Bayern Munich will welcome Manchester City to the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night with the near-impossible task of overcoming a three-goal deficit in the Champions League.
Manchester City will enter the Allianz Arena on Wednesday with a comfortable 3-0 lead from the first leg, while Bayern Munich have a mountain to climb.
A shock 3-0 mauling at the Etihad in the first leg leaves Bayern Munich on the verge of a humiliating ouster. And another defeat with a similar margin here would raise questions about the Bayern hierarchy’s decision to dismiss Julian Nagelsmann and replace him with Thomas Tuchel in the midst of the season.
To make matters worse, Tuchel is dealing with the fallout from Sadio Mane hitting teammate Leroy Sane following the loss. As a consequence, Mane was suspended at the weekend. And while he will be back available on Wednesday, things are not looking well at the Allianz Arena.
The Bavarian giants are having a poor season by their high standards. And they can count themselves lucky that Borussia Dortmund boast a shoddy defence and were not able to draw level with them on top of the league at the weekend after Bayern were held to a home draw by Hoffenheim.
On the other hand, Manchester City are ominously finding peak form in the business end of the season and eased aside Leicester City 3-1 at the weekend, as they remain hot on the heels of league leaders Arsenal. The result was their tenth win in a row in all competitions, as they have now found the top gear where they brutally punish their opponents.
All in all, the Citizens will go into the clash with confidence at the highest levels. But Pep Guardiola has been insistent that there is little margin for error or complacency heading into the second leg, particularly after his side were on the wrong end of a spectacular comeback against Real Madrid last season.
Still, it is going to take something extra special for Bayern to win the tie against Manchester City, especially with the evidence of their past two performances. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.
Team News & Tactics
Morning, Yann! 👋
Training live: https://t.co/NKbrVujh1v#MiaSanMia #FCBMCI pic.twitter.com/AzGGJ6tlWD
— FC Bayern Munich (@FCBayernEN) April 18, 2023
Lucas Hernandez and Manuel Neuer are still out, although the former is back in training sooner than expected. Sadio Mane will return to the Bayern squad after serving a one-game internal suspension for punching teammate Leroy Sane in the aftermath of the first leg. But whether he will start remains to be seen.
Thomas Tuchel has been boosted by the return of striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. The 34-year-old completed the whole training session on Monday and might be thrust straight into the starting eleven as Bayern look to score at least three goals.
Thomas Tuchel will stick with the system that has worked so well for Bayern Munich in the past, 4-2-3-1, since it is the ideal way to fit the wide array of attacking talent. Serge Gnabry led the line in the first leg as a false nine, but to little avail. So Choupo-Moting could slot in here, with Leroy Sane, Jamal Musiala, and Kingsley Coman around him.
Coman has a track record of scoring important goals for Bayern Munich, especially in the Champions League, and will be needed the most here. In midfield, it is vital that Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka control possession and tempo, as well as outperform their opposite numbers.
Meanwhile, at the back, there is a good chance Dayot Upamecano could be dropped after his shocker of a performance in the first leg. Should that happen, Benjamin Pavard could slot centrally, with Joao Cancelo coming in at right-back against his parent club.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Sommer; Cancelo, Pavard, De Ligt, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka; Sane, Musiala, Coman; Choupo-Moting
Phil Foden remains the only absentee for Manchester City, though the England international is scheduled to return later this month. Pep Guardiola may go with the same XI that cruised to a 3-0 first-leg win over the German side.
John Stones will once again be listed as a midfielder. And that is where he goes when Manchester City are in possession. Out of possession, he acts as a right-sided centre-half in an impenetrable defence with the pace of Nathan Ake and Manuel Akanji on the flanks, with Ruben Dias patrolling the central defence areas.
That's our goal-scoring centre-back! ✨ pic.twitter.com/JFBVG8zydO
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 17, 2023
With Rodri adept at controlling possession and dictating the tempo in front, they plot to deny space to what is a fleet-footed Bayern attack, trying to nullify the impact of the creative facilitator Jamal Musiala. The City defensive midfielder also scored the best goal of the night last midweek.
Meanwhile, the likes of Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne, and Jack Grealish will act as an attacking four behind Erling Haaland, who has been breaking all records this season and will be raring to score on Bayern’s turf due to his allegiances to Borussia Dortmund.
Probable Lineup (3-2-4-1): Ederson; Akanji, Dias, Ake; Stones, Rodri; Silva, De Bruyne, Gundogan, Grealish; Haaland
- Bayern have not managed more than one goal in any of their past four competitive matches. The last time they won by a three-goal margin was nearly two months ago.
- Manchester City have won their last three matches against Bayern Munich in all competitions.
- The Citizens have now won ten on the bounce in all competitions and have not lost on the road since a 1-0 defeat at Tottenham at the beginning of February.
- Manchester City have only lost one of their last 20 matches against German teams in the UEFA Champions League (W16 D3), losing away to RB Leipzig in the 2021/22 group stage. They are unbeaten in their nine games against German sides in the knockout stages of the competition (W8 D1).
- Erling Haaland has scored 11 UEFA Champions League goals for Manchester City this season. It is his best return in a single campaign, and just one behind the season record for a Premier League player in the competition (Ruud van Nistelrooy, 12 in 2002/03 for Manchester United).
Player to Watch
Haaland taken off at halftime after a first-half brace.
Smooth day at the office 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/7bmqVyjzEk
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 15, 2023
While we expect an improved display from Thomas Tuchel’s men, there is only one player we can look upon as the player to watch here. And that is Erling Haaland. The former Borussia Dortmund forward has been goal crazy all season, racking up 45 goals in all competitions so far. And across the last five games, he has netted an even more remarkable 12 goals.
Just the double for a disappointed Haaland at the weekend as the Norwegian was hooked off at halftime. He really must do better. Jokes aside, Bayern better be ready with a plan to stop the goal machine.
Bayern Munich 1-3 Manchester City (City win 5-1 on aggregate)
Bayern Munich are known as FC Hollywood for a reason. But such a massive deficit seems next to impossible to overturn for even a side of their calibre. Their home form has not been fully convincing; Thomas Tuchel’s side are winless in their last two home games, while City just look like a rampant force right now and have one foot in the semifinals.
An early goal in front of their own supporters may set Manchester City supporters’ nerves jangling. But there’s absolutely nothing to suggest City won’t want to lay down a marker for the rest of Europe by completing a home and away double against the German champions.
It is not in Pep Guardiola’s work ethic to ease off. And a return to Bavaria will have extra significance for the Catalan as he returns to his old stomping ground. City can complete the job in style, with Erling Haaland leading the charge yet again.
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