How can Manchester United stop Bayern Munich?
Next week the Champions League returns for the quarter-final stage, and for many the stand-out tie sees Manchester United host Bayern Munich at Old Trafford.
Manchester United win – 6.60
Bayern Munich – 1.45
Draw – 4.40
(All odds provided by GR88.com are accurate as of today and subject to change)
The meeting gives Bayern an opportunity to gain revenge for their defeat in the 1999 final by knocking out United at this stage of the competition for the second time in five years. And you wouldn’t rule out a victory more comprehensive than the away goals triumph in 2010.
On paper it is something of a mismatch. Bayern are the favourites for the tournament while United are the outsiders, and the German side have already wrapped up the Bundesliga title with 25 wins from their 27 league games.
In contrast, last Tuesday’s 3-0 defeat at home to rivals Manchester City was United’s 10th in 31 Premier League games and their sixth at Old Trafford. So how can they find a way past their all-conquering opponents.
Blindfold Manuel Neuer
The Bayern goalkeeper is known for his excellent instincts and awareness, often coming off his line to good effect to deny opponents, and this has been reflected in Bayern’s goals against column where the 13 conceded translates to less than one goal every two games.
Still, even that might not be enough. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that Bayern went on a six-game run where they conceded so few shots on target that they would have won all six without a goalkeeper. So, on to plan B…
Spin Philipp Lahm around in circles for a while
You don’t need triangles to demonstrate the effectiveness of Philipp Lahm this season. The club captain has been moved from right-back to central midfield, where he has acted as a metronome, conducting play and making the team tick.
How do you deal with that kind of majesty? Get two of your players to stand either side of the German and spin him around quickly for a few minutes, just enough to disorientate him. His influence will be diminished, and it lets you find a use for Tom Cleverley. And, of course, the circle is the geometric enemy of the triangle.
Sneak some extra players onto the pitch
Before Fabio was shipped off to Cardiff in January, there was a running joke that his presence at the club allowed United to keep playing identical twin Rafael even when the better of the two brothers was suspended. The Ol’ Switcheroo, as it is known in some circles.
If it worked once before there’s no reason why it can’t work again, and with Bayern’s superb ball retention it will probably still look like Pep Guardiola’s side are the ones with an extra player. Of course, Alex Büttner will still be playing at left-back so this might end up making no difference whatsoever.
So, to conclude, there seems to be little that United can do, save for praying to Superman. It really does look less like a case of ‘will Bayern win?’ and more one of ‘how many will they score?’
Betting Instinct Tip – Bayern Munich to win and score three or more goals is 3.68 with GR88.com
TOM VICTOR (editor) is the editor and co-founder of Betting Instinct. He has written for a variety of sports sites in the past, including JustFootball, Footy Matters and BeNeFoot.