Bayern Munich vs Manchester United: Preview, Prediction, Team News, and Lineups
On Wednesday night, European powerhouses Bayern Munich and Manchester United clash at the Allianz Arena in their first Champions League Group A match.
The two teams have nine European titles between them and last played in a competitive match nine years ago, when Bayern won 3-1 in a quarter-final second-leg game, while they last met in the group stage in 2001.
Bayern Munich’s perfect start to the new Bundesliga season came to an end last Friday when they were forced to settle for a point in a dramatic 2-2 draw at home against Bayer Leverkusen.
Alex Grimaldo cancelled out Harry Kane’s 300th career club goal midway through the first half, and Leon Goretzka thought he had won it for the hosts with an 86th-minute strike, but Leverkusen snatched a point in dramatic fashion when Exequiel Palacios converted a penalty kick in the fourth minute of stoppage time after a VAR review.
Head coach Thomas Tuchel felt his team ‘needed more bite’ across the pitch to get over the line, and the former Chelsea manager will be eager to put things right for Wednesday’s Group A opener against Manchester United, a team he has never beaten on home soil as a manager in four previous attempts.
Bayern have never lost at home to the Red Devils, winning three and drawing two, and Tuchel’s men will be confident of advancing to the Champions League knockout stages for the 16th consecutive year, given their strong odds of topping Group A ahead of Man United, Galatasaray, and Copenhagen.
The German giants have established themselves as Champions League group-stage experts over the years, with a remarkable 34-game unbeaten run at this stage, the longest in the competition’s history, and they will be looking for a record-extending 14th consecutive group-stage home win on Wednesday.
Following a difficult week off the pitch, Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag was hoping for a positive result and performance from his players last weekend, but the Dutchman was instead left with plenty to think about after his side were booed off in a disappointing 3-1 home defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion.
Danny Welbeck haunted his former club with a first-half goal, before Pascal Gross and Joao Pedro scored after the break to help a well-oiled Brighton machine cruise to victory against a disjointed Manchester United side, who have now lost three of their first five Premier League games for the first time in Premier League history.
Ten Hag has reiterated that Manchester United are not in crisis, despite sitting nine points behind league champions and fierce rivals Manchester City. He has encouraged his side to “stick to the plan” as they attempt to turn their fortunes around.
The Red Devils have back-to-back away games coming up, with a top-flight travel to Burnley on Saturday followed by a difficult trip to Bavaria to face Bayern Munich, against whom they have won just one of their last eight Champions League encounters.
Man United have only lost more Champions League games against Barcelona (five) than they have against Bayern (four), but Red Devils fans will remember the historic 1999 final triumph over the German club under former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, one of only two wins against the Bundesliga side in Europe’s most prestigious club competition.
Joshua Kimmich of Bayern Munich is uncertain due to an inflamed tendon and will be evaluated before kickoff, while Manuel Neuer (calf), Kingsley Coman (muscle), Raphael Guerreiro (calf), and Tarek Buchmann (hamstring) are all still in the treatment room.
Tuchel tried both Matthijs de Ligt and Noussair Mazraoui as defensive midfielders near the end of the draw with Leverkusen after Kimmich’s second-half withdrawal, but the German’s potential absence on Wednesday will almost certainly see Konrad Laimer start alongside Goretzka.
Former Tottenham Hotspur talisman Kane has scored four goals in four Bundesliga games this season, and the England captain will be joined in attack by Serge Gnabry and former Manchester City winger Leroy Sane, while Jamal Musiala, who has recovered from injury, will compete with Thomas Muller for a starting spot in the number 10 position.
Man United have been struck another injury blow, as Aaron Wan-Bissaka is projected to miss “several weeks” after suffering an unexplained injury against Brighton; Diogo Dalot will thus start at right-back.
Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia (all muscle), Mason Mount (hamstring), Sofyan Amrabat (back), Tom Heaton (calf), Amad Diallo (knee), and Kobbie Mainoo (ankle) are all out, but Ten Hag said at least one of them might return on Wednesday.
However, Antony will be absent ‘until further notice’ due to assault claims made against him, while Jadon Sancho is also unavailable after being barred from first-team training following his social media rant at Ten Hag.
Following the failure of a 4-4-2 diamond formation against Brighton, Ten Hag may opt for a 4-2-3-1 configuration against Bayern, with either Bruno Fernandes, Alejandro Garnacho, or Facundo Pellistri starting on the right flank.