Tevez to end four-year goal drought and start Champions League treble
Goal droughts affect even the world’s greatest strikers; Alan Shearer once went eight Newcastle appearances without a goal in the 2000/01 season, Raul didn’t score in 10 successive Real Madrid fixtures in the 2003/04 campaign and Thierry Henry failed to hit the target in his first eight games for Arsenal.
However, few strikers will have had a drought quite to the extent of that being suffered by Carlos Tevez, who has now gone 20 Champions League appearances, including qualifying, without a goal.
April 2009 was the last time Tevez netted in the Champions League. Since then, he has played over 1300 minutes in the competition for three different clubs and won a host of domestic silverware.
This record does bring some doubt to Coral’s latest enhanced Champions League treble, but Tevez is backed to add to his seven Serie A goals this season for Juventus with a strike
The Champions League treble is priced at 10/1 and requires Tevez, Robin van Persie and Thomas Muller all to score in their respective fixtures in the final round of group games.
Better news for Tevez is that Juventus have at least found the net in each of their last 12 fixtures in the Champions League group stages, while opponents Galatasaray have only kept one clean sheet in 14 games in all competitions.
Van Persie may not have scored for Manchester United in their latest Premier League defeat at home to Newcastle, but the fact that he made it through 90 minutes after a month on the sidelines is a positive.
The Dutchman did score in his only Champions League appearance at Old Trafford this season in the 4-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen and Shakhtar arrive here having conceded four in their last away fixture in the competition against the same opposition.
Man Utd may have already qualified for the knockout rounds from Group A, but a strong line-up is still expected to ensure they progress as group winners and to attempt to restore some confidence, after successive poor Premier League results.
This indicates that Wayne Rooney may return after being suspended for the Newcastle defeat and his creative influence would be a boost to Van Persie’s goal prospects.
Meanwhile, Muller has run into some goal-scoring form of late, hitting the target in five of his last seven Bayern Munich appearances in all competitions.
A 7-0 win at Werder Bremen is ideal preparation too for Bayern ahead of hosting Manchester City, with Muller scoring in the 3-1 triumph in the reverse fixture at Eastlands back in October.
Bayern have had more shots on target than any other team in the Champions League this season and Man City have shown domestically that their away form leaves a lot to be desired.
Manuel Pellegrini’s team would be in the bottom half of the Premier League if only away results were taken into consideration and if the likes of Cardiff and Sunderland can collect home wins over Man City, Bayern should have little problem doing the same.