Bayern’s season on the line as hopeful United seek upset

Bayern’s season on the line as hopeful United seek upset

Bayern’s season on the line as hopeful United seek upset

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David Moyes, have a peek at Stamford Bridge. There’s nothing impossible in football. Any one Bayern Munich could be scratching themselves bald. Just how did the Bavarians not come out of Old Trafford with a scathing victory, after all the stars had aligned for them? The, supposedly, weakest team on the block, Man United, stopped the mighty Die Roten on their tracks after employing a superb ultra-defensive mode in the 1-1 draw last week. Determination.

Tonight, however, things could just become elephant for the Mancunian giants as the red behemoth knows it must score a goal. It won’t be easy, neither is it incomprehensible. Pep Guardiola and his Bavarian giants will throw complacency to the wind, as the cauldron that is Allianz Arena will become unforgiving if the five-time European champions do not journey fourth into the semis.

The suspensions handed to Javi Martinez and Bastian Schweinsteiger, mean Guardiola’s starting XI will be easy to choose. Mario Mandzukic, who caused havoc after he replaced Thomas Muller in the first leg, could be up for a start, and so would Dante, who’ll replace Martinez at the back. Mario Gotze could come in for Schweinsteiger, with Toni Kroos and Philip Lahm maintaining their positions in front of the back four.

For United, Shinji Kagawa has to play. He’s lit up the red behemoth’s fans in recent weeks and his artistry will be required if the likes of David Welbeck and Wayne Rooney are to inflict a potent venom. Perhaps the Red Devils’ fans will be delighted that Marouane Fellaini isn’t on board, what with his ball watching resulting in Bayern’s equalizer. That said, who will Moyes go for to partner Michael Carrick? I’d pick Phil Jones over Ryan Giggs, Tom Cleverley or Darren Fletcher.

Possession football will suit United, especially if the hosts play their tiki taka through the middle, and the visitors launch their counters. The Old Trafford outfit is pacy on the wings, but has to be disciplined and take their chances. A goal in Manuel Neuer’s net will send shockwaves rippling through Munich. And probably that’s what the game will need to live up to last night’s sizzling affairs.

This could be the match that Moyes uses to defy his status, just like Jose Mourinho did with Porto against the Red Devils. Bayern have seemed invincible this season, running away with the Bundesliga with seven matches to spare and obliterating opponents almost with ease, but the Bavarians haven’t won in their last three games across all competitions. It may be too soon to press the panic button, but the season will be a disappointment if a weak United can manage an upset.

Over to Spain and Barcelona’s star could continue diminishing. Ever since the Bavarians stomped the European yard, Lionel Messi and Co. have been heading for the deep blue. Last week’s 1-1 draw against La Liga table toppers, Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou, means Diego Simeone’s Los Rojiblancos could be favorites to go to the semis.

If Atletico can manage a 0-0 draw, as their lowest score, against the Blaugrana, just like they did in the league, they’ll be seen as the dark horses of the last four. That is assuming United don’t qualify. It means that Tata Martino may have to be direct in his approach, or this season could be his last in Catalonia.

Probable Bayern-United Lineups

Bayern: Neuer; Rafinha, Boateng, Dante, Alaba; Kroos, Lahm; Robben, Gotze, Ribery; Mandzukic

Man U: De Gea; Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Jones, Carrick; Valencia, Kagawa, Welbeck; Rooney

Wednesday 9th April

9:45pm Bayern Munich – Man United, Allianz Arena, SS3

9:45pm Atletico Madrid – Barcelona, Vicente Calderon, SS5

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