City look to get revenge against European Champions
By Jack Mumford
Allianz Arena, Bayern Munich’s fortress, is City’s destination for their final game in the group stage of the Champions League on Tuesday night.
With Bayern yet to lose at home this season and their complete domination of City at the Etihad Stadium in October still fresh in everyone’s memory, Manuel Pellegrini and his men will be glad they can go to Munich knowing their place in the Knockout phase is already confirmed. City can still finish top of Group D but would need to win by three clear goals at the home of the European Champions.
With Bayern already through and highly likely to finish top, Pep Guardiola is expected to name a different side to the one that started in Manchester, with a number of key players out on the sidelines.
International defender Holger Badstuber is a long term casualty but recently Phillip Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Arjen Robben have all picked up injuries. Lahm could play but is unlikely to be risked, whilst Robben and Schweinsteiger are certainly out and not expected to return until the New Year.
In terms of injury news for City, Stevan Jovetić, Matija Nastasić and Gaël Clichy all haven’t travelled. Jovetić and Nastasić are not expected back until just before Christmas and Clichy has a foot problem - but is expected to be back for the visit of Arsenal at the weekend.
Yaya Touré is suspended after his odd late tackle against Viktoria Plzeň earned him his second booking of the group stage.
However, David Silva is back to full training and could feature as he looks to gain some fitness before the crucial Arsenal clash on Saturday. City have largely taken a full strength squad to Munich but one youngster who we may see is Dedryck Boyata.
Joe Hart looks likely to have a chance to answer the recent baffling rumours that City are prepared to break the bank for Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer with a good performance as he retains his place as City’s ‘cup goalkeeper.'
Pep Guardiola has had an even better start to the season than many expected. After taking over from treble winning Jupp Heynckes this summer, the pressure was on Guardiola to somehow take this magnificent team to the next level.
Bayern had a solid, if uninspiring start to the season but Guardiola and many others have said their display at the Etihad was when it all started to come together for Guardiola.
The Bavarians are now 4 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga and come into this match having just condemned Werder Bremen to their record home defeat of 7-0 at the weekend.
City’s youngsters are also in Munich to play Bayern’s U-19s on Tuesday. They need a point to guarantee safe passage into the next round of the UEFA Youth League.
After the massive eye opener in October that proved to City fans that we haven’t arrived at the pinnacle of the European game yet, this match is about restoring pride and showing to the rest of Europe there is a reason to fear City.
Needing three goals at the home of the European Champions who have only conceded 10 goals in 23 matches so far this season is an almost impossible task. This is more a chance for City to show they have learnt the lessons Bayern taught them over two months ago.
Pellegrini is likely to make a few changes as he considers the must win Arsenal match on Saturday but I believe the side will still be very strong as we look to send a message.
Bayern have been in exceptional form recently and that is without Lahm, Schweinsteiger and Robben, arguably 3 of their best players last season. Lahm returns for this match and with Mario Götze finding his feet at the Allianz it is hard not to fear defeat for City.
For me, the number one aim should be to return to Manchester with a fully fit squad ready for the busy Christmas period.
Prediction: Bayern 3 - 1 City