Man Utd can upset odds and go through, but expect score draw
Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola prides himself on having a strong midfield in his starting lineups, having boasted some of the best talent in the world whilst at Barcelona and his current club.
However, the Spaniard will be more nervous than the odds and season stats suggest ahead of his side’s Champions League second leg battle with Manchester United. Key players Thiago Alcantara (injured), Javi Martinez, and vice-captain and club hero Bastian Schweinsteiger all miss the game, with the latter duo suspended.
That means the competition favourites (7/4) will likely start with Philipp Lahm in the defensive midfield role behind Toni Kroos, with Mario Gotze in the hole supporting the wingers and striker, as they look to take advantage of the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford. In 11 European knockout occasions drawing the first leg by that scoreline, Bayern have incredibly progressed to the next stage in all of those.
United (33/1 tournament chances) are arguably playing their worst football in terms of style and results for the last 20 years at least, and are currently in seventh place in the Premier League. However, they still hold a flicker of hope as they travel to the Allianz Arena.
On the road, the Red Devils surprisingly boast the best record in the league. They have won their last four domestic away games to nil, and are priced at a very enticing 20/1 to do so again.
Although many punters may believe that feat is very unachievable, the Germans’ morale certainly took a hit in their last Bundesliga game, as they tasted defeat in the league for the first time in 54 matches, against mid-table side Augsburg 1-0.
Bayern did field a largely weakened XI, but the likes of first teamers Schweinsteiger, Martinez, Gotze, Kroos, Manuel Neuer, Mario Mandzukic, David Alaba and Thomas Muller still featured.
The Bundesliga champions are still heavy odds-on favourites both to win in 90 minutes (2/7) and qualify to the semis (1/8), but will come up against a United side with nothing else to play for this season.
Whilst a victory for the English team is perhaps pushing their luck a bit at 10/1, a draw (5/1) is certainly a feasible achievement. Bayern, who have conceded five in their last three league games, will have to contain a recently confident United – three straight wins in the Premier League with 10 goals – and a scoreline of 2-2 (odds of 25/1) is a good bet to make.
That precise result would also see David Moyes’ men reach the semi-finals, in which they are priced at 11/2 to do so. United have scored in their last 15 Champions League games against German club, including nine in total this season against Bayer Leverkusen in the group stages.
Scotsman Moyes will be pleased to see Wayne Rooney training, and hopes he will start. The England star can be backed at 11/4 to net anytime, and continue his fine form of six goals in his last six league games.
Ashley Young and Patrice Evra, meanwhile, are doubts, and Juan Mata, a two-goal hero against Newcastle United, is cup-tied. Robin van Persie remains out.
For Bayern, you can back Muller, who has four gaols in nine Champions League appearances this campaign to net again anytime at 6/5. Season top scorer in all competitions Mandzukic, meanwhile – 22 in 39 – is odds-on at 10/11.