Champions League preview: Bayern Munich v Manchester City

While this is a good time in City’s history for our first ever match against Bayern Munich, truth be told, it’s a bad time to be playing them. Both sides are unbeaten, however Bayern haven’t conceded a goal in their last 9 games and are even more freescoring in attack than Roberto Mancini’s side.

Both teams have a key dutchman returning from injury. Unfortunately for City, Arjen Robben looks a little ahead of Nigel de Jong after the winger played for 10 minutes and scored at the weekend. This is precisely the kind of game where de Jong could be crucial for City, yet he is likely to be on the bench.

Bayern also have their own Super Mario, in the form of Gomez who was one of the strikers City were supposed to have bid for on the day of Sheikh Mansour’s takeover, which saw City eventually purchase Robinho.

With our own Mario suspended and Dzeko looking to have lost some of his early season sparkle, it will be interesting to see who Mancini starts with. If we’re under the cosh, then Dzeko can be peripheral and Tevez is far better suited to helping out the midfield.

The movement of Aguero and Tevez on the break would be sure to cause the likes of Boateng and Van Buyton more problems than the more conventional forward play of Dzeko. The possible interplay of the Argentine duo is a thrilling prospect yet one that has seen surprisingly little discussion.

With Ribery in great form, either Richards or Zabaleta will have to be at their best defensively, while a close eye will also need to be kept on Muller. The attacking threat of Lahm is another concern down the flanks.

Roberto Mancini:

“We have not come here to lose this game. We aim to win.”

Bold words yet Mancini went on to say:

“When I was at Inter we lost the first two games and still qualified, so losing or winning won’t change anything – we will still need ten points to go through.

“The problem is that if we lose, anything can happen.”

Mancini may not be so cavalier as the initial statement implies. Remember he said we were looking to win when we went to the Emirates last season, and parked a very effective bus.

If the base of the midfield again features Yaya and Barry, then neither are at their best when playing twice a week. It would be risky to let the game get stretched and Mancini is far more likely to have his midfield stay close to the back-line.

The open spaces where Napoli hit us on the break are unlikely to be allowed while we are level or winning. A win may be sought but, just as at the Emirates, Mancini may be content with a draw and happy to secure the necessary wins in the remaining fixtures.

Blue Days line-up:
Richards – Kompany – Lescott – Clichy
de Jong – Y Toure
Silva – Aguero – Nasri

Prediction: 1-0 to City.

City training (Mon 26/9/11)
Champions League player ratings: Bayern Munich v Manchester City

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