Nevertheless, coach Pep Guardiola insists his side will take nothing for granted, despite his team’s seeming invincibility and the frailties Tuesday’s hosts have shown over the course of the season.
’United can beat us’
“No coach wants to have the pressure [of being favourites], but that’s what we are,” said the Catalan at his pre-match press conference. “Last season Bayern won everything going and now we’ve won the Bundesliga with seven matches to spare. It would be impossible to say anyone else was favourite.”
Unlikely as it may seem in the present climate - the hosts are seventh in the Premier League table, 17 points off top spot - Guardiola insisted the English champions would pose a threat: “I know what Manchester United’s qualities are and they can beat us over two games. That’s the truth.” In order to avoid such a scenario, Guardiola will set up his team to focus on their possession-based game with increased intensity at Old Trafford: “Against English teams it’s important to keep the ball for as long as possible because they can always be dangerous when they have it, especially at set-pieces. We’ll have to show how good we are.”
‘We’re here to win’
That Bayern will be deprived of Thiago, who damaged knee ligaments against 1899 Hoffenheim on Saturday, was a setback Guardiola did not try to dress up: “It’s a problem for us that he’s missing. His attitude in always wanting to be the best makes him an outstanding player.” Brazilian centre-back Dante will likewise be a spectator after earning a third yellow card in the competition against Arsenal FC in the previous round, meaning he is suspended.
However, the Bavarians are more than able of compensating for those losses, with Bastian Schweinsteiger insisting the side are only thinking about victory. “It’s always nice to win a title, but all the players here are greedy and want to win more. Even in training when it’s 11 vs 11 nobody wants to lose. We’re here to win, although we know it’ll be tough.”
Manchester United: De Gea - Jones, Vidic, Ferdinand, Büttner - Valencia, Fletcher, Fellaini, Young - Kagawa - Rooney
Bayern: Neuer - Rafinha, Boateng, Martinez, Alaba - Lahm, Schweinsteiger - Robben, Kroos, Ribery - Götze