United vs Bayern – The Rematch
By Andy Taylor.
Manchester United will arrive at the Allianz Arena tonight to take on Bayern Munich, buoyed by Saturday’s demolition of Bolton, and with Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney back to bolster the team. Bayern aren’t so lucky; Arjen Robben aggravated his groin injury in last weekends defeat to Stuttgart and Frank Ribery is still struggling with an ankle injury. Ribery out of the two is looking more likely to make the game tonight and with his future still undecided, it could be the perfect opportunity to showcase his already well known talents.
It’s United’s first trip to Bayern’s massively impressive stadium; a stadium that can technically change it’s outfit more times a night than the wife, thanks to the outer-shell being able to be illuminated in whatever colour they see fit, although it’s usually red for Bayern’s home games. Unlike the old Olympic Stadium, there is no running track to distance the players from the fans, like back at Old Trafford the fans will be right on top of the players and should make the atmosphere one to remember.
Bayern have looked in great form all season until the last couple of weeks, losing their last two games and slipping to second in the table, while United have scored nine goals in three games as they hit top gear for the run in to what looks like being the most exciting title chase for years.
Wayne Rooney was kept out of the win at Bolton as a precaution due to bruising on his foot, and Rio was kept out of the same game after feeling a twinge in his groin during training. Sir Alex will be glad to have them both back for tonight and Rooney’s return will mean that Berbatov is again relegated to the bench after scoring twice in Saturday’s victory; two goals that personally I never saw coming. In the previous couple of games Berbatov had looked a new man, chasing the ball, making space and looking like he was finally earning his mega wages, then on Saturday, the frustrating and lethargic player that has infuriated the United faithful was back. Yes he was in the right place at the right time for the two goals, but the amount of time he spent meandering around the pitch looking uninterested felt like 89 out of the 90 minutes. Most United fans would have rather kept Tevez in the summer than still have Berbatov at Old Trafford. Yes he has skill and vision, but the apparent lack of commitment has not endeared him to the faithful. Most think he will be lucky to still be wearing the red shirt come next season.
It was eleven years ago when Manchester United pipped Bayern to the trophy in a thrilling final only won with two injury time goals from Sheringham and Solskjaer. George Best had already left the ground, convinced the game had been lost when the equalizer had gone in, I don’t think any fan will make the same mistake for as long as United are still in the competition. Bayern Munich will probably view this match as revenge for that defeat. Most people think they will play defensively in the first leg so that United don’t get the vital away goal and then try to nick a goal or two back at Old Trafford next week, while United will be aiming to get at least a goal to take back with them.
Darren Fletcher will be the most determined man on the pitch, aiming to play in the Final after last years chance was so harshly taken away from him. Ryan Giggs will just be aiming to put another trophy in the cabinet, already English football’s most decorated player, plus it may be his, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville’s last chance to win the big prize.
So all eyes will be on the Allianz Arena tonight and the the Emirates tomorrow, where Arsenal play Barcelona, who beat them in the final in 2006. Add a possible title decider in on Saturday at Old Trafford with Chelsea as the visitors. Hopefully this will be a week of football to remember, especially for United.
Do you think Man Utd will triumph over Bayern Munich? Who will gain the upper hand in the title showdown? Please leave your comments below..
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