Manchester United vs Bayern Munich: Rooney-less United look to overturn Bayern tie
By Daniel Alston.
It’s make or break for Manchester United’s season tonight, as they welcome Bayern Munich to Old Trafford knowing nothing less than an aggregate victory in this Champion’s League quarter final will do.
It’s been a tough eight days for United. The 2-1 defeat in the first-leg coupled with the injury to talisman Wayne Rooney was swiftly followed by a home loss to title rivals Chelsea, who now top the Premiership table. It was always going to be a tough week or so, but successive defeats have now seen the Red Devils go from favourites to retain their domestic crown and to reach the Champion’s League final yet again, to underdogs in a two trophy charge.
And for all those clinging to the hope of a miraculous recovery from Rooney to change his side’s fate this evening, it’s time to start praying that plan B is more effective than it was at the weekend.
Sir Alex Ferguson all but dashed such hopes of a return to the starting line-up for England’s 24-year old hotshot, although conceded that he may have to bow to pleading from the man himself and grant him a place on the bench.
“He’s got no chance. We’ve made good progress with the lad – the medical team have done fantastic – but I’m not prepared to take a risk on a player that is not 100% fit. I don’t think he’ll be on the bench, although he may talk me into it. It’s a difficult one.”
Otherwise, expect much the same XI as last week after no further injuries were picked up. Ferguson may be tempted to opt for Antonio Valencia on the right instead of Nani after his slightly subdued performance in the Allianz Arena. Or perhaps both could feature from the first whistle, as is the impetus on United to go for the win.
Bayern on the other hand welcome back their own wing maestro in Arjen Robben. The ex-Chelsea man infamously did a U-turn on a move to Old Trafford in 2004, and will be looking to come back and haunt his old suitors.
Knowing a draw would be enough to send his team through, Bayern boss Louis Van Gaal will be looking for a similar performance from his midfield as in the first-leg. Wary of the 12th man that is the Old Trafford home support however, it is doubtful he will play defensive; the likes of Ribery, Olic and Altintop the likely suspects of bagging a priceless away goal.
So can Manchester United get their season back on track? An aggregate win tonight will put them through to the semi-finals against either Bordeaux or Lyon, and would restore any confidence that the last two defeats may have consumed. Oh, and Wayne Rooney should be back for almost all of those remaining fixtures.
What do you think will happen in tonight’s game? Can United turn it around, or do you think Bayern are strong enough to get through at Old Trafford? Feel free to leave your views below…
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