Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich take a comfortable lead to Besiktas on Wednesday where fan favourite Franck Ribery and ageing coach Jupp Heynckes can make a case for contract extensions by securing a Champions League quarter-final berth.
The 5-0 first-leg advantage will ease Bayern’s worries over injuries which have ruled out Arjen Robben with a pinched nerve, adding to a list of longer-term absentees including striker Kingsley Coman, ‘keeper Manuel Neuer and midfielder Corentin Tolisso.
club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said Robben’s exclusion was “just a precaution”.
Fiery French winger Ribery showed he still has a point to make when he scored twice in the 6-0 trouncing of Hamburg at the weekend, one of which capped a run where he dribbled past four defenders.
“I’m still hungry and I want to stay at Bayern for as long as possible,” said Ribery, a month short of his 35th birthday.
“But they have given me no indication that I should expect anything, it isn’t easy,” said the player who burst onto the international scene at the 2006 Germany World Cup.
Ribery’s contract is up on June 30, as is the contract of the 72-year-old Heynckes, whom club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge suggested was annoyed at the speculation over his future.
“I never said that I’d be stopping on June 30,” Heynckes said last week.
“He’s reversed the roles on us,” Rummenigge quipped back as the team prepared for the trip to Turkey.
“We are the ones worrying now. I spoke about a successor, but I never spoke about a date for that successor,” said Rummenigge, who is thought to be lining up Thomas Tuchel.
Heynckes won the Champions League with Bayern before being pushed aside to bring in Pep Guardiola, and has been a success since his return to galvanise the side that had lost its way under Carlo Ancelotti.
Besiktas, making their debut in the knockout stages of the Champions League, face a near-impossible task after Bayern club captain Thomas Mueller and Robert Lewandowski both netted twice as they thrashed the 10-man Turks in the first leg with the now-injured Coman adding the fifth.