Manchester City vs Bayern Munich

Manchester City vs Bayern Munich

Manchester City are entering last-chance saloon territory on Tuesday night, when nothing more than a win against the German champions and current Bundesliga leaders at the Etihad can guarantee their continued interest in the Champions League. Theoretically, even if they fail to win they could still be in with a shout if CSKA and Roma draw their game, but they would be hanging on a thread and their fate would no longer be fully in their own hands.
A meagre two points from their four games so far leaves Manchester City on the verge of failing to emerge from their qualifying group for the third time in four seasons. and their struggle in Europe is symptomatic of a lacklustre three months at the Etihad. Already eight points adrift of Chelsea in their defence of the Premier League title, Manuel Pellegrini is under tremendous pressure to produce the right formation and tactics to turn their season around against one of the best club sides in Europe. His cause has not been helped by enforced absences, most notably Yaya Toure and Fernandinho, who were both red-carded in the woeful home defeat to CSKA Moscow three weeks ago, and are suspended for this one. On top of this, David Silva, Edin Dzeko and Aleksandar Kolarov are all injured, but on a brighter note, Pellegrini insists that strikers, Sergio Aguero and Stevan Jovetic, will be fit to play despite them taking limited part in training after picking up slight knocks at the weekend. Aguero’s presence and fitness will be key, because without his twelve league goals in as many games, City’s plight would have been much worse.
No such headaches for Pep Guardiola, whose Bayern side have already qualified as group winners and are seven points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, but he will have to do without Philipp Lahm, David Alaba, Javi Martinez, Holger Badstuber and Thiago Alcantara, who are all on the injury list. Nevertheless the strength of the Bayern squad is as deep as any in Europe, and even without those injured players, their line-up reads like a football fantasy team. Unbeaten in seventeen competitive games this season, they come into this game fresh from successive 4-0 wins in the Bundesliga, with the likes of Ribery, Muller, Gotze, Lewandowski, Robben and Shaqiri all finding the net and all capable of producing similar moments almost at will to break the hearts of City fans. Those fans might have low expectations, but they will have high hopes that their heroes raise their game enough to produce what could, and should, be a humdinger of a game, and maybe, just maybe, one of those gloriously entertaining European nights.

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