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Bayern Munich Look to Knock Manchester City Out of Champions League

With the Citizens on the ropes, Bayern could deliver the knockout blow to send Manchester City into the English-dredded Europa League

Julian Finney/Getty Images

This is the first match for Bayern Munich in a long time where the result has nothing to do with them. Sure, the Bundesliga fixtures at the end of last season were ultimately meaningless, but many critiqued the Rekordmeister nonetheless considering the successive matches the needed to perform well in.

The onus is 100 percent on Manchester City, a club that needs a victory and a draw between AS Roma and CSKA Moskva to advance out of the group of death. It will be a tall task for the Citizens with several key players missing from their already personnel-limited squad.

In the sixth bout in four years, Bayern could deliver the knockout blow that sets Manchester City back in their quest to become a relevant European side. However, with an ailing squad and domestic competition to consider, the Rekordmeister have several different ways to approach the match and still come out as winners.

The Match (6th Meeting)

Location: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England

Head: Pavel Kralovec

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Television and Streaming:
US: Fox Sports 1 | HD, Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Sports GO, Fox Soccer 2Go, ESPN3
Canada: Sportsnet World
UK: ITV 1, UTV, STV Scotland
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The Fixture


FC Bayern: WWWWW
Man. City: WDLWL

2014/15 Meetings

Bayern Munich (1-0) Manchester City | UEFA Champions League (Allianz Arena)
FCB: Jérôme Boateng (90’)


UEFA Champions League: 3 W, 0 D, 2 L

Largest Victory: 3-1 (UEFA Champions League: October 2, 2013, Manchester)
Largest Defeat: 0-2 (UEFA Champions League: December 7, 2011, Manchester)

The Squad

It may be hard to believe, but so far this season, Pep Guardiola has not used the same setup in back-to-back games this season. Whether injuries or rotation, the gaffer has fit together different skill sets and formations to take advantage of what the opponent has to offer.

The best example of this was at the weekend against Hoffenheim, when Guardiola returned to his club-altering 4-1-4-1 to dominate match. Instead of choosing one of his five forwards to man the bench, the Spaniard elected to let all of them swarm the attacking third. Whether the manager will be so bold to do so again depends on how fit Bastian Schweinsteiger is and how he chooses to approach the match.

The one fitness question mark in the side is Jérôme Boateng, who needed to come off for Dante over the weekend due to a thigh injury. He did travel as one of 19 players to England, but the wise choice is probably to partner Dante and Mehdi Benatia for the match, especially with eight injuries already on the squad. Gianluca Gaudino traveled as well, and he might get a look with the senior team as opposed to the U19s earlier in the day.

Despite having the group victory in their back pocket, the Bayern players have set a precedent of getting up for games such as these (at least for the first half), even if the end result is meaningless for their campaign.

Projected Lineup (4-2-3-1):

Robert Lewandowski

Franck Ribéry – Mario Götze – Arjen Robben

Xabi Alonso – Bastian Schweinsteiger

Juan Bernat – Dante – Mehdi Benatia – Rafinha

Manuel Neuer

Bench: Leopold Zingerle, Jérôme Boateng, Sebastian Rode, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Gianluca Gaudino, Xherdan Shaqiri, Thomas Müller

Injured/Suspended: Thiago Alcântara (knee), David Alaba (knee), Holger Badstuber (thigh), Philipp Lahm (ankle), Javi Martínez (knee), Claudio Pizarro (thigh), Pepe Reina (calf), Tom Starke (foot)

The Opponent

How the mighty have fallen quickly. Manchester City sits third in the Barclays Premier League table, but appear blasé at best for a title defense. What is worse is that they are close to elimination for the Round of 16, not a good showing after reaching the knockout stage for the first time in club history.

Sergio Agüero is the one shining star for Manuel Pellegrini, the Argentine have possibly the best domestic campaign of his career with 12 goals in 12 appearances. He alone cannot get Manchester City out of the rut emotionally that the club is currently in, even if he is able to create scoring chances for others.

With injuries and suspensions, Manchester City will take the Etihad field with a huge hole in midfield. Both Yaya Touré and Fernandinho are suspended due to antics in the club's previous Champions League match against CSKA Moskva. That leaves Frank Lampard and Fernando to shoulder the midfield load, unless James Milner and/or Samir Nasri make their first appearance in the spine of the team this season.

The defense has the raw tools to be one of the best in Europe, but unfamiliarity with one another and tactical ineptitude have left the Citizens exposed more than once. Sitting at the weekend, Eliaquim Mangala is a good bet to get a look against Vincent Kompany, but his physicality will be tested with the shifty Bayern attack.

They are playing for their Champions League lives, so how they come out of the dressing room will be interesting to watch.

Projected Lineup (4-4-2):

Edin Džeko – Sergio Agüero

James Milner –  Frank Lampard – Fernando – Jesús Navas

Gaël Clichy – Eliaquim Mangala – Vincent Kompany – Pablo Zabaleta

Joe Hart

Bench: Willy Caballero, Martin Demichelis, Dedryck Boyata, Bacary Sagna, Samir Nasri, José Angel Pozo, Stevan Jovetić

Injured/Suspended: Fernandinho (red card), Aleksandar Kolarov (calf), David Silva (knee), Yaya Touré (red card)

The Outcome

This match will be hard to predict given the unique nature of the fixture. The proud and prolific Bayern could be very easily motivated to knock their English rivals into the Europa League, but the Rekordmeister have a domestic campaign and a fragile squad to consider. That said, even a diminished Bayern team could inflict enough damage against this passive club to come away with the victory.

Projected Score: Manchester City (0-2) Bayern Munich

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