The new edition of the UEFA Champions League is set to kick off this week with some intriguing clashes on the horizon. The most highly anticipated fixture of the first matchday in the Champions League is none other than Manchester United vs. Bayern Munich – two titans of the game, each with a rich history, will clash on Wednesday.
German champions Bayern Munich will host Manchester United at the Allianz Arena in their Champions League opener on Wednesday. The Bavarians have maintained an unbeaten streak in the league, securing three wins in their last four games. In a recent league match, they played out an exciting 2-2 draw against Bayer Leverkusen at home on Saturday. Bayern Munich has only suffered one defeat in their last 10 Champions League games.
While Manchester United are making their return to the competition after missing out on the last edition, they face a challenging away fixture at the Allianz Arena in Munich on the first matchday. The club is currently going through a tough period, having lost two consecutive league games.
On the flip side, things are not going well for Boss Ten Hag. The team is dealing with several injuries, and off-the-pitch issues such as a strained relationship with Sancho, who is currently barred from first-team training, and Antony’s absence due to an ongoing investigation on criminal charges. Additionally, there were rumors of an ownership takeover.
Manchester United have won only two of their last 11 encounters against the Germans, one of the most memorable being the 2-1 comeback victory in the 1999 final. In contrast, Bayern Munich boasts four wins against Manchester United, with all of these meetings occurring in this competition.
On five occasions, they’ve shared the points. Their most recent clash was in the quarter-finals of the 2013-14 edition, where Bayern emerged victorious with a 4-2 aggregate win.
When and Where?
DATE: Allianz Arena, Munich
TIME: 8.00 pm BST
VENUE: Wednesday, 20 September, 2023.
Referee: Glenn Nyberg
Assistants: Mahbod Beigi & Andreas Söderqvist
Fourth Official: Adam Ladebäck
VAR: Pol van Boekel
Assistant VAR: Alejandro Hernández
Manuel Neuer and Raphael Guerreiro are both unavailable due to injury. Meanwhile, Thomas Muller and Laimer are expected to be on the bench, with Kingsley Coman possibly starting as a substitute. Jamal Musiala and Noussair Mazraoui may start in the fixture, as Tuchel is expected to make a few changes to the starting eleven.
For Manchester United, Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia, Mason Mount, Raphael Varane, and Wan Bissaka will all miss the trip to Munich due to injury concerns. Additionally, Sancho and Antony are unavailable for selection. Sofyan Amrabat could make his debut for Manchester United.
Now, coming to the analysis of this game, Bayern Munich is unquestionably the favorite. However, Ten Hag and his team might just need a new challenge to rejuvenate their competitive spirit and attempt an upset against the in-form Bavarians.
With Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel serving his suspension, Arno Michels will take his place on the sidelines. The Bavarians are expected to employ a (4-2-3-1) formation, similar to their setup in their previous Bundesliga outing. This formation features a four-man backline with the center-back pairing of Kim Jae-Upamacano, while Davis and Mazraoui serve as full-backs. Goretzka and Kimmich will form a duo as holding midfielders. In the attacking midfield role, either Musiala or Muller may play alongside Gnabry, with Sane operating as a wide midfielder on the flanks, right behind striker Harry Kane.
Kim Min-Jae and Harry Kane, two new reinforcements, are also set to make their first UCL appearances for Bayern Munich.
Manchester United suffered an embarrassing 3-1 home defeat against Seagulls. In the loss to Brighton, Ten Hag experimented with a 4-4-2 diamond formation, which proved to be ineffective. Therefore, he may revert to the 4-2-3-1 setup against Bayern Munich, with a familiar backline. Bruno Fernandes will be tasked with the creative duties, while Eriksen and Rashford will be positioned on the sides in attack. Upfront, the new Danish international Rasmus Højlund is expected to lead the line.
Red Devils’ new additions, Onana, Hojlund, and the Moroccan international Sofyan Amrabat, have the opportunity to make their first UCL appearance for Manchester United. Along with, Casemiro, a five-time competition winner, who joined the team last season.
The England captain, Harry Kane, departed from Spurs to join Bayern Munich in a €100 million transfer deal on a four-year contract this summer. He was brought in as a replacement for their prolific goal scorer, Robert Lewandowski, who moved to Barcelona. Since then, Bayern has been in search of a striker, and it appears they have found the perfect replacement in Kane.
For Spurs, Kane played a total of 430 games, scoring 278 goals and providing 64 assists. He also achieved the runner-up position in the UCL in 2019.
The 31-year-old had a flying start, scoring four goals in his first four games for Bayern. He made this ambitious move to the Allianz Arena aiming to win some silverware. Kane is keen to lead the Bavarians and open his Champions League tally against a familiar opponent for his new team.
Another key player to watch in this fixture is the England international, Marcus Rashford. He has been featured in all five previous league games under Ten Hag, managing to score only once and provide one assist.
Rashford had an excellent last season, contributing to 41 goals in a total of 56 appearances, and was one of their standout performers. However, he hasn’t been in his best form recently. A challenging fixture like this provides a perfect opportunity for Rashford to shine, as his pace and finishing ability could pose significant problems for Bayern’s defense.
Bayern predicted starting lineup: Ulreich; Mazraoui, Upamecano, Kim, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka; Sane, Musiala, Gnabry; Kane.
Man United predicted starting lineup: Onana; Dalot, Lindelof, Martinez, Reguilon; Casemiro, McTominay;Eriksen Fernandes, Rashford; Hojlund.