Breaking Down Bayern Munich's Champions League Quarter-Final with Man United

Stefan BienkowskiFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2014

Bayern head coach Pep Guardiola of Spain gestures during the German Bundesliga soccer match between VfL Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich in Wolfsburg, Germany, Saturday, March 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer) 
Gero Breloer/Associated Press

Bayern Munich must be getting tired of rubbing their hands in glee this season. As if the Bundesliga title all but wrapped up in March wasn't enough for the current German champions, the path to defending their European title was made but a little clearer when they got drawn with Manchester United this week. 

You make your own luck in this game, as the old saying goes. As we look across the competition at some of the truly exciting fixtures to come, we begin to wonder just how this Bavarian club continue to be so blessed. 

It goes without saying that Bayern simply couldn't have asked for an easier opponent in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, with Man United offering anything but a functioning or intimidating task to the Bavarian giants. 

At this stage of the competition, there are indeed no easy games, as the old cliche goes. Yet Pep Guardiola's side did seem to dodge a bullet from in-form teams such as Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Real Madrid, who are all desperate to test themselves against the current European champions. 

Bayern have been the one outstanding side in the sport for the best part of 18 months now, as they chase back-to-back Bundesliga and Champions League titles in record-breaking form. 

In contrast, David Moyes has had a rough start to life at Old Trafford with a number of trip-ups along the way, as his side currently sit in seventh position in the English Premier League, 18 points off league-leaders Chelsea. 

Although both clubs hired new coaches last summer, the contrast between them is simply staggering, as Guardiola has continued the sleek, business-like success that Bayern have grown accustomed to, while Moyes has struggled to live up to expectations. 

Jon Super/Associated Press

Yet it isn't all bad for Man United or any hopes they may have of overcoming the toughest test they will face this season. 

For even though this may be one of the worst seasons in the club's recent history in the Premier League, Moyes has actually done reasonably well with his side in Europe. If there's one competition that this troubled team seem to surprise us in, it's the Champions League. 

Many predicted that they wouldn't make it out of their group, with Shakhtar, Bayer Leverkusen and Real Sociedad posing as a tough task for any side. Yet United beat all three at Old Trafford and even put five past Leverkusen in Germany, one of the few Bundesliga sides to trouble Bayern this season. 

Of course, the two Leverkusen games aside, we've not actually seen much from the former Premier League champions to suggest that they're back to their best, but we simply can't ignore the basic facts—they have gotten results against each opponent throughout the competition. 

There's also the small matter of Bayern's record against English teams in recent years. As we saw just a few weeks ago, Arsenal—who have already lost to Man United this season in the league—were able to make things incredibly uncomfortable for the German side before a red card went against them. 

Similarly, Manchester City, another English side who have been far from brilliant in this current campaign, surprised us all with their 3-2 victory in Munich earlier in the competition. Bayern eventually overcame both English sides, but it wasn't without raising some question marks over their ability to overlook certain teams. 

Which is exactly why Bayern go into this upcoming tie as comfortable favourites in all of our expectations. Yet don't be fooled if this showdown isn't as clear-cut as it will undoubtedly be billed. This is the Champions League, after all, and stranger things have happened.