Bayern Munich Vs Manchester United – Big Game Preview and Team News

By on March 30, 2010

bayern_munchenBy Dan Salisbury-Jones

Manchester United are in Germany tonight, hoping to make it an incredible 17 consecutive undefeated away games in the Champions League. Bayern Munich Vs Manchester United follows the Reds equally glamorous sounding last 16 fixture against AC Milan.

Despite the daunting sound of ‘Bayern Munich away,’ the Germans have struggled to retain their status as 1 of Europe’s most elite. The lowest point coming in 2007 when they finished 4th in the Bundesliga, thus failing to even qualify for Champions League. They are though attempting desperately to compete at the very top again, signings such as Arjen Robben, Luca Toni and Franck Ribery highlighting that desire.

Munich of course is entrenched in United’s history, the Airport being the scene of the most devastating  moment and Bayern being the opposition for most joyful in 1999.

Indeed it was around the turn of the millennium when the rivalry between the 2 clubs was at its peak, in fact all the previous 7 meetings between the sides were between 1998-2002, and despite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s last ditch winner in the 1999 Final being the most publicised since, United have never actually beat Bayern away from the Camp Nou.

United had never won in the San Siro either, and with Wayne Rooney back, the Reds will be confident of breaking another duck tonight in Munich. This will be United’s first competitive visit to the Allianz Arena, which sports a spectacular exterior that changes colour, tonight it will be red but when Bayern’s housemates 1860 Munich are at home it is blue. Cant quite see that happening in Manchester any time soon.

Rio Ferdinand, Rooney’s fellow absentee from Saturday’s comprehensive victory is also available tonight and should start alongside Nemanja Vidic.

Sir Alex Ferguson last week stated his desire to get Owen Hargreaves involved in first team duties and so withdrew him from Solskjaer’s reserve side. There was no sign of him at the Reebok on Saturday though and so it is a mystery as to when he will make his first team come back. It would be fitting for him to have a place on the bench for tonight’s game against his old club.

Ji-Sung Park sat the weekend’s game out as a substitute but the in-form Korean would expect to come back into first team action tonight as part of United’s probable 5 man midfield. He will be asked to do a similar job on Marc van Bommel to what he did to Andrea Pirlo against Milan.

Apart from the long term absences of Michael Owen, Wes Brown, Anderson, and John O’Shea. Injury and suspension news is fantastic going into this for United. The same cannot be said for the home side, who’s preparations have been somewhat hampered by both.

Bayern Munich’s unmistakable Bastian Schweinsteiger is suspended for this 1st leg and the German’s (perhaps more crucially) will likely be without Arjen Robben, who picked up a calf problem in the defeat to VfB Stuttgart at the weekend and did not train yesterday. Fellow winger, Franck Ribery also has injury issues but the feeling is he is more likely to feature than the ex-Chelsea and Real Madrid man.

Calf problems seem to be a feature of Bayern’s physio staff’s workload, as they are nurturing striker Mario Gomez back from a ruptured calf. He trained on Sunday and could feature on the bench. United fans should look out for a masked Argentine in Demichelis, who came on as a sub at the weekend following a four week lay off, due to facial injuries collected on international duty.

So plenty of questions over what side will line up tonight against United, there are also questions over the German’s recent form. They surrendered top spot in the Bundesliga with a 2-1 defeat to Stuttgart at the weekend, a result which followed a 3-1 defeat to Frankfurt as part of their latest form which reads a measly 2 wins in 6 matches.

The return of Demichelis should go some way to ensuring Bayern have a less leaky defence, Robben and Gomez share 1st place in Bayern’s top goal scorer list this season and that stat just goes to show how vital they are. United will have to be even more wary of both if they are fully fit for the 2nd leg.

After heaping praise on Gary Neville’s recent performance’s, the right back will likely have his toughest test of the season tonight and how he comes through this may well make up Fabio Capello’s mind for World Cup selection.

All the talk in preparation for the game is about United scoring, Sir Alex Ferguson has highlighted the importance of getting an away goal, whilst Louis van Gaal has made it a priority to keep United out tonight in front of his own fans, Marc van Bommel emphasised that fact.

“Scoring away from home gives you a big advantage. We must try to do that. When I came here with Aberdeen in ‘83 we drew 0-0 and everybody was delighted, apart from me. I just sensed the danger. Although we managed to go through, Bayern scored twice on our ground. So scoring is going to be important.”

Sir Alex Ferguson

“We actually don’t need to win. A goalless draw would be a decent result,”

Mark van Bommel

It may be then that we get a rather cagey affair, with United probably flooding the midfield and Bayern already making noises about how cautious they are planning to be.

Elsewhere this evening, Lauren Blanc takes his Bordeaux side North to Lyon in the an all French Quarter Final. The winner of that game will meet the winners of Bayern and United in the Semi.

United are in imperious form and with Bayern’s injury problems, this tie could even be as good as settled tonight. It’s a great opportunity for Sir Alex’s side to put 1 foot in that Semi-Final.

With this in mind, coupled with the manager’s comments, would you gamble and play both Berbatov and Rooney? or stick to the 5 man midfield European formula that has worked so well? How will tonight pan out? Let us at Football-talk and fellow football fans around the world know your thoughts in the comments box below…

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