Manchester United is a club in shambles. Besieged by the instability of a departing manager for the first time in 27 fruitful years, the transition to the post-Ferguson era has been every bit as strenuous as Manchester United cynics could have envisaged, and perhaps even hoped.
In a season that can be classified as a categorical failure, there is reprieve to be found in United's encouraging performances on the European stage. Few billed the team as clear-cut winners of a difficult group containing Real Sociedad, Bayer Leverkusen and Shakhtar Donetsk. However, a five-goal mauling of the Bundesliga's second place team sent a warning to the competition - Manchester United were here to play.
With a Champions League league placing all but out of reach, and elimination from all of England's subsidiary cups, it is fair to say the reigning Premier League champions have bitterly disappointed on most fronts. Even the record signing of Juan Mata from Chelsea wasn't enough to turn their fortunes around.
And this is precisely why Manchester United should be delighted with their Champions League tie with Bayern Munich.
Clearly, the Red Devils are entering the latter stages of Europe's most prestigious tournament with a significantly weaker squad than their seven counterparts. Thus, there is a preordained expectation of a heavy defeat to the ruthless Bayern side, one that may go down into the annals as one of the most dominant in the sport's history.
Be under no illusion, Manchester United will head into the tie with little to no pressure to succeed. And so, David Moyes has been handed a gilt-edged opportunity to provide the club with something to shout about this season.
Despite their outlandish records, Bayern have been occasionally exposed as mortals and Arsenal have provided football with a blueprint highlighting what it takes to score against the reigning Champions League winners. Some form of a result against the German giants is distinctly achievable.
Moreover, this is the first Champions League game thus far in which Manchester United aren't burdened by the expectation of success. There is nothing to lose and all to gain for the Red Devils. A win will not only lay the club in good stead for a decent 2014/15, but will feature as a shining light in what has been a woeful 8 months.
In Moyes' hands lies the ability to spark much-needed self-belief within the squad whilst saving his own job, a position that, if reports are to be believed, lies precariously in the balance.
Redemption may be sought in the face of adversity. Rather than exercise damage control, Moyes and his team must grab hold of the opportunity to resurrect club spirits and protect his position at the club.
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