Created on 17-09-2014 at 08:30 AM
Mention Manchester City, and it arouses fond memories for Bayern fans – for the most part. Last October FCB turned in a scintillating performance at the Etihad Stadium and won 3-1. The return began promisingly too: Bayern led 2-0 after just 12 minutes, but the English side then showed all their undoubted class and came from behind to win 3-2. Bayern did ultimately win the group, but it was a close-run thing in the end and that chilly evening in December proved that City have become true heavyweights of the European game.
The men from Munich unquestionably face a hard task on Wednesday evening in the latest match-up between the teams. “It’s important because we want to win the group. We believe in ourselves,” said former Bundesliga player Vincent Kompany in Munich on Tuesday. There is no doubting the Sky Blues’ respect for the Bavarians, especially as City have made it no further than the Round of 16 in the Champions League in recent years, whereas FCB have gone on to taste the ultimate glory.
“Bayern are one of the top teams in Europe,” acknowledged James Milner, “you just have to look at their record in the Champions League.” Team-mate Kompany rates FCB as established members of the global elite. “Every single time you come here is an opportunity to prove yourself. We now take it as a challenge against one of the top three clubs in the world, but [Bayern] are one of the hardest teams to play right now.” Coach Manuel Pellegrini, who will be absent from the dugout on Wednesday due to suspension, warned his men to be alert: “If we let Bayern have the ball, it’ll be hard for us.”
Jovetic and Zabaleta sidelined
The selection situation at the English champions is slightly better than at FCB. Stevan Jovetic misses out with injury while Pablo Zabaleta serves a ban, but City still boast immense quality, especially in attack with the likes of Sergio Agüero, Edin Dzeko and David Silva. “We have strikers who only need a single touch to decide a game. I think we meet Bayern as equals,” Kompany stated.
“Beating Bayern would be a perfect start for us,” midfielder Fernandinho told the club website, “we have to show no fear at the Allianz Arena.” Kompany believes the experience gained in recent years has made City stronger as a team. “We’re not favourites for this competition by any means but we would like to compete and challenge. We’re not easy to beat.”