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UEFA Champions League: FC Bayern München vs. Manchester City | Preview

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This match could be really good or really bad, depending on whether the managers care enough about it.

Julian Finney

Despite the fact that Manchester City has played only three seasons in the UEFA Champions League, FC Bayern München will face the blue billionaires for the fourth time. While not yet a rivalry, the Bayern-City fixture might be blossoming into a competitive derby.

Nothing will compare to FC Bayern's friction with Real Madrid outside of Germany. The Red/White rivalry is one of the more prominent, with the two meeting twelve times in the current iteration of the UEFA Champions League, the most times FC Bayern has faced a non-German team in official competition. The two clubs undertook six two-legged affairs, with three of them being semifinal match-ups in 2000, 2001, and 2012.

Manchester City will have to get in line behind other English teams who have history with FC Bayern. Manchester United has a comparable history to Real Madrid against FC Bayern, with the Rekordmeister facing United nine times including the final in 1999. Arsenal has a bone to pick themselves, FC Bayern aiding Arsenal's Champions League elimination three times, 2000/01. 2004/05 and 2012/13. FC Bayern has more recent history with Chelsea, facing the south Londoners three times including the final in 2013.

Still, both the Reds and the Blues have already qualified for the Round of 16 with high ambitions to be the last club standing. If both squads make it through the next round, they could set another two-match date, and this fixture will start to get relevant and exciting.

The Match (6th Meeting)

Location: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany

Referees
Head: David Fernández Borbalán
FC Bayern: 0 W, 0 D, 0 L

Assistants: Jesus Calvo Guadamuro, José Miranda
Fourth Official: Raul Cabanero Martinez

Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com

Television and Streaming:
USA: Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Soccer 2GO, SiriusXM FC
Canada: Sportsnet World, Sporstnet World Online
UK: Sky Sports 2 | HD, Sky Sports Red Button, Sky Go UK, BBC Radio 5 Live
Germany: Sky Sports 1 & 2 | HD, Sky Go
Other Countries

The Fixture

Form

FC Bayern: WWWWW
Man City: DWWWW

Records

UEFA Champions League: 2 W, 1 L

Biggest Victory: 3-1 (October 2, 2013, Manchester, England)
Biggest Defeat: 0-2 (December 7, 2011, Manchester, England)

The Squad

For FC Bayern, the trip to Manchester was once again a stamp of strength. The Rekordmeister have dropped two points since, the 1-1 draw against Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

Even injuries could not prevent the run the club is on, and now with players like Xherdan Shaqiri and Claudio Pizarro returning, the squad is more prepared than ever to retain their form.

The question will be how Pep Guardiola regards this match, as another important statement or a superfluous result.

What will be important to watch is who plays. According to kicker, Philipp Lahm will be available at Guardiola's disposal, and now that Claudio Pizarro has made an appearance, he might be in line to give someone a rest. Xherdan Shaqiri has not reappeared in red yet, so minutes could be available for him to take.

With Dante sitting at the weekend to start the match, he could return, although whether Daniel van Buyten or Jerome Boateng will start is a mystery. Given the pace and quality on the ball of Sergio Agüero and Álvaro Negredo, Boateng is the assumption, although he did pick up a red card from his last match against Manchester City.

Javi Martínez will likely start as well given his breather, so one of Toni Kroos, Mario Götze, and Thiago will have to sit. Ribéry looks like he has not missed a beat on the left, while Müller is refinding his top form on the right.

With a 9-match winning run on the line, Guardiola will put his best XI out there, at least the one that is available.

Projected Lineup (4-1-4-1)

Mandžukić

RibéryKroosGötzeMüller

Martínez

Alaba – Dante – Boateng – Rafinha

Neuer

Bench: Starke, Contento, van Buyten, Lahm, Alcantara, Shaqiri, Pizarro

The Opponent

Fantastic at home, miserable on the road.

Man City have won every game but one in the Etihad Stadium, that one loss coming to FC Bayern. On the road, the Citizens have one just four times in eight games, twice in the Barclays Premier League.

For that reason, and because they qualified for the Round of 16, Manuel Pellegrini has deemed the home match against Arsenal "more important" than the match against the defending champions. A way to personify his match priorities is in Joe Hart, who Pellegrini named the starter. [Daily Mail, ESPN FC]

Pellegrini also mentioned that David Silva could return from his calf injury for the match, although it's hard to see him starting having missed a month. Samir Nasri, who has scored three times in the last four games, will likely to start, although the choice between Milner and Jesus Navas will be hard to predict.

Martin Demichelis and Matija Nastasic have paired together the most since Vincent Kompany with a hamstring injury, and with Kompany not quite fit, that partnership is a good bet. Gael Clichy started when FC Bayern came to England, although with Müller replacing Robben in the right, Aleksandar Kolarov could get the start instead.

Yaya Touré is suspended due to yellow card accumulation, which means Javi Garcia could make a start in the center of the park. Nasri is no stranger to center midfield either, making room for Navas on the wing.

With so many rotations for Pelligrini, this starting XI could be completely write and completely wrong, or several combinations in between.

UPDATE [10.10.2013] – The Manchester Evening News is reporting that Matija Nastasic and Gaël Clichy are not available for the match against FC Bayern. Clichy did not travel with the team to Germany due to a foot injury, while Nastasic is "nursing a calf injury".

Projected Lineup (4-4-2)

Džeko – Agüero

Nasri – Garcia – Fernandinho – Milner

Kolarov – Lescott – Demichelis – Zabaleta

Hart

Bench: Pantilimon, Richards, Kompany, Rodwell, Silva, Navas, Negredo

The Outcome

Gauging the man management of these two skippers is tough, so the result will be just as hard to predict. Given City's road struggles, Bayern's dominance at home, and more important players in Munich coming back to full strength, it's hard to go against the defending champions. What the score will be is anyone's guess.

Projected Score: Bayern Munich 2-1 Manchester City