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Tuesday, 01 April 2014

Manchester United v Bayern Munich: Can United defeat the German giants?


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Manchester United and Bayern Munich are two of the biggest names in world football. Between them they have been crowned kings of Europe eight times, their national leagues 44 times and have huge fanbases around the globe. But despite their dominance, meetings between the two have been few and far between. 

Tonight's clash at the Theatre of Dreams will be only the 10th time the two have squared off in competitive football and the tale of the tape is slightly shaded by the Germans.

Manchester United came out on top in their last meeting (3-2 in 2010 - although Bayern progressed via away goals) but that has been their only triumph other than the memorable Champions League and Treble winning moment in 1999. Barring those two victories, United have managed four draws and lost three. 

But looking at the form of the two sides this season there's not too many people who will put United down for a win in either of the two legs. 

David Moyes was Sir Alex Ferguson's Chosen One to take over the Premier League champions, but the transition period has been anything but smooth. United have lost their invincibility at home, they've struggled for form and are in danger of not even qualifying for the Europa League. Their only hope of being in Europe's elite competition is by winning the Champions League this season. 

Standing in their way of the impossible dream are current Champions League holders and German destroyers Bayern Munich. Pep Guardiola was given huge boots to fill himself in the summer as he took over the Treble-winning side, but he has taken the bull by the horn and made them an even better team. Bayern have already wrapped up the title, have yet to taste defeat in the Bundesliga and have only dropped six points all season.

The Germans start tonight's game as overwhelming favourites with their best price at 1/2 at many bookmakers. United are 13/2 at Bet Fair with the draw at 15/4 at Bet365. 

United will be without the cup-tied Juan Mata, the injured Robin van Persie and the suspended Patrice Evra. Ferdinand, Evans and Smalling have also only just come back from injuries and both Buttner and Rafael are doubts too. 

Bayern's only absence is midfielder Thiago Alcantara meaning Riberry, Robben and co will be given licence to run United ragged. 

This could be Manchester United's last European home game for a while. The fans and the players will know that and Old Trafford will be a cauldron of noise as the capacity crowd try to be the 12th man for Moyes' men. They managed to upset the odds against Olympiakos last time round, but this is Bayern Munich, the Champions League holders. This is a different kettle of fish altogether.

Can United keep the Germans out and give themselves a fighting chance of reaching the semi-finals in the return leg? I wouldn't bet on it.

Calling all United fans: Do you think you can get a positive result tonight or do you fear the worst? Whatever your view, we'd love to hear from you.

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Antony Melvin

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