Munich - FC Bayern Munich had better prepare themselves for a tough battle at Juventus on Wednesday, according to a man who knows the Old Lady better than many. FC Augsburg goalkeeper Alexander Manninger spent four seasons as Gianluigi Buffon’s understudy, winning one Serie A title with the Bianconeri - and he has warned Bayern to expect a fiery reaction from Juve to their 2-0 first-leg defeat.

After spells in England and Spain, Manninger joined Juventus in 2008, playing a total of 27 times, usually when Buffon was injured or suspended. Training every day with the 35-year-old, and knowing Juve's winning mentality have taught him that despite the convincing manner of Bayern’s 2-0 win at the Allianz Arena last week, the tie is not over by a long shot.

Speaking to, the former Austria international discusses Wednesday’s clash of the freshly-crowned Bundesliga champions and the Serie A champions-in-waiting - and begs to differ with those who suggest Buffon is now a potential weak link in the Juventus defence. Alexander Manninger, were you surprised by how Juventus performed in the first leg in Munich?

Alexander Manninger: Absolutely! I think it was the worst game Juventus have played for a long time, but they know that. On the other hand, you’ve also got to say that Bayern played one of their best games. Everything came together for them. Do Juventus have any chance at all of turning things round in the second leg?

Manninger: Juve can play better football and if they show their true face in the return leg and totally transform their performance, I’m convinced it will be a close-run thing. Goalkeeper Buffon didn’t make the best of impressions in the first leg. You know him well - did that surprise you?

Manninger: It really didn’t go all that well for him, starting with the early goal from [David] Alaba's deflected shot in the first minute. That was a slap in the face for Buffon and his team mates. Buffon didn’t really look that great overall in this game, but then there’s the old adage that you’re the last line of defence as a goalkeeper and it only takes one mistake by the players in front of you, or maybe you're momentarily unsighted, and something like that can happen. So you don’t think Italy’s national goalkeeper is ready to retire? Or that perhaps he’s already past his best?

Manninger: Of course everybody’s entitled to their own opinion, and some people have expressed theirs already on this issue, but all I can say in no uncertain terms is Gigi Buffon is certainly not a pensioner! He’s experienced enough to know for himself what, particularly in this game, was good and what was bad. Hand on heart, would you back Juventus for the return leg on Wednesday?

Manninger: I don’t bet as a principle. The question will be how Juve find their way into the game. If they can take the lead in the first half, then it’s going to be a tough battle for Bayern in Turin.

Interview by Dietmar Nolte