Congratulations to those Manchester City supporters who have tickets to the game. The Allianz Arena has sold out every game for the past couple of seasons and is a spectacular stadium to go too.
As for Bayern Munich, they will not be frightened by big spending Manchester City when they encounter the English Premier League side at the Allianz Arena this evening.
Although finishing 3rd in the Bundesliga last season and requiring a playoff game versus FC Copenhagen to qualify for the group stages of this season’s Champions League tournament, Bayern Munich are a class above the Louis van Gaal side of last season.
Jupp Heynckes came in over the summer for his second spell in charge of the Bavarians after guiding Bayer Leverkusen to runners up spot in the German league last season. The 66-year old Borussia Mönchengladbach legend made defensive signings his priority over the summer. The most notable was 2010 German World Cup goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who went for 18€ million from Schalke 04. Manchester City fans will also know Munich signed Jerome Boateng too.
It is the Bayern Munich defence that is setting records this season. Their 3-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen at the weekend meant the 22-times Bundesliga champions have kept a club record nine consecutive clean sheets in all competitions. Six of these have come domestically, since conceding to Heynckes former team as a player, Borussia Mönchengladbach in a 1-0 defeat on his debut. Munich have not conceded nor dropped points under Heynckes since and lead the Bundesliga by 2 points after Matchday 7.
Despite picking up a knock in their first Champions League group game two weeks ago, forcing him to be substituted at half time and miss the following weekend’s domestic game, Mario Gomez is the club’s leading goalscorer with 10 goals in all competitions; 8 in the league. Franck Ribery is the only other player to have scored more than 2 goals in the league for FCB, who have already seen 8 different players find the back of the net this season.
Bayern Munich are looking to improve on last season’s disappointing second round elimination in the Champions League ahead of the final being played at the Allianz Arena in May. They made a great start with a 2-0 victory in Villarreal.
They will be lining up in the 4-2-3-1 formation, and here is a guide to some of the players who make it possible for the German side to get one over on Manchester City:
Manuel Neuer – The German shot stopper has only conceded 1 goal in his first 10 games at Bayern Munich. In truth though, he hasn’t been tested greatly during his run of 9 consecutive clean sheets. Manchester City will be a sterner test for the Bundesliga’s most expensive goalkeeper; a step up from facing the likes of SC Freiburg, Kaiserslautern and HSV.
Philipp Lahm – Has moved backed to his more comfortable position at left back. The Bayern Munich and Germany captain’s biggest moment this season was releasing his autobiography, Der feine Unterschied – Wie man heute Spitzenfussballer wird [The fine line – How to become a top professional], aged 27. In his book, he badmouthed Jürgen Klinsmann and Rudi Völler which helped him sell a few extra copies after the media put it in the spotlight. On the pitch, Lahm is still a very good player.
Holger Badstuber – After an unconvincing season under Louis van Gaal, the 15-time German international centre back for Bayern has made a solid start to the season. Part of the reason why Neuer has not been tested often to date, Badstuber is Heynckes’ first choice in the middle, with the coach rotating between Jerome Boateng and Daniel van Buyten as his partner.
Daniel van Buyten – It will be one of two former Manchester City defenders partnering Holger Badstuber on Tuesday. The 6’5” Belgian played at the weekend and scored a long range free kick in a 3-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen. As with any tall centre back, van Buyten lacks pace and agility. Perhaps something that limited his Premier League action. He should be able to do a job against Edin Dzeko, but put him up against Sergio Aguero and Heynckes is asking for problems. The alternative would be to play Jerome Boateng, but the summer signing has so far shown a lack of consistency, and it was his indecision that was at fault for Bayern’s solo goal against this season.
Bastian Schweinsteiger – The engine of this midfield. Playing in his 10th season with the Bayern Munich first team, Bastian Schweinsteiger sits in front of the back four, mainly alongside Luiz Gustavo this season, but also Anatoliy Tymoshchuk. When in possession, Schweinsteiger is a great threat going forward as he has great technique and vision. Delivers a great cross, as he did several times in the 2006 World Cup from the left wing. His current girlfriend, or WAG, Sarah Brandner will be popular amongst English football fans.
Luiz Gustavo – Having recently made his Brazil debut, Luiz Gustavo started life as a left back at 1899 Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga. Since January he was been playing in Munich and is playing in his better-suited defensive midfield role. A great ball winner, he fancies himself shooting from long range but so far only has 4 league goals to his name.
Arjen Robben – Another season blighted by injuries, Arjen Robben made a cameo appearance at the weekend and bagged the final goal of the game just before the final whistle blew. English football fans should know how good he is from his time at Chelsea. Give him the ball down the right wing and he often punishes defences. He delivers a good inswinging cross from that position, but his favourite trick is to cut in on the left back across the penalty area and blast the ball home on his left foot. He times his runs very well, as you may recall in the World Cup final alone, so Manchester City should not try playing the offside trap against this player. To play the attacking Gael Clichy would be ill-advised also. Robben needs to be marked closely at all times, as Jose Mourinho was well-aware during the 2010 Champions League final. Will Mancini do the same?
Thomas Müller – The World Cup 2010 joint-top goalscorer can play in any of the three attacking midfield roles in this team. He plays on the right wing when Arjen Robben is not fit, with Toni Kroos in the centre. Should the flying Dutchman be fit for this Champions League clash, expect Müller to play behind the lone striker. A clever player, perhaps most-known in England for his 2 goals against their national team during the last World Cup. Müller gets in space, creates goals and scores them. 27 goals and 28 assists in his 79 Bundesliga games to be precise. He also knows how to win a penalty, which once again will make it an ill-advised decision for Mancini to select a careless player like Clichy. He finds space in the six yard box, and is also the provider of cutbacks into the six yard box after his oft-runs inside the penalty area.
Franck Ribery – The most in-form player in the Bundesliga in recent weeks. Franck Ribery has been ghosting past defenders and tearing defences apart for fun recently. He has setup a goal in each of his previous three Bundesliga matches, notably both in Bayern’s 2-0 victory at Schalke. He scored twice in the match before. Yes, he can be ill-tempered, and we’ve all seen his scar. But Manchester City plays will be safe to keep the ball away from Ribery if they can. He has the beating of most players in the German league. Tuesday will show how well England’s finest can match up to the French star.
Mario Gomez – 8 goals in 8 Champions League games last season. 8 goals in 6 Bundesliga games this season. It’s hard to recall one that he hasn’t scored either from the penalty spot or inside the six yard box. Gomez is that classic striker who knows where the space is and how to find the net. Ignore any rumours that Chelsea want the German striker. Bayern won’t sell him and he doesn’t fit the Blues formation anyway. With the likes of the aforementioned Schweinsteiger, Robben, Müller and Ribery to set him up, Gomez doesn’t need to do much else. And he doesn’t. He’s a striker who simply finds the space and then the back of the net when someone puts the ball on a plate for him. 109 goals in 188 Bundesliga games isn’t a bad record…