Bayern Munich v Manchester City: 6 Players to Watch

Mike HytnerContributor ISeptember 27, 2011

Bayern Munich v Manchester City: 6 Players to Watch

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    One of Europe's traditional powerhouses meets the continent's nouveau riche at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday night, in what promises to be one of the ties of the round in the Champions League.

    Bayern Munich, on an impressive early-season winning streak of nine games in all competitions, face Manchester City and their wealth of newly-assembled talent.

    It's a game that captures the imagination, not least because of the two clubs' form. While Bayern are blazing a trail in the Bundesliga, City have barely put a foot wrong in the Premier League and are currently second to their local rivals Manchester United only by virtue of goal difference.

    Tuesday will see a galaxy of stars light up the sky in Munich, but who are likely to be the major movers and shakers?

    Here we look at six players to watch.

Franck Ribery

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    After a storming start to the new season, Ribery finally seems to be emerging from the shadows and reverting back to his former self.

    The France international seems to have been given a new lease of life under coach Jupp Heynckes, following the departure of Louis van Gaal, and after having struggled with injury and poor form over the past two seasons.

    Three goals, five assists and a smile back on his face —Ribery will be sure to pose City's back line some major problems on Tuesday night.

Manuel Neuer

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    The man who was heavily linked with a move to City's rivals Manchester United over the summer eventually opted to stay put in Germany, and moved to Bayern from Schalke.

    It was not a universally popular choice—Schalke fans were clearly aggrieved at losing their best player, while Bayern fans protested against his signing after he had previously celebrated a goal against their side rather too emphatically.

    Those voices of dissent are no longer heard, perhaps to do with the nine clean sheets the young Germany keeper has kept since the beginning of August—an incredible total of 848 minutes of football.

    A perfect 10 will be achieved with a shutout against City. 

Jerome Boateng

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    There's nothing quite like a disgruntled former player to whip up things before a match; Boateng is that man this time around.

    The defender spent an ill-fated campaign in Manchester last season, and was offloaded back to his homeland in the summer.

    Ahead of Tuesday night's game, he has hit out at his former employers, saying Roberto Mancini's squad has "no sense of togetherness" and that they stand no chance of winning the Champions League, despite their huge investment.

Toni Kroos

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    One of Germany's new generation of talented young stars, Kroos was farmed out to Bayer Leverkusen in 2009 to properly cut his teeth in the Bundesliga.

    43 appearances and 10 league goals later, the boy returned to Munich a man. His sterling performances in an attacking midfield position have heavily contributed to Bayern's amazing start to the new season.

    Once again he will be charged with providing the ammunition for Mario Gomez to fire at City, who must make finding a way to smother his attacking instincts a priority.

Edin Dzeko

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    The big Bosnian striker is well known in the Bundesliga, having spent four successful seasons in Germany with Wolfsburg.

    Likewise, he knows Bayern well and he will look to put all the insider knowledge gained during his time in Germany to good use, and continue his impressive start to the season.

    Dzeko has netted six times already in the Premier League and, if selected to start, will pose the Bayern defence a few problems with his eye for goal and his imposing presence in the air.

    Even if he doesn't start, he is the kind of player who can make an impact off the bench, and he could well play a major role in deciding the outcome of the match.

Yaya Toure

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    One of City's most experienced European players, Toure will have his work cut out against the Bundesliga giants.

    The former Barcelona player, and Champions League winner, will be charged with keeping a lid on Bayern's potent midfield, while providing his own attacking department with morsels to feed of.

    The box-to-box Ivorian is more than capable of delivering on both counts and his energetic displays have so far been instrumental in the rebirth of City as one of England's—and possibly Europe's—best teams.