Manchester - FC Bayern München continue the defence of their UEFA Champions League title at the Eithad Stadium this evening when they take on Premier League outfit Manchester City FC (kick-off 20.45 CEST).
Both sides go into the game having made a winning start to their respective campaigns and this heavyweight encounter could potentially have a huge bearing on the final outcome of Group D, where CSKA Moskva also play host to the Czech Republic's FC Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday.
Bayern will not necessarily have unhappy memories of Manchester, even though they suffered a 2-0 defeat there in the final group game of their 2011/12 Champions League season. Four wins and a draw had preceded that result, as well as a convincing 2-0 defeat of the Citizens at the Allianz Arena, and then-coach Jupp Heynckes also fielded a much-changed team for the return game in Manchester.
The Blues exited the competition at the group stage that season, as they did in 2012/13 as well. This year, however, the side coached by Champions League-savvy Manuel Pellegrini, who led Malaga CF to the last eight in 2012/13, will be a different proposition according to Jerome Boateng. “Man City are a more of a team than they were one or two years ago, when they didn’t really compete in the group that much," said the Germany international, who himself swapped City for Bayern in the summer of 2011.
“They have a new coach and I think you can see that in the way they play," continued the 25-year-old defender, who admitted he still keeps in touch with a few old friends in Manchester, such as Patrick Vieira and former Hamburger SV man Vincent Kompany. "We’ll have to keep a close eye on whoever plays for them. It’s going to be a great game and it’s one we’re all looking forward to.”
The game also marks a return to England for Arjen Robben, who spent three years in the Premier League with Chelsea FC between 2004 and 2007. “It’s nice to be back in England but we’re all focused on the game,” he said in Tuesday’s pre-match press conference, 88 days on from his winning goal against Borussia Dortmund in last season’s final in London. “We’re up against a very good team and looking forward to the challenge.”
Man City: Hart - Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy - Fernandinho, Toure - Navas , Aguero, Nasri - Dzeko
Bayern: Neuer - Rafinha, Boateng, Dante, Alaba - Schweinsteiger, Lahm - Müller, Robben, Ribery - Mandzukic