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Up for the fight

Schweinsteiger revels in the big occasion

What can possibly go wrong, Bastian Schweinsteiger was asked by English reporters at Monday evening’s press conference in Manchester. Bayern have enjoyed an unbroken run of success in Britain recently and comfortably dealt with the opposition provided by the Premier League. Schweinsteiger shook his head vigorously. “But I’ve never won at Old Trafford,” he replied. “I know it’ll be unbelievably difficult.”

FCB’s memories of their last trip to the self-styled Theatre of Dreams are very good ones in fact, as Arjen Robben’s wonder goal in April 2010 saw them through to the Champions League semi-finals, but the Reds actually lost 3-2 on the night. Nor has Schweinsteiger forgotten the opening phase of that game, when FCB were 3-0 down after 41 minutes and staring an exit in the face. “We were hit by a whirlwind,” he recalled.

The Munich vice-captain intends to avoid a repeat this time: “I hope we turn in a good performance.” The vital factor will be ignoring the prevailing opinion – that the Bundesliga champions only have to show up in order to beat United. “We all know what to expect. We have to be up for the fight.”

Schweinsteiger is rapidly recovering peak form after injury and has contributed four goals or assists in the last four matches. He is a man for the big occasion, he said, and lives for matches such as Tuesday evening’s. “I’m looking forward to the atmosphere,” declared seven-time German champion Schweinsteiger, “we’ve come here to win. We’re all desperate for more silverware.”