger Dimitri Payet and forward Salomon Kalou with three each.
"We have to be much better in the danger zone and with our movement," Garcia said. "We have to be more deadly in front of goal and show more desire and determination. Let's keep some energy so that we don't make the same slow start on Wednesday."
Garcia has to decide whether to stick with his regular forwards or give Gianni Bruno another go in attack after he followed up his goal against BATE with another strike in the midweek League Cup win, again versus Bastia.