Bayern Munich vs Manchester United: Three key players to watch

The Hard Tackle lists three players who can singlehandedly influence the match between Bayern Munich and Manchester United on Wednesday.

The UEFA Champions League is back with a bang, with the games so far already producing eye-catching action. But Wednesday will serve us the marquee fixture of Matchday 1 of the group stage, with Bayern Munich welcoming Manchester United to the Allianz Arena.

Neither team has been in characteristically dazzling form. But Bayern Munich will still head into the fixture in the upper echelons of the Bundesliga. On the other hand, Manchester United have been in trouble in the early days of the 2023/24 season, losing three of their first five games.

The pressure is ramping up on Erik ten Hag, who has a history at Bayern Munich, having managed the club’s reserve side. But with Manchester United in the bottom half of the Premier League table and playing an unconvincing brand of football, the hosts will lick their lips in anticipation of a rout.

In addition, the Red Devils have a dreadful record on the road against big teams under ten Hag. So, the odds are stacking up against the visitors, who will hope for a turnaround on Wednesday. Nonetheless, Erik ten Hag, like Thomas Tuchel, will bank on a few players to singlehandedly turn the tide. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle lists three such candidates from either team.

Marcus Rashford

Our list begins with a player who has been struggling to retain high-performance levels thus far this season. He came into 2023/24 on the back of his best-ever campaign with Manchester United but has not managed to reproduce such performances this term. We are, of course, talking about Marcus Rashford.

While Bruno Fernandes has been arguably the best outfield player for Manchester United this season, we have gone with Rashford to kick-start the list. That is because while the Manchester United captain should produce elite creative numbers against Bayern Munich, the buck stops with the attackers, Rashford and Rasmus Hojlund.

With Rashford desperately searching for top form, the Red Devils need him at best as soon as possible. And if he regains his best touch, Manchester United can potentially run Bayern Munich close, if not beat them.

But Rashford’s decision-making needs to drastically improve to be a “key player” in Wednesday’s game. In addition, if he finds his scoring boots, the English international will set his team up for a season-saving performance.

Joshua Kimmich

The midfield battle will determine which team comes out on top in the meeting between Bayern Munich and Manchester United. The conventional wisdom suggests that the hosts will dominate the proceedings. With that in mind, Joshua Kimmich comes into the picture.

The German international has appeared on the wrong side of Thomas Tuchel’s judgement. So, he will be out to prove the Bayern Munich manager wrong, especially in the biggest games. Hence, his performance against Manchester United will be under the scanner.

Kimmich, when at his best, can dominate the midfield battle against every team. So, the Bayern Munich fans will look to the 28-year-old to pull the strings and help the home side run rings around Manchester United. And a top-notch display will put pressure on Tuchel to view Kimmich as one of his main players.


We end our list with the other facet of the midfield battle between Bayern Munich and Manchester United. And while Bruno Fernandes is again a candidate to feature here due to his potential to overcome the Kimmich test, we have gone ahead with Casemiro.

The Brazilian international was a game-changing signing for Manchester United last year. And after settling down in England, he became a domineering presence in the middle of the park, helping the Red Devils cut out the worst of threats with a no-nonsense brand of defending.

But the 31-year-old has been lacking a step in the early days of the 2023/24 season, and teams have found it easy to bypass him in the middle of the park. Another such unconvincing performance will mean Bayern Munich will cruise to a big win over Manchester United.

But Bayern Munich might have to be patient to unlock the visitors’ defence if he rediscovers his best form. In addition, the former Real Madrid midfielder can open up many avenues for the away side with his accurate long passes. So, he is arguably the most important player for Manchester United this midweek.

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