Moyes undaunted by massive challenge facing Man Utd
Manager points to success enjoyed by other British teams at home of holders Bayern Munich
Wayne Rooney attends a training session on the eve of the Champions League quarter final match between Bayern Munich and Manchester United at the Allianz Arena, Munich. Photo: Peter Powell
Manchester United should look no further than Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal – on two occasions – for how to execute a successful raid on Bayern Munich.
With the Champions League quarter-final poised at 1-1 after last week’s first leg at Old Trafford, David Moyes’s team need to score at the Allianz Arena tonight or they will be knocked out by Pep Guardiola’s team of pass-and-move masters.
Yet do not expect a gung-ho attacking mentality as United try to become the fourth Premier League club in succession to silence the Bavarians in their own house. Moyes will look at how these results were achieved and have his natural instinct to set up teams in hard-to-beat fashion, with an emphasis on counterattacking confirmed.
Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea have all beaten Bayern at the Allianz Arena since 2012, with the Gunners also managing a draw in last month’s round-of-16 tie. In all of these the story was how Bayern had superiority in possession and territory yet enjoyed no happy ending. Moyes believes this could affect them.
“It would be something which is more in Bayern’s mind, that the English teams have come here and got a good record,” says the Scot.
“They will have that doubt in their mind. They are European champions but they will have the games they have played against English teams in mind. We will try to use it to our advantage.”
Chelsea’s victory came in a 2012 Champions League final of cat-and-mouse that was goalless until Thomas Muller struck on 83 minutes before Didier Drogba’s equaliser presaged a penalty shoot-out victory to secure the trophy.
Arsene Wenger eschewed his penchant for swashbuckling play in Arsenal’s last-16 win in the 2012-13 competition, and the draw during the current campaign, and informed his side they should defer to Bayern then hope to punish them on the break.
In December Manuel Pellegrini sent his City side out in Bavaria with a five-man midfield and Edin Dzeko as the lone attacker. Going 2-0 down after only 12 minutes forced the visitors’ hand and was the catalyst for a famous comeback win, 3-2.
Last week Moyes did a similar number on Guardiola at Old Trafford. The Scot packed the midfield with Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs, Marouane Fellaini, Danny Welbeck and Antonio Valencia, the latter two being asked to protect the full-backs, Phil Jones and Alexander Buttner. While Jupp Heynckes was in charge of Bayern for Chelsea’s victory and Arsenal’s win, Guardiola’s personal score at the Allianz against English opposition is drawn one, lost one.
The Spaniard’s CV also features Chelsea’s 2012 semi-final win against Barcelona, when the London club defended a 1-0 first leg advantage by drawing 2-2 at the Camp Nou.
When Bayern’s record in their last four outings against English opposition is put to Guardiola he offers a clear explanation. “They are so defensive teams and use the counter action very well.
“That is why it’s always difficult when one team stays there just to defend, to wait until you make a mistake,” the 43-year-old says. “They come to defend and wait for the counterattack. Maybe I am wrong, maybe David Moyes thinks another thing, but I think they are going to wait back with eight or nine players in the box, await our mistake and wait for a free-kick or a corner to punish us.”
Bastian Schweinsteiger’s away strike means United must score. Wayne Rooney recalled the semi-final in United’s triumphant 2007-08 Champions League campaign: “There are times when teams are better than you but you’ve got to adapt the way you play to try and beat then. When we played Barcelona away, in 2008, I remember playing right wing, with Owen Hargreaves at right-back and we had Abidal and Iniesta against us. I remember thinking: ‘Jesus! I’ve got to do this.’
“It was a long night but we defended very well, got the 0-0 and won 1-0 in the return.”
But Guardiola is confident.
“We are playing at the Allianz Arena, so that is an important point. We have got to make sure we keep our form,” he says. “We had five or six really good chances there and Manchester United had just one for the Vidic goal. They didn’t have any other chances.”
Guardiola forgets Danny Welbeck’s disallowed finish and the golden chance he spurned when chipping straight at Manuel Neuer. If Welbeck or any United player can score tonight we could be in for a riveting evening.