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Bayern Munich vs Manchester City – a preview
It is no secret that Manchester City has made an impressive start to the season. Heading into the campaign City were faced with heightened expectations yet have responded in emphatic fashion; taking 16 out of 18 points in an undefeated start to the Premier League, conceding less than a goal a game and hitting the net 20 times in the process in what has been a commanding opening month to the season.
Even with the most cursory of glances at Bayern Munich however, City’s start looks positively ponderous in comparison to a Bayern side that has swept all before them in the Bundesliga to date. Bayern have won their past six league games, scoring 21 without conceding a single goal, including a 3-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen this past weekend.
Group A didn’t quite receive the ‘Group of Death’ tag, but with City and Napoli third and fourth seeds respectively, the Group doesn’t contain a side where easy pickings are to be had. As shown in City’s draw against Napoli, points will be hard to come by.
But despite dropping points against Napoli, tomorrow’s game has more of an air of ‘musn’t lose’ than ‘must win’ for Roberto Mancini. With Bayern winning at Villareal in their opening fixture, City know that defeat at the Allianz Arena would see them five points behind the German side – a far larger gap than Mancini would have envisaged just two games in. For all the dash and style City have shown to date, a pragmatic and dogged performance would be equally welcome and Mancini was perturbed at the manner in which the goal was conceded against Napoli whereby there was far too much space between defence and midfield. The traits shown last season: controlling possession and restricting space and then hitting on the break may well be deployed once again. Little wonder that talk of a return for Carlos Tevez has been dominating pre-match speculation.
It will be no easy task of course going up against a Bayern side, who possess in-form threats of their own across the front line, but as wary as City themselves may be Bayern will be equally worried (witness Frank Ribery’s reaction to the Champions League draw) with manager Jupp Heynckes saying “It is going to be a real challenge for us. They (Manchester City) are a top European team. I am very impressed by them.”
Both City and Bayern remain favourites to progress from Group A and at this early stage will likely feel that there is too much at stake to risk defeat. City in particularly go up against Villareal next in back-to-back games and you feel it is in those games that Mancini will be looking to profit from to boost hopes of progression to the knock-out stages.
Coming away from Germany with a point will ensure that those hopes very much remain alive.