Manchester City host the leaders of group E, Bayern Munich, in an entertaining clash in the UEFA Champions League. Manchester City know that qualifying through to the next round is out of their own hands as a win over the Bundesliga club is not the only criteria required to give them a slender hope of going into the next round.
The Manchester club, who are bottom of their Champions League group with 2 points from 4 games must hope that the other fixture from the group, Roma vs. CSKA Moscow ends in a draw, anything else and the English club will be out from the group stages of the Champions League, which will be a bitter disappointment for the club and its owners.
Bayern Munich became the first team in the history of the competition to qualify for the knockout round after just 4 games, Bayern are unbeaten in their last 18 games this season and are in incredible form having won their last 5 games in which they have scored 15 times but have concede only twice.
Manchester City will be without David Silva, Edin Dzeko and Alexandar Kolarov, who all have failed to recover from various injuries, they will however have in form striker Sergio Aguero back in the team after he was declared fit to play in tonight’s game. Stevan Jovetic has also been declared fit to play and could partner Aguero as a replacement to Silva.
The more pressing concern for City would be the fact that Yaya Toure and Fernandinho will both miss the game due to suspension; both players saw red against CSKA Moscow in the last game which City lost. Yaya saw a straight red for shoving Eremenko to the ground which Fernandinho got booked twice and was sent off.
Bayern Munich face an injury crisis as well with news coming in that Philipp Lahm will miss the game after breaking his ankle in training; he would be out for 3 months based on reports. The other players who will not be making the trip to the Etihad are Pepe Reina, David Alaba, Holger Badstuber, Javi Martinez, Claudio Pizarro and Thiago Alcantara; all players are injured at the moment.
The good news for Munich is that they have their midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger back; he played his first game of the season against Hoffenheim and will be raring to go in the Champions League for the Bavarian giants.
Sergio Aguero vs. The Munich centre backs
Sergio Aguero has been on fire in the Premier League this season and it is just a matter of time before he finds his form in the European games. Munich have been brilliant so far in the campaign and keeping the Argentine quiet for the entire game will be one of the toughest tasks but if the centre back pair can keep Aguero shackled, Bayern would easily win the game.
Fernando vs. Xabi Alonso
The Brazilian midfielder will have his work cut out when he takes on one of the best midfielders in the world. Xabi Alonso has not missed a beat ever since he changed clubs from Madrid to Munich. The Spaniard has been ticking along very well for the German outfit and would be someone that needs to be kept a close eye on during the game.
Samir Nasri vs. Arjen Robben
With David Silva almost certain to miss the game, the onus on creativity falls on the Frenchman Nasri. Samir has not really set the world on fire this season and this could be the game where Manchester City need him the most, he will however be matched by another amazing winger, Arjen Robben. The Flying Dutchman does not seem to let age get the better of him and there is no better sight in football than an in form Arjen Robben.
Only two teams with 2 or fewer points have ever qualified from the group stage after 4 games.
Bayern are the first team to have qualified from the group after just 4 games.
Manchester City are winless in their last 6 European games having drawn 2 and lost 4.
Manchester City need to win and hope that the other game ends in a draw for them to have a chance of qualifying.
Pelligrini spoke about the availability of players
“Both of them, Aguero and Jovetic, are in the squad list for tomorrow. They have no problems for tomorrow night.
“They didn’t work normally because they have a small thing after the last game but nothing important.”
The Chilean added “Nobody in the whole team is happy (about) the way we have played this stage of the group.
“We have tomorrow, our last chance to try to win this year, to beat Bayern Munich and continue to have chances to go to the next stage.”
Possible line ups:
Manchester City starting XI: Hart, Clichy, Demichelis, Kompany, Zabaleta, Nasri, Lampard, Fernando, Milner, Jovetic, Aguero
Bayern Munich starting XI: Neuer, Rafinha, Benatia, Dante, Bernat, Alonso, Robben, Goetze, Schweinsteiger, Ribery, Muller
The game will be a tough one for City; they weren’t their best against Swansea during the weekend either. Bayern are missing quite a number of players, with so much on the line for City, it could end up a draw.
Quotes courtesy: The Independent
Picture courtesy: BBC & Sky Sports