Champions League Preview: Bayern Munich - Manchester United

Germans hoping to extinguish ghosts of 1999...
Kick-off: Tuesday, March 30, 2010. 19:45 GMT
Allianz Arena, Munich

When the draw for the Champions League quarter final was made, a groan would have gone up from the Bayern Munich corner; a tie against one of Europe's in-form teams was not what they had wanted.

The Germans host Manchester United on Tuesday hoping to exact revenge for the 1999 Champions League final - one of European football's most iconic matches, and one where United robbed Bayern with two injury time goals, which on the balance of play were undeserved.

Bayern boss Louis Van Gaal claimed on Monday that his side are not scared of United, despite Sir Alex Ferguson's men hoping to secure their eighth straight victory.

"We can manage because we also have quality. Ferguson and his players should be scared of that." boasted Van Gaal, but it will most likely be an attempt to deflect pressure of his players who are no means in the same form as their opponents.

Two defeats in their last two games leave Bayern second in the Bundesliga, and is not the preparation they will have wanted going into a tricky tie against United.

Not only that, but Van Gaal is sweating on the fitness of some of his key men: namely Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben who will be assessed closer to kick-off.

United, in contrast are almost at full-strength, with Wayne Rooney rested for the weekend's 4-0 demolition of Bolton, and will be keen to add to the 34 goals he has already scored this season.

United are in irresistible form this season and fear no-one, despite Van Gaal's words of caution - and Bayern will be keen to make home advantage count.

Especially as their away form leaves a lot to be desired (four draws and three defeats from 13 games in the league this season) and United's home form, dropping only four points domestically, has been devastating.

An away goal or two and this tie could be over before it's begun.


Manchester United

Mar 6:  Wolves 0-1 Man Utd (Premier League)
Mar 10: Man Utd 4-0 Milan (Champions League)
Mar 14:  Man Utd 3-0 Fulham (Premier League)
Mar 21: Man Utd 2-1 Liverpool (Premier League)
Mar 27:  Bolton 0-4 Man Utd (Premier League)

Bayern Munich

Mar 9: Fiorentina 3-2 Bayern Munich (Champions League)
Mar 6: FC Köln  1-1  Bayern Munich  (Bundesliga) 
Mar 13: Bayern Munich 2-1 SC Freiburg (Bundesliga)  
Mar 20: Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 Bayern Munich (Bundesliga) 
Mar 27: Bayern Munich 1-2 VfB Stuttgart  (Bundesliga)


Bayern Munich

Arjen Robben (calf) and Franck Ribery (ankle) are the big doubts for the home side, with Van Gaal unable to confirm to reporters in his pre-match conference if the pair would feature.

Van Gaal is already without the suspended Bastian Schweinsteiger, and could be looking at a significantly weakend side on Tuesday.

"We need a player like Robben against a team like Manchester United," he said.

Last starting XI (v Stuttgart): Butt, Badstuber, van Buyten, Contento, Lahm, van Bommel, Schweinsteiger, Pranjic, Olic, Muller, Klose.

Manchester United

Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand both return to the squad after missing Saturday's win over Bolton.

Rooney was rested due toa  foot injury and Ferdinand has overcome a groin problem, and ix expected to partner Nemanja Vidic at the centre of defence.

Despite progress with his knee injury, Owen Hargreaves is still not expected to feature.

Last starting XI (v Bolton): Van der Sar, Evra, Vidic, Neville, Jonny Evans, Fletcher, Valencia, Giggs, Scholes, Nani, Berbatov.


Manchester United

The form of Wayne Rooney has been lauded greatly in the footballing press, with the development of the striker's abilities in the six-yard box widely regarded as the final piece in the Rooney jigsaw puzzle.

A total of 34 goals would seem to agree with this assesment, and United will look again to him when they face Bayern Munich. Two Rooney goals in the first leg - away at the San Siro - against Milan set United up for a convincing knockout phase win.

Something similar in Munich and United would be looking at a semi-final already.

Bayern Munich

It is almost a wonder that Franck Ribery is still at Bayern Munich given the stature of the clubs lining up to secure his signature. Real Madrid, Manchester United and Barcelona have all been linked with the Frenchman over the past few years, but he has stuck it out in Germany, despite little European success.

Rumours again are linking the tricky winger with a move away from the club this summer and should Bayern lose out to United in the Chamions League quarter finals, he may well be tempted to finally depart.

But a decent performance from Ribery - assuming he is fit to play - could give him the chance to win the Champions League title sooner rather than later.


United will have been the happier of the two side the the draw was made, mainly becaue they avoided fellow favourites Barcelona, but Bayern will be no push-overs.

In fact, Bayern's form against United since the infamous 1999 final is good - two wins and two draws in Champions League ties - give them the edge statistically.

But on current form United look the favourites and with Rooney refreshed after his weekend off, will give Bayern a real test. With United's desperation to make up for last season's Champions League final defeat to Barcelona, expect them to be too much for an indifferent Bayern side this time around.

Bayern 1-3 Manchester United

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