Manchester United enter the return leg of their Champions League quarter final against Bayern Munich on Wednesday as underdogs, despite a credible draw at Old Trafford in last week’s first leg (19:45 BST, live on Sky Sports).
Bayern dominated the ball, but struggled to create a huge number of clear cut opportunities against a United defence who kept their shape and worked hard to cut off potential passing lanes. Nemanja Vidic’s header was equalised by Bastian Schweinsteiger in a 1-1 draw.
The Bavarians come into the second leg on the back of a disappointing 1-0 loss away to Augsburg that ended their undefeated Bundesliga record. They have, however, already been crowned league champions, with a current total of 78 points from 25 wins, three draws and one defeat.
Pep Guardiola’s side progressed to the Champions League knockout stages by topping Group D ahead of Manchester City, with 15 points from five wins and one defeat. They then defeated Arsenal 3-1 on aggregate in the round of 16, winning 2-0 in London and drawing 1-1 in Munich. The holders remain the bookies’ favourites for this year’s competition.
Guardiola, a two-time Champions League winner with Barcelona, has changed the focus of Bayern Munich’s game from the swift, counter-attacking style utilised by his predecessor Jupp Heynckes to a more possession-based approach in which control is paramount. Bayern still play attractive football, but are not quite as thrilling in transition as last year’s incarnation.
With a good variety of forward and attacking midfield options (Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Mario Goetze, Mario Mandzukic, Thomas Muller), strong central midfielders (Schweinsteiger, Javi Martinez) and defenders (David Alaba, Dante) and one of the best goalkeepers in world football (Manuel Neuer), Bayern certainly make for formidable opponents.
Guardiola will be without the suspended Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez, and injured Diego Contento (ankle), Holger Badstuber (knee) and Thiago Alcantara (knee) for this second leg.
Man Utd travel to Germany on the back of a comprehensive 4-0 win away to Newcastle on Saturday, which was their fourth victory in their last six matches in all competitions. They are sixth in the Premier League table with 57 points from 17 wins, six draws and 10 defeats.
The Red Devils made it through to the Champions League knockout stages by winning Group A ahead of Bayer Leverkusen, with 14 points from four wins and two draws. They overcame a 2-0 first leg deficit to defeat Olympiakos 3-2 on aggregate in the round of 16.
David Moyes will have been very happy with the performance of his side in the win over Newcastle. The attacking midfield trio of Adnan Januzaj, Juan Mata and Shinji Kagawa were vibrant, inventive and effective, with involvement in each of the four goals, Darren Fletcher (pictured above) covered plenty of ground in midfield and the defence were rarely troubled.
It was United’s biggest league victory of the season and a result that means they continue to boast the best away record in the division. Their lack of dynamism in midfield and pace in defence has proved less of an impediment to success on their travels, where they are not expected to make the running to the same degree they are at Old Trafford.
Moyes will definitely be without the cup-tied Mata and injured Robin Van Persie (knee) for this second leg, while Johnny Evans (calf), Rafael (thigh), Ryan Giggs (groin) and Wayne Rooney (toe) will all face late fitness tests.
Bayern Munich vs Man Utd Betting Tips
Bayern eliminated United on away goals following a 4-4 aggregate draw when they last met in this competition in 2010 and also triumphed when they met in the quarter finals of 2001. The teams shared two draws in the group stage of the 2001/02 competition, while United did, of course, defeat Bayern with two late goals in the final of 1999.
Man Utd did as good as job as probably could have been expected in the first leg at Old Trafford, but come into the second leg knowing that they have to score at least once if they are to have a chance of making it through to the semi-finals. They are likely to start cautiously, but will have to open up as the match progresses.
Bayern Munich are one of the best sides at keeping possession in Europe (indeed, they recorded a 74.1% share in the first leg) and can afford to be patient and wait for gaps to open up in the away defence. The holders are an excellent team and should be heavily fancied to progress to the final four at United’s expense.
- The pricing rightfully reflects United’s status as underdogs, but opens up an opportunity to back them on an Asian Handicap. Bayern will likely look to control the match and do just enough to progress, so back Man Utd +2 on an Asian Handicap @ best odds of 10/13 with BetVictor. The bet pays out if they win, draw or lose by a single goal; your stake is returned if they lose by two goals.
- Bet on the second half to be the highest scoring half @ 11/10 with BetVictor or Paddy Power.