FC Bayern Munchen
Old Trafford, England
April 7, 2010
Bayern travel to the Old Blighty with a lead that is not insurmountable by any means, but a lead never the less. Olic’s goal in the dying embers of the first leg tie has put pressure on United to respond and they must score at Old Trafford to have any chances of advancing to the semi-finals. Bayern, on the other hand, need to keep a clean sheet and they will be harbouring thoughts of the final in Madrid especially looking at the potential opposition in the semis. If Bayern could replicate their second half performance from the Allianz Arena, they would definitely be in with a good shout of eliminating the English champions.
The Red Devils have their work cut out after their poor showing in the weekend clash against Chelsea. Knives are well and truly out to butcher Berbatov as the Bulgarian once again failed to deliver when needed most.Nani and Carrick can be penciled down as sure-shot starters as they were both on the substitutes bench against Chelsea. Kiko Macheda might also get a look-in if United lack the cutting edge. The Italian teenager was lively and pretty impressive in his cameo appearance last weekend.
Injury update: Wayne Rooney will be out for the game after Sir Alex claimed he has no chance, and talking about not risking his top marksman when he is not 100% fit. John O’Shea might make it to the bench after a lengthy spell on the sidelines. The 28-year-old has not made an appearance since suffering a dead-leg in the Republic of Ireland’s world cup play-off defeat to France in November.
Probable Line up:
Van Der Sar
Rafael Vidic Ferdinand Evra
Valencia Fletcher Carrick Nani
From United’s corner: A win without conceding or a win with a clear two goal margin would see United through. Sir Alex men have had a disastrous five days and this is their opportunity to resume the normal service at Old Trafford. The home crowd can push their team to the finishing line by being vociferous and recreating the magical atmosphere ala United vs Barcelona semi final couple of years ago.
United’s recent performances have been pretty laboured. They would need to step-up the tempo of play and hit Bayern as early as possible. They will look to the pace and guile of Nani and Valencia on the wings to be their trump card, while Park would need to push on to double up as a striker more often than usual.
Berbatov would be trusted to lead the line once again in the absence of his strike partner. Fans and critics would be watching with bated breath; this might be his best opportunity to silence his detractors once and for all.
Bayern Munich will expect a hard time in front of the intimidating atmosphere of Old Trafford, though they will be confident with the one goal cushion that they currently possess. The German club has shown tremendous character in the away fixtures in this season’s champions league, which includes a terrific group stage win over Juventus and a dramatic comeback against Fiorentina in the previous round. The Germans also have a good record against United and figures say that they have only lost once to the English champions in their previous eight encounters.
Injury update: Arjen Robben is ready for the match but he will probably be kept on the bench in the first half as a precautionary method. Belgian defender Daniel van Buyten could probably miss the match due to an injured knee.
Suspension update: Bastian Schweinsteiger missed the first leg through suspension and will certainly be involved in some capacity at Old Trafford.
Squad Update: Bayern, who were without several players, will not be at close to full strength for the second leg.
Lahm Conteto Demichelis Badstuber
Mueller Van Bommel Pranjic Ribery
From Bayern Munich’s corner: Bayern only need a draw to qualify for the semi-finals and in Rooney’s absence they are likely to knock United out of the UCL. It’s only about keeping their nerves in a daunting environment which they are going to face at the Theatre of Dreams. United’s main threat will come from the wings, which means Lahm and Badstuber play an extremely important role.
Ideally, Bayern should take the game to United and neutralise the English teams’ trademark of coming out of the traps like lightning at home. But one suspects that Louis Van Gaal’s side will try to slow down the game in the opening half-hour and knock the stuffing out of the Old Trafford crowd.
United will be aware of how they were well outplayed in Germany and with Robben on the bench, Fergie will be conscious of the threat which Bayern can inject mid-way through the game.