BERLIN - In-form Bayern Munich host
Manchester City in their Champions League Group A game on
Tuesday knowing that victory against the team that looks like
their direct group rivals will put them in the driving seat.
Bayern go into their second group game in scintillating
form, having won their last nine games in all competitions
without conceding a single goal. They also won their group
opener at Villarreal two weeks ago to lead the standings.
While Bayern have historic associations with the city of
Manchester, they are linked to United rather than City.
United's 1958 air crash in Munich that decimated the team
and the 1999 Champions League Final where United snatched a
last-gasp victory over Bayern are two significant dates in
But Bayern are more eager to look ahead than back, with this
season's Champions League final to be held in the Bavarian
capital and Bayern eager for a shot at a fifth title.
"In the form we are currently in the only team that can beat
us is ourselves," said Bayern captain Philipp Lahm after their
3-0 league win over Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.
Bayern also saw the return of Dutch winger Arjen Robben, who
had been out since late August with a groin injury. He could not
have hoped for a better comeback himself as he scored the third
goal 12 minutes after coming on.
Mario Gomez is also expected to start again after playing
against Leverkusen, following a brief absence due to a groin
"The team is well-prepared, hugely motivated and I am very
optimistic," said club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
"City are the favourites in the group together with us so it
would be great if we could beat them on Tuesday."
Debutants City suffered a case of first-night nerves in
their opening 1-1 draw at home to Napoli two weeks ago and coach
Roberto Mancini vowed his team would be much calmer for the trip
The English side go into the game full of confidence having
beaten Everton 2-0 at the weekend and stand level on points with
Manchester United at the top of the Premier League.
Carlos Tevez could be preferred to Edin Dzeko up front after
the Bosnian produced a below-par showing on Saturday and was
substituted by Mario Balotelli in the 60th minute.
Balotelli, who scored eight minutes after coming, is not
available for the trip to Germany as he will be serving the
second of a three-match European ban.
Mancini is expecting a more open game with Bayern than
"Bayern are like us. They play good football and they play
to win," local media quoted the Italian as saying.
"This will be different to when we played Napoli. Bayern
will attack because that is their mentality. It will be very
City players will come up against a familiar face with old
boy Jerome Boateng now a Bayern player following a close-season
move from the English club.
"It always happens like that, doesn't it? When I saw the
draw I just sensed Bayern might end up against City," Boateng
told the Sunday Times.
"My main reaction was that the whole group is so tough. Any
of these teams could easily finish top. It's one each from the
strongest four leagues.
"City have such a strong squad in the attacking positions,
it will be a very big test for us. I was looking at some of the
scorelines they were getting and I thought 'Phew!'"
City have already notched 19 goals in six games in an
unbeaten start to their Premier League campaign with Argentina
striker Sergio Aguero scoring eight of them.
Bayern Munich: 1-Manuel Neuer; 21-Philipp Lahm, 5-Daniel van
Buyten, 28-Holger Badstuber, 13-Rafinha; 31-Bastian
Schweinsteiger, 30-Luiz Gustavo, 25-Thomas Muller, 7-Franck
Ribery, 10-Arjen Robben; 33-Mario Gomez;
Manchester City: 25-Joe Hart; 4-Vincent Kompany, 5-Pablo
Zabaleta, 6-Joleon Lescott, 13-Aleksandr Kolarov; 18-Gareth
Barry, 19-Samir Nasri, 42-Yaya Toure; 21-David Silva, 32-Carlos
Tevez, 16-Sergio Aguero;
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