UEFA Champions League Group Stage Preview: FC Bayern- Manchester City

Samrin HasibAnalyst ISeptember 26, 2011

Bernd Leno had to pick the ball out of the net three times on Saturday.
Bernd Leno had to pick the ball out of the net three times on Saturday.

FC Bayern recorded yet another win over one of their closest rivals in the Bundesliga title race. Leverkusen didn't know what hit them. They were down by two goals in the first 20 minutes. The rest of the match was really nothing more than an exercise for both sides, as they both seemingly conserved energy for midweek fixtures.

Robin Dutt praised Leverkusen's effort. In truth, Leverkusen looked like a deer caught in headlights. Without the suspended duo of Michal Kadlec and Andre Schuerrle and the ill Michael Ballack, they were always going to be in trouble. Maybe the injured Daniel Schwaab might have helped them. Leverkusen created at-least two good chances but did not convert them. Otherwise, the runner-up from last season was lacklustre.

Thomas Mueller opened the scoring, getting on the end of a Franck Ribery pass. Daniel Van Buyten's pile driver after 19 minutes saw the match come to an end. Arjen Robben replaced Toni Kroos for the last 15 minutes and made the victory look more comprehensive than it was by scoring in the 90th minute. The mood at the Allianz Arena is brilliant. Bayern is simply unstoppable following an opening day loss against Gladbach.

What is more important is that they have a full squad to choose from in midweek, with the exceptions of Ivica Olic and Breno. Breno is currently being held in suspicion of starting a fire that damaged his house in midweek. Jupp Heynckes confirmed that Jerome Boateng will start on Tuesday. Boateng was rested on Saturday. Heynckes feels he isn't exactly consistent unlike Holger Badstuber.

Manchester City will travel to Munich confidently after beating Everton by two goals. Their attack looked slightly rusty for large portions of the match. Edin Dzeko has previous experience of scoring against Bayern, even snatching a Bundesliga title away from them in his time at Wolfsburg. Nigel de Jong is in the squad which will be heading to Munich.

Bayern's fluidity is what is really catching the eye nowadays. They switch from defence to attack really fast, and each and every player gives his all for the cause. The defence has been very good largely due to the fact that Bayern has defended as a team in all the matches. Even Mario Gomez, who had a rather terrible afternoon against Leverkusen, has played his part.

Playing Bayern during the Oktoberfest can be an absolute nightmare, as many teams will testify. City's head-coach Roberto Mancini played Bayern when he was coach of Inter Milan. Back then, though, the Bayern side was quite different to the one today. Bastian Schweinsteiger was a winger, and Andreas Ottl was part of the club.

Mancini knows his side needs the points more than Bayern. He might decide to play De Jong from the beginning or ask Yaya Toure to assist Gareth Barry in defensive midfield to ensure that his side does not go down a goal quickly. Most sides which have played Bayern this season have gone down a goal early and went on to get thrashed. Bayern needed 21 minutes to break Schalke down, and Schalke came away with a respectable result. They lost 0-2 in a game which could have easily finished 2-3.

The Bayern players and Heynckes have said very good things about City. Bayern's defence should be thoroughly tested tomorrow for the first time in a long while if Mancini decides to attack Bayern from the get-go. Manuel Neuer will be really tested for the first time tomorrow. Neuer has grown week by week and has made some fantastic saves recently. Karl Heinz Rummenigge and Uli Hoeness already had their say on City, and they were a little disrespectful, unlike the players and Heynckes.

Experience counts in the Champions League. So, finally, here is my prediction:

Bayern 3-1 Manchester City