Bayern Munich should tell Manchester United - all is not lost.
If you cast your mind back to the 2006-07 Bundesliga season, Bayern Munich finished in a miserable fourth place in the league.
This was a drop in standards from the Bavarians. Bayern Munich’s synonymy with German football looked like it was ever so slightly withering away, as a Mario Gomez driven Stuttgart side sat top of the table and Bayern did not qualify for the Champions League.
This was disastrous for a team who belong in that top bracket of clubs. It’s a select group of clubs who dominate global football, clubs who have an irresistible, unquestionable stature. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester United fall into this select category (maybe Liverpool some years ago).
Bayern recognised they had to re-build, so they spent big the following summer. Straight from the shop window of the World Cup- Franck Ribery, Miroslav Klose and Luca Toni were brought in and the league title was reclaimed the following season.
They have been on an upward trajectory since and the Bayern Munich monopoly is more evident than ever in German football right now.
David Moyes and Manchester United should be following the steps Bayern took and reinvest massively in the summer. United are equal, in the sense that they can afford to miss out on Champions League football and still compete for as Sir Alex Ferguson would say, ‘the top, top players’, because of the allure the Manchester United crest has.
However, a Champions League quarter-final tie awaits against a Bayern Munich side who have wrapped up the league early in record amount of games, have a squad only United can fantasise about and are guided by the mercurial Pep Guardiola.
As if the mesmeric treble winning team of last season wasn’t efficient enough, Guardiola has now elevated this team into something even better.
There’s typically Guardiola pressing that has been added to the mix of astute, technical footballing ability, which has created an even more fearsome team that hunt the ball down like a set of starving hounds. Then getting the ball back is a more difficult beast entirely.
Manchester United have been notoriously slow starters this season. Against Manchester City, they crumbled after conceding in the opening minute as heads dropped quicker than when a child realises they are not actually being taken to Disney Land, but instead being conned into a painful trip to the dentist.
Aston Villa also scored early against United, however quality prevailed in the end, thanks to a Wayne Rooney double to reignite his teammates.
When Bayern Munich come to town on Tuesday, the route back into the game will not be as easily trodden. So, United, if they are to stand any chance must be alert and concentrated from the beginning. On the grander scheme of things, if they can go to the Allianz Arena still in the tie, Moyes will have done well.
Toni Kroos, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Arjen Robben, Javi Martinez and Franck Ribery are surely going to eclipse the midfield options of United, as they spurn out chance after chance. So, David de Gea, one of United’s silver linings this season is going to have to put in a big performance.
Danny Welbeck needs to start because of his work-rate and his ability to run in behind the defence, an option United will need to use to provide respite from the attacking onslaught. Everyone remembers Welbeck’s performance against Real Madrid, proof he can perform on the grandest stage of them all.
Flickers of hope rest with Rooney. Perhaps the only world-class player available for Manchester United on Tuesday. But, Bayern have many more of these top bracket players.
Alex Buttner must be having nightmares about the forthcoming Robben, a dangerous player who can terrorise any full back. The suspension of the declining Patrice Evra exposes United’s weaknesses of this season- an underwhelming number of quality players in the right positions.
So, whilst Manchester United have as much chance as a bluebottle entangled in a spiders web, Bayern’s gradual reinvigoration from a sub-standard season provides hope that United can re-build and compete at some point in the not so distant future seasons.
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