Old Trafford’s day of reckoning as mighty Bavarians storm in

Old Trafford’s day of reckoning as mighty Bavarians storm in

Old Trafford’s day of reckoning as mighty Bavarians storm in

They say the condition for a miracle is difficulty, the condition for a great miracle is impossibility. But, that cannot, surely, strike a chord within your mortal mind, not when the subject of the matter is Man United. You could actually be forgiven for wondering what knife Fußball-Club Bayern München e.V.  will use to skin the Red Devils alive, when the European champions make one of the soccer capitals of the world their next port of call.

Agony will be biting tonight as it spreads through many emotional beings perched at the Theatre of Dreams. If this affair was during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign, it would have been the grandfather of all battles. But no, the red behemoth has been crippled, and the destroyers are in town. Surely, the home fans’ veins and capillaries could just be about to bolt from the skin. If only this was a bad dream.

No side wanted to be drawn against Josep Guardiola i Sala’s free-scoring Bavarians. Die Roten have bordered on ruthless this season, their artillery blasting many sides into smithereens. The five-time continental champions have already wrapped up their 24th Bundesliga title, and are aiming to be the first side to defend the Champions League trophy. Adrenalin rush.

Bayern fear no one. Not Real Madrid, not Paris St. Germain, and certainly not Barcelona. They will crush them. Ribery, Robben, Kroos, Schweinsteiger, et al, have been on blistering form. This is the best team on the continent, better than last season’s, bettered by, currently, the best manager around. Possession football has found its abode at Allianz Arena, rival keepers have found their palms heated up.

The Bavarians know they have the easiest passage into the semis, unlike Barcelona who have a home tie against La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid, Chelsea who face a tricky PSG or even Real Madrid, who have to overcome their last season conquerors in Borussia Dortmund. The writing appears to be on the wall. The days of the Mancunian red tower appear to be numbered. Unless the English record holders do one thing.

Believe.

That is what has been missing domestically, that is what has given Man United a 100% record at home in Europe. Knockout football doesn’t give too much respect to form, as luck can attest. Think of the 2005 final when AC Milan had Liverpool by the balls, the 1999 final that has been dubbed one of the greatest comebacks, between, you guessed it Munich and United, or even Chelsea lifting the Big Ears trophy.

These are teams that were being run rings around but they did the unfathomable. They won. When it was least expected, they won. When they had been written off, they won. That’s the spirit David Moyes has to rekindle from his seemingly lethargic side. They can win it.

The Glaswegian has to set up his side to be effective on the counter attack. The Bavarians will definitely play possession. Moyes has to instruct his fullbacks Smalling and Buttner not to give space to Ribery and Robben. He has to use his wide men Valencia and Welbeck or Nani, as the spring boards to attack. He has to bench Fellaini and use Michael Carrick with Giggs or Fletcher. He has to ensure he doesn’t concede. Period.

It looks like a mismatch, but this is England’s best against German’s best. Can the Red Devils hack it? It may seem impossible, but that’s the condition they need for their miracle.

Probable Line up

Man United: De Gea; Smalling, Jones, Vidic, Buttner; Carrick, Giggs; Welbeck, Kagawa, Valencia; Rooney

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

 Tuesday 1st April

9:45pm Man United – Bayern Munich, Old Trafford, SS3

9:45pm Barcelona – Atletico Madrid, Camp Nou, SS5

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