Uefa Champions League - Bayern Munich v Manchester United
Venue: Allianz Arena Date: Tuesday, 30 March Kick-off: 1545 EST
At his best, Arjen Robben is enough to strike fear into any opposing defense especially when he latches onto the ball at full tilt and smashes it goal bound from any point on the pitch. Perfectly exemplified in the match against Fiorentina.
However, he is might not start the quarterfinal match against Man Utd at the Allianz Arena because of a calf injury. His midfield partner Franck Ribery also has injury concerns. Bastian Schweinsteiger is out with a suspension.
The question is not just of injury but also of momentum. At this delicate juncture the pre-eminent Bundesliga club has badly stumbled in its domestic endeavour losing to Stuttgart over the weekend and previous to that against Eintracht Frankfurt. They have ceded the top spot to Schalke. In the CL they managed to scrape past Fiorentina in less than convincing fashion.
Meanwhile visiting Man Utd comes injury free with Rooney, Van Der Saar, and Ferdinand back in the squad. They are riding a string of victories in the Premiership ahead of the big Chelsea showdown next week. In the CL, they dispatched AC Milan almost contemptuously. Small wonder Sir Alex is feeling good about its chances.
" Strong in the back and strong as a team, and we look very strong now."
Louis Van Gaal is playing up his team's underdog status hoping to lull Man Utd into a sense of complacency.
"Bayern are not yet a top-level team like Manchester but we can achieve that level for a game."
In a sign of how worrisome Rooney is the Bundesliga giants are planning to ditch their man to man marking and guard zonally. Which of course opens up opportunities for the other Man Utd attackers to score.
Hans Joerg Butt will have to be extremely sharp in goal. Without Robben, Bayern also loses out on much needed counterattacking punch. Bayern's attack skews decidedly to the left with Franck Ribery and Philip Lahm putting their attacking instincts to good use to trouble the Man Utd defense. On set pieces Daniel Van Buyten and Anatoli Tymoschuk could play a vital part.