How Manchester United Will Line Up Against Bayern Munich

Scott RomFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2014

How Manchester United Will Line Up Against Bayern Munich

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    Jon Super

    With Manchester United's league form so poor, David Moyes will see the Champions League as the one opportunity for him to redeem himself and possibly see him keep his job.

    For that reason, he was probably pretty disappointed to be drawn against the most difficult team in the next round of the competition.

    Bayern Munich have already won the German league again and were able to rest several of their players at the weekend in preparation for Tuesday's game.

    United's primary focus will likely be limiting how many away goals the Germans score, which will probably mean a defensive line-up but one that contains plenty of pace to catch Bayern on the counter.

    However, with injuries coming at the wrong time for United, what will their starting team look like tomorrow?


De Gea in Goal

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    David de Gea will be vitally important to United tomorrow. The last thing they will want is to go to Germany with the tie already over, which could well be the case of Bayern Munich score a few away goals. 

    De Gea has been very impressive this season, and United fans will be expecting more of the same on Tuesday.

Who Will Be Available in Defence?

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    Rui Vieira

    Ideally, United would like to play Rafael da Silva, Phil Jones, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra along the back four, but Rafael is in doubt after being subbed off at half-time against Aston Villa at the weekend and Evra is suspended.

    Rafael could be used in place of Evra, if he's available, at left-back, but that would depend on the return of Chris Smalling or Jonny Evans.

    Both were pictured in training today, but Evans hasn't played since the first weekend of February, meaning that being thrown into his first game in two months against the German and European champions is hardly ideal.

    If Rafael can play on the left, then Smalling could be used on the right. If Evans is available, then Jones could start on the right. 

    Worst-case scenario is relying on Alexander Buttner at left-back. While he has skilful feet and is competent going forward, he is a liability defensively. 

    Whatever combination of players is available, United fans are right to be fearful. There is no real momentum for the defence, with injuries and suspensions forcing so many changes, and Bayern Munich will be more than willing to take advantage.

Giggs Back in Midfield

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Ryan Giggs put in a fantastic performance against Olympiacos in the last round, just as he did against Real Madrid the season before, showing that he really is United's man to rely upon for big games. His experience is unrivalled and Moyes would be sensible to use him tomorrow.

    If Michael Carrick isn't being used in defence to cover the injury crisis, you imagine he will play alongside Giggs in the centre of midfield with Marouane Fellaini.

    Darren Fletcher played the full 90 minutes at the weekend, which suggests that he won't be starting against the Germans, which is a shame. He kept the ball moving around a lot more quickly than we've seen from most of our midfielders this season.

    But he is still being treated very carefully after his lengthy time out so it would be a surprise if he started again.

Players out Wide

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    There is quite some competition for the wide spaces for tomorrow night, with Danny Welbeck and Antonio Valencia the favourites to start.

    While able to add speed as well as width, they can also put in a shift defensively. Valencia wasn't even on the bench for Saturday's game, though, so despite being involved in training today, he will be a doubt for tomorrow.

    This means that Shinji Kagawa could start, having won all four of the games he's ever played against Bayern Munich, albeit out of position.

    "Shinji is a really important player to us," reported Moyes as saying. "We like him a lot and he gives us something different. He's certainly in our thoughts for tomorrow night's game."

    Adnan Januzaj will also be hoping to feature after limited appearances in March. Minutes after coming on at the weekend, he played in an inch-perfect ball to set up Javier Hernandez's goal and certainly provides greater threat from these positions than any other player in United's squad.

Rooney Up Front

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    In the absence of Robin van Persie, United will be relying on Wayne Rooney alone up front, although he will obviously be supported by whoever is playing out wide.

    With seven assists in Europe, Rooney has created more goals than any other player in the Champions League this season.

    He's scored four goals in his past three games for United so this game has probably come at the right time for him. United will be hoping that the England striker can yet again keep them afloat while also offering plenty defensively.