Not a moment after the magnificent victory over Bolton, the quest for a fourth Champions League trophy and third successive final gets underway. Manchester United travel to Munich and the Allianz Arena to face Bayern Munich in the Quarter-Finals of this years competition.
Many memories for 1999 will be brought back, incidentally the only time Manchester United have overcome the German side in Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Wes Brown and Ryan Giggs, players that will no doubt look to make it two victories in eight against Bayern.
Sir Alex will have his first-choice back line available, something he is particularly pleased about,
he said: “I think that the return of [Nemanja] Vidic and Ferdinand and the back-four being so solid together again – [Edwin] Van der Sar’s returned.
“There was a time in the season where all those players were injured – it wasn’t easy and we were very fragile.” He continued
“But you can see the solidity now, you can see the experience of these players and it is making a massive difference to the performance of the team.”
So we can presume Edwin van der Sar will start in goal, behind a back four of Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand who will be restored to the line up after missing out against Bolton, and Gary Neville, who is enjoying a fantastic run in the side at the moment.
As we are playing in Germany first, it is widely expected that Sir Alex will play a five-man midfield, as he tends to do away in Europe.
Ji-Sung Park will be given a similar role to the one he had against AC Milan and Liverpool, whilst looking to support the lone front-man as much as possible.
Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher will provide the steel in the middle of the park, where they will be up against the formidable Mark van Bommel.
On the flanks will be Antonio Valencia and Nani, patrolling the right and left sides respectively. They will both have to do their fair share of defensive duties given Bayern’s penchant for playing wingers high up the field.
There will be no question Wayne Rooney should lead the line against the German’s, he is in superlative form and on current form is one of the best players on the planet right now. So lets hope he adds to the four he has so far in this years Champions League.
Bayern Munich boss Louis van Gaal thinks Rooney can be tamed,
he said: “He [Rooney] has developed and is hard to mark out of the game.
“But we can manage because we also have quality. Ferguson and his players should be scared of that.”
Lets hope the Dutch tactician is wrong.
Going into the match, Bayern are sweating on the fitness of influential winger Arjen Robben, who is still rated doubtful after straining a calf muscle at the end of Saturday’s Bundesliga fixture against Stuttgart.
If the Dutchman does not play then the hopes of the side will rest ever more on Franck Ribery, who is only just coming back from injury himself, starting the last two matches from the bench.
Bastian Schweinsteiger is suspended for the match and Mario Gomez remains a doubt after recovering from a ruptured calf muscle, though Martin Demichelis, who suffered multiple facial fractures while playing for Argentina four weeks ago, could start after making a substitute appearance at the weekend.
Defensively they are weak, and it will be up to the United attackers to expose these weaknesses. The aforementioned Demichelis can be suspect and lacks pace, while Daniel van Buyten is prove to the odd defensive mishap and also lacks overall pace, though according to van Bommel a draw would be sufficient,
“We actually don’t need to win. A goalless draw would be a decent result,” van Bommel insisted.
Despite the game being in Munich, United can have confidence in their ability to win away from home. Fiorentina managed a goal at the Allianz Arena so there is no reason United cannot get one as well, but Bayern are a dangerous side and should under no circumstance be underestimated, something Ferguson will not be doing,
“I respect Bayern Munich,” he stated.
“I have great admiration for them as a club. That is what we are playing. We are playing history. A team with history has a certain pride and we have to remember that.
“They have had one or two bad results recently but it doesn’t mean they are a bad team.
“We are not going to get carried away for one moment that this could be an easy game. It won’t be.”
An exciting match is on the cards, lets hope we get the correct result at the end of it
Prediction: 2-2 Draw
Probable Line Up: van der Sar, Evra, Ferdinand, Vidic, Neville; Nani, Carrick, Fletcher, Park, Valencia; Rooney
Betfair is the official Manchester United betting partner and we here at Red Rants have partnered with them to offer a free £25 bet when you register.
Unlike other betting sites, Betfair allows you to place bets when the game is running and choose the odds at which you want to play. What allows you to do these things is you’re betting against other fans, not the bookie, so if you want better odds than are currently available, for example, you can place an order for a better price (but bear in mind that if your price is unrealistic your bet is unlikely to be accepted).
- Erik ten Hag confirms double Man Utd injury boost ahead of Newcastle clash
- Man Utd defender Luke Shaw agrees fresh four-year contract
- Sheikh Jassim believes new Owners’ and Directors’ Test will not affect his Man United takeover
- Erik ten Hag to make decision on futures of Scott McTominay and Victor Lindelof
- Manchester United’s debt rises to almost £1 billion
- Erik ten Hag wants Andre Onana to provide competition to David de Gea next season
- Preview: Newcastle United vs Manchester United – prediction, team news, line-ups
- Man Utd goalkeeper Tom Heaton confirms he is out for a few weeks with an ankle injury
- Man Utd could lose Alejandro Garnacho to international duty in late May
- Bruno Fernandes wins Manchester United’s Player of the Month award for March