Can Van Gaal complete turnaround against Lyon?
Bayern Munich face one of their biggest games in recent history this week when they tackle Lyon in the Champions League semi-final second leg.
Carrying a 1-0 lead from the first game, reaching the final would be a personal triumph for their manager Louis Van Gaal after his career looked to have stalled a few years ago.
After a trophy laded spell with Ajax and then Barcelona in the 1990s Van Gaal took charge of the Dutch national team and infamously failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup.
Unsuccessful second spells at Ajax and Barca followed before an 11th place finish with minnows AZ Alkmaar in 2007 seemingly put Van Gall on the road to mediocrity.
But after the fans pleaded with him to stay on the following season he took the unfashionable Dutch club to the title. With his stock on the rise again Bayern came calling last summer, giving him another shot at the big time. He hasn’t looked back.
The Bundesliga has taken a back seat in recent seasons with clubs from Spain, Italy and especially England hogging the Champions League limelight. But while clubs in those leagues are swimming in a sea of debt the German League is one of the most sensibly run divisions in Europe, leaving Bayern primed to conquer once more.
They face a tough trip to Lyon first though, who are playing in their first ever Champions League semi-final, and will have to make do without suspended play-maker Franck Ribery.
But that crucial advantage from the first game and Lyon’s failure to grab an away goal, means Van Gall holds all the aces for me. The Champions League odds show this.
I fancy them to make it through to the final in Hamburg where they have the small matter of Inter or Barcelona awaiting them.
One thing is for sure though, if Bayern do win the tournament, Van Gaal will be able to settle down and watch the current Dutch side attempt to live up to their World Cup 2010 odds without any sense of regret at all.