Bayern Munich likely don’t need any underhand tactics to overcome a poor Manchester United side in the Champions League quarter-finals, but they’ve been advised to kick Wayne Rooney out of the game by former England captain Tony Adams.
Munich head to Old Trafford for the first leg on April 1, and they will arrive as overwhelming favourites against a team who have been hammered in major games against Liverpool and Manchester City in the past two weeks.
If there has been a bright spot for United, other than the form of keeper David De Gea, it has been the unyielding effort of Rooney. However, Adams told Sport BILD (h/t ESPN FC’s Stephan Uersfeld) Bayern should invite the striker to spark his own downfall:
How do you play against him? I would have kicked him off the pitch. I think looking at his performances in recent years, then you have to say he can look frustrated fairly quickly.
When somebody provokes him, he tends to overreact like no other player.
He can be easily goaded. But if you let him play, then he will play. And then Bayern Munich will have a problem.
The onus will be on Rooney to lead United’s resistance against Bayern, who just set a new Bundesliga record by winning the title with seven games to spare, as reported by BBC Sport:
With Robin van Persie sidelined by injury, United’s defence in tatters, and a midfield that appears to lack any cohesion, Rooney will likely become a one-man army at Old Trafford.
As Adams highlights, he does have a history of disciplinary issues. Twice he has suffered high-profile red cards while representing England, famously losing his cool in a match with Montenegro:
However, for United, Rooney’s record is near flawless. According to ESPN FC, he has been sent off only twice in a Red Devils jersey, the last coming four years ago.
Rooney has been fortunate on occasion, not least during United’s clash with Cardiff earlier this season when he escaped red for lashing out at Jordon Mutch.
Who will win the quarter-final tie?
The England forward even confessed at the time, reported by the Daily Mail’s Raith Al-Samarrai: “Just watched game back. I agree mine was bad tackle and ref dealt with it. And Martin Tyler didn't shut up about it all game.”
The truth is Bayern simply should not need to focus on disturbing Rooney. Pep Guardiola’s side are a machine who have the potential to seriously embarrass the reigning Premier League champions.
Their passing statistics from the recent game against Hertha Berlin, as provided by Squawka, suggest Rooney may not even see much of the ball during the two-legged tie:
And they did it in style too. Bayern completed 992/1063 passes (93%) in a 3-1 win over Hertha. Quite brilliant. pic.twitter.com/Tm9LMwplhV— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 26, 2014
That would be the best way for Bayern to frustrate the United man, who plays with the admirable attitude of a kid at the park. If Rooney doesn’t have the ball, he’ll likely grow increasingly irate, which is the exact mindset Adams suggests the Germans should target.
Bayern must by wary of a man who has scored 29 goals in 79 Champions League outings, per Uersfeld’s article, but the likelihood is Rooney will spend most of his night chasing Toni Kroos, Arjen Robben and Co.