Manchester City welcome defending Champions League holders Bayern Munich at the Etihad tonight.
The Bavarian giants, who have dropped just two points in the Bundesliga so far this season, are on a splendid form both domestically and in Europe.
Tonight’s match will turn out as a battlefield with Pep Guardiola and Manuel Pellegrini using their tactical master plan to outwit the other. The latter has never beaten his old nemesis, Pep Guardiola during his stint as manager of Villarreal, Malaga or Real Madrid when Pep was in charge of Barcelona.
City’s performances in the Premier League have been inconsistent so far with the team already suffering two defeats, but the Sky Blues were declared favourite’s to win the title after their 4-1 emphatic win over rivals Manchester United.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men will give out all they can as they to look forward to progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time in history. City opened their campaign with a 3-0 victory over Viktoria Plzen while Bayern won by the same scoreline to CSKA Moscow a fortnight ago.
Ahead of the game, City star Fernandinho had said: “It would be a huge statement to the football world if we could beat the best team in Europe, one of the best teams in the world. The projection would be much higher than beating United. That is why a win for us would be so important.”
In the City line up, Joe Hart should start in goal with Kompany and Nastasic forming the central defensive partnership.
Pablo Zabaleta and Alexander Kolarov look likely to operate down the flanks, with the latter given in charge of keeping Franck Ribery quiet on the pitch. Former Bayern Munich defender, Martin Demichilis is sidelined with a knee injury.
In the midfield zone, Fernandinho should act as a defensive midfielder alongside Samir Nasri and Yaya Toure. Midfield maestro David Silva has resumed training after he sustained a minor injury during the world Cup qualifier last month.
Sergio Aguero, who was rested for match against Aston Villa because of a minor knock is expected to start today alongside Alvaro Negredo and pacy right winger Jesus Navas.
Coming to the Bayern squad, Holger Badstuber (knee), Javi Martinez (groin), Thiago Alcantara (knee) have been sidelined. Bayern’s attacking game play will be carried out through Franck Ribery, whose pace, skill and precise passing will play a huge part in tonight’s thriller.
The French international described as an excellent dribbler with great control will certainly punish City if given half a chance. Robben will also play a big role as he will be able to create a lot of opportunities for his teammates. Both the teams have elite and solid rock defence.
City must make the most of their chances if they stand any chance of winning the match as Bayern’s game plan will be completely on ball possession.
Probable line ups:
Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Kolarov, Fernandinho; Navas, Yaya Toure, Nasri, Aguero, Negredo.
Bayern Munich: Neuer, Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Alaba, Schweinsteiger, Kroos; Robben, Müller, Ribery, Mandzukic.
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