During the Champions League group stage draw, Manchester City’s group was one to watch out for. Featuring in Pot 3, their’s was the potential group of death. And it was almost so, drawn alongside Bayern Munich in Group D meant that City have to get the better of the defending Champions in order to top the group. But it could have been much worse as with all due respect, Victoria Plzen will have to do very well to get anything against Bayern and City leaving CSKA Moscow to challenge the 2.
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Both Bayern and City got off to perfect starts with 3-0 wins over Moscow and Plzen respectively. This sets us up perfectly for tonight’s big game with City looking to underline their European credentials by beating the defending Champions and Bayern looking to wrest the early initiative by beating England’s runners up in their own backyard.
Looking at their league forms, Bayern will start tonight’s game the clear favourites. Having secured 19 points out of a possible 21 points, they find themselves behind early leaders Dortmund only by virtue of goal difference. Another factor that has to be taken into account is Bayern’s undoubted European pedigree. Last year’s exploits are fresh in everyone’s memories and though Jupp Heynckes has subsequently retired, in Guardiola they have a man who sure knows his way around Europe’s elite competition.
City’s blue moon has been rising in England for a few years now, however they’ve flattered to deceive in Europe. This was perhaps the single biggest factor in the sacking of Roberto Mancini and his replacement Pellegrini will be looking to fare better than his predecessor. City’s start to the season has understandably been a bit slow with both new on- and off-field personnel. They’ve garnered 10 points out of a possible 18 in the league (3 of which came in a scintillating 4-1 win over rivals Manchester United).
As mentioned above, a win for either side will do their hopes of topping the group no harm whatsoever. The game will be host to plenty of intriguing mini-battles, starting with the 2 managers. Pellegrini has never won a game against Guardiola (an unflattering record of 7-0 in terms of wins in favour of the latter), a record that he’d dearly like to set right. On the pitch, Navas vs Alaba and Schweinsteiger vs Toure are ones to watch out for.
Who do you think will win this one? Let us know by dropping a comment below. Make sure you follow us onTwitter @OOTB_football and like us on Facebook. We’re on Google+ and Tumblr as well for those interested.
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