Following the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal draw, one tie stuck out head and shoulders above the rest: Manchester United vs. Bayern Munich.
With the Red Devils stuttering through the current Premier League campaign, but somehow finding themselves in the last eight of Europe, they now facing the reigning European champions Bayern to make the semis. David Moyes’ men have arguably been handed the toughest draw, but will be relishing the chance to knock Bayern off their perch as European champions elect.
Munich have been in ominous form throughout the 2013-14 season, with Pep Guardiola demolishing the old playing style which saw them win the treble last season… and somehow making the Bavarian club even better.
On their day, United can beat anyone. With supreme individual talents like Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, Bayern won’t be relishing a trip to Old Trafford in the first leg. But surely United would have preferred to play away at the Allianz Arena first, then bring the Germans back to Manchester for a showdown.
These two teams have squared off nine times in Champions League history, United winning just twice, drawing four times and losing on three occasions. One of those victories came in the UCL final in 1999 when United famously scored twice in the final minute to break Bayern’s hearts and win the title.
Can they break Bayern’s hearts again this season? Vote below to let us know, as United are the heavy under dogs vs. Bayern.
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That’s a brutal development for a club expected to challenge for a European place this season.
“I see a lot of similar problems in the team. The team is too much reactive. Of course it’s maybe a lack of confidence, but if you start the game well, 1-0 up, you need a bigger belief in the team and not going back and defending, and nervous, and not enough ball possession. In my opinion that’s a problem.”
A big problem with that? It can be put down to the manager. Is Koeman in trouble already?
There’s a danger in observing Lionel Messi on a week-by-week basis, and it has a lot to do with how he makes greatness look routine.
So while it’s easy to dismiss yet another mazy dribble through a defense, one of those “Frogger” style with calm-but-vicious cutbacks, try to consider everything that goes into Messi’s second goal against Osasuna early Saturday.
On first look, you might count 9 touches for Messi starting with his right-footed collection of the ball. But move to the slow motion replays, and recognize the truth: Often Messi is letting the ball do the work for him, essentially moving the duo closer to goal while he used his preferred left foot as a must-respect threat.
That he does it in such traffic and at full speed is incredible. It’s literally one of those goals in which a linguistic luminary like Ray Hudson would have trouble over-emphasizing the greatness.
Messi now has 11 La Liga goals in 12 matches, and 22 in 19 overall.