As David Moyes leads his troops out tonight at Old Trafford against reigning Champions Bayern Munich in the quarter finals of the Champions League, the Scot would be under pressure, in what surely is his toughest assignment as a manager till date. Manchester United, with all their history, known for fighting till the end would relish the biggest of stages in Europe’s elite competition to leave a mark in their glorious history.
The Red Devils however face a familiar foe in Bayern, the Bavarians look insurmountable at the moment under the leadership of Pep Guardiola. The Germans have already snapped up their 24th Bundesliga Title in record time and the Spanish manager has reinstated that his side would be more ruthless to retain their Champions League crown.
Can United script the unfathomable or will the Bavarians be too hot for the home side at the vociferous Old Trafford faithful or will Bayern just steamroll past them in a resounding first leg victory? We here at TheHardTackle provide our readers on the pre match tactical analysis on where the match can be won by either teams.
How the teams will line-up:
With Dante suspended for the clash, Javi Martinez will start in the centre back slot alongside Jerome Boateng in the heart of the defense. David Alaba and Rafinha will be Guardiola’s two full backs for the Bavarians. Bastian Schweinstiger, Toni Kroos and Phillip Lahm will hold fort in Midfield while Ribery, Robben and Mandzukic complete the 4-3-3 setup. Lahm might also play as right back to compensate for Mario Gotze as the anchorman in the middle.
For Manchester United, Alexander Buttner has the biggest of stages to shine, playing in the left back slot as Patrice Evra is out through a suspension. Both Carrick and Fletcher should start in the central midfield while Kagawa should be expected to play as the central attacking midfielder in the number ten role. Anton Valencia and Danny Welbeck, with their running in the channels should provide balance to Wayne Rooney, the latter who would drop deep and his the line in the encounter.
How can Bayern beat United
Much like the tie against Arsenal, Guardiola’s micro tactics and attention to detail should give Bayern the edge over Manchester United. With Ribery and Robben playing as inverted wingers, both Alaba and Lahm will drift inside, complementing the wingers who will stay as wide as possible and stretch the play (as the snap below depicts).
This would allow Bayern to keep an unsymmetrical shape and overload United’s midfield to keep possession and dominate the proceedings. Kroos will try to make his late runs into the box to make sure Bayern can shoot at sight and also press the United backline in their own half. The game may well be decided thanks to Buttner’s inexperience in the grandest of stages, as Lahm and Ribery will run forays across the youngster while Rafael’s overzealous and reckless defending can cost United the game on the flanks.
How can United upset Bayern:
Even though Guardiola’s side looks tough to beat, they certainly have a weakness which was clearly exposed by Arsenal’s directness in patches. Both Alaba and Rafinha leave back space behind them and if United get to reclaim possession, they can hit the Germans on the counter.
Valencia and Welbeck with their runs in between the channels can challenge Bayern’s domination in the middle. This was clearly Arsene Wenger’s style of thinking which was well put on display by Oxlade Chamberlin’s pace as Dante and Lahm both were caught off guard thanks to the raw pace of the Englishman. Thus if United are to cause an upset, it would be on the flanks (as shown by the above snap).
Having said the above, the two great rivals take the field tonight with lots at stake, but talking of predictions, Bayern thanks to their tactical and technical superiority should ease past their English counterparts by a 3-0 scoreline.