Bayern have no room for mistakes in Man United return leg | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 09.04.2014
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Bayern have no room for mistakes in Man United return leg

The Germans have a slight upper hand in the tie after a 1-1 draw in Manchester. However, Bayern, with their poor record against English sides of late, will need to recover from a recent bad patch to make the semi-finals.

Pep Guardiola was keen to reassure the masses contemplating a Bayern Munich capitulation at his pre-match news conference. Tonight's return leg against Manchester United offers a place in the Champions League semifinals as a reward for the winner and remains finely poised at 1-1.

A defeat for Bayern, especially against a struggling United, would almost end Bayern's competitive season, save for their bid to reach the German Cup final.

Guardiola has rarely seemed flustered since arriving in Bavaria - except when his German vocabulary comes under strain - but, as "mini-crises" go, this is something unique in recent terms for Bayern.

The defeat to FC Augsburg on Saturday - and the surrendering of their 53-match unbeaten run in the Bundesliga - has left Bayern with a bloody nose. They have gone three matches without a win. To find the last time that happened, you would need to return to the final days of Louis van Gaal's tenure in 2011.

It was five years ago, however, when the club managed to go four successive games - Stuttgart, Bordeaux, Schalke 04, Bayer Leverkusen - without a victory.

To add an extra layer of concern, Bayern's recent record against English clubs is unconvincing. Both Manchester City and Arsenal have won at the Allianz Arena in the last 12 months, while the 2012 Champions League final loss on home turf against Chelsea still leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

The expectation on the German champions to repeat their treble-winning season under Jupp Heynckes is enormous, with many simply refusing to acknowledge the possibility of a Manchester United upset in Munich.

"If we don't make the semifinals, then this is a mistake from the coach," Guardiola said ahead of the game, using the English word mistake as "Fehler" evaded his grasp. "But I knew this from the beginning. I simply have to deliver this treble."

Attacking midfielder Mario Götze said Bayern would seek to attack on home turf admitting that it was difficult in the first leg to find the gaps with United "defending with 10 men."

"An early goal would do help us along," Götze said. "The Bundesliga championship is only just a small goal completed for us. I want a chance to play in the Champions League final." Götze missed last season's final at Wembley between Bayern and his former club Borussia Dortmund through injury.

Rooney to play

Wayne Rooney could feature for Manchester United in München.

Rooney won't miss out, says Guardiola

Bayern will welcome Dante back to the heart of defense, while missing key performers in midfield like Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez, both of whom are suspended, as well as Thiago Alcantara.

Schweinsteiger was in the spotlight in the hours following the first leg, in which he scored Bayern's equalizer. The club took the decision to refuse accreditation from two of England's biggest-selling newspapers, The Sun and the Daily Mirror, after headlines deemed to be insulting towards the German international. Following an apology from the Sun on April 6, Bayern lifted restrictions against that paper.

Amidst question marks over Wayne Rooney's fitness, Guardiola joked he would "bet a pint of beer" on the English attacker starting in the return leg.

But the Bayern coach, on a serious note, continued to speak highly of Manchester United's leading marksmen this season who may require an injection to take the field. "This is one of the best players I've seen play and the big players do not want to miss this type of game," he said.

United's David Moyes, meanwhile, knows he needs his side to score in order to progress to the last four of the competition. In spite of the Red Devils' abject campaign in the Premier League, their last two league outings produced eight goals in total.

"We'll need a good performance from everybody," he said after watching his team smash Newcastle United 4-0 at the weekend. "It's a massive game. We'll do everything we can to reach the semis, but it's hard because of the level of competition and quality of the team."

Former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Shinji Kagawa made a substitute appearance against United in the first leg and is in line to also feature in München. Kagawa scored twice against the Bavarians as a Dortmund player, including in the 2012 German Cup final in Berlin.

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