Preview: United must beat Bayern but Champions League destiny is not in their hands! Players must find desire to win…

Manchester United -v- Bayern Munich

UEFA Champions League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Tuesday 12 December 2023, KO 20:00 GMT

Manchester United face Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening – the final group stage match of the competition. United sit in fourth place in the group knowing that a victory over Bayern and a draw between the other teams would do.

However, despite the fact Bayern were beaten 5-1 by Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, the likelihood of United beating them and Galatasaray and FC Copenhagen both drawing seems unlikely but not ruled out. United could hope for a place in the UEFA Europa League though.

Personally, based on the clubs form, falling out of European competition would probably be for the best. United need to find their feet this season and get injured players back – until that happens, United will continue to struggle in any competition at this moment in time.

United – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Bournemouth 3-0 L, Chelsea 2-1 W, Newcastle 1-0 L, Galatasaray 3-3 D, Everton 3-0 W, Luton 1-0 W

Goals: 6 – Scott McTominay, 5 – Bruno Fernandes, Rasmus Hojlund, 4 – Casemiro, 3 – Alejandro Garnacho, 2 – Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Christian Eriksen, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Hannibal Mejbri, Raphael Varane

Assists: 5 – Bruno Fernandes, 3 – Marcus Rashford, 2 – Christian Eriksen, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 1 – Casemiro, Diogo Dalot, Jonny Evans, Alejandro Garnacho, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Anthony Martial, Lisandro Martínez, Scott McTominay, Mason Mount, Facundo Pellistri, Luke Shaw

Bayern – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Frankfurt 5-1 L, Copenhagen 0-0 D, Cologne 1-0 W, Heidenheim 4-1 W, Galatasaray 2-1 W, Dortmund 4-0 W

Goals: 22 – Harry Kane, 9 – Leroy Sané, 5 – Mathys Tel, 4 – Kingsley Coman, Jamal Musiala, 2 – Eric Choupo-Moting, Leon Goretzka, 1 – Matthijs de Ligt, Serge Gnabry, Raphaël Guerreiro, Joshua Kimmich, Thomas Müller, Dayot Upamecano

Assists: 8 – Leroy Sané, 7 – Harry Kane, 5 – Joshua Kimmich, Thomas Müller, 4 – Noussair Mazraoui, 3 – Kingsley Coman, Alphonso Davies, Jamal Musiala, Mathys Tel, 2 – Konrad Laimer, 1 – Leon Goretzka, Aleksandar Pavlovic

Previous Meetings & Connections

United and Bayern have met 12 times in the UEFA Champions League. United have two wins in this matches, one of them the treble winning Champions League final at the Nou Camp in 1999 – the other at Old Trafford in 2010 – but United lost on aggregate away goals.

Bayern have won five times with both teams drawing five times. United met Bayern in the group stages of the Champions League in the 1998/99 season, meeting them in the final. It was a close defeat for United in the last match – something they could have won.

Mark Hughes, Owen Hargreaves, Daley Blind, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Marcel Sabitzer have all played for both United and Bayern during their careers. Hughes was successful at United, as was Hargreaves and Blind.

Team News

Victor Lindelof (knock), Lisandro Martinez (ankle/foot), Tyrell Malacia (knee), Christian Eriksen (knee), Mason Mount (calf/shin/heel) and Casemiro (thigh) have all been ruled out due to injury. Jadon Sancho is still suspended so United have problems.

Amad Diallo (knee) returned to training during the last week but it is not yet known when he will be fit enough to be placed back into the first team squad this season. The likes of Daniel Gore, Joe Hugill and Omari Forson could possibly be added to the squad before Tuesday?

Serge Gantry (groin) and Bouna Sarr (knee) are both ruled out for Bayern in this final group stage match at Old Trafford. Jamal Musiala made his return from injury this weekend and Matthijs de Ligt has returned to training, however he has yet to return to the matchday squad.

Predicted United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1

Onana;

Dalot, Maguire, Shaw, Reguilon;

Mainoo, McTominay;

Antony, Fernandes, Garnacho;

Hojlund

Predicted Bayern Starting XI – 4-2-3-1

Neuer;

Mazraoui, Upamecano, Min-Jae, Davies;

Kimmich, Goretzka;

Coman, Choupo-Moting, Sane;

Kane

Match Prediction

United played well against Chelsea last week but capitulated against Bournemouth in what was a must-win match in the Premier League. It shows that you cannot coach desire. That is something this group of players do not have and that is worrying heading into this match.

United played well against Bayern in the UEFA Champions League in the opening group stage match, losing 4-3 and it was a penalty that made the difference as Bayern were not the greatest team in that match either. United have a chance to earn their place in this match.

It is possible, that if United beat Bayern and the clash between Copenhagen and Galatasaray results as a draw, that United will remain in the Champions League this season. They could also fall into the UEFA Europa League – but do they even deserve that?

Manchester United 3-2 Bayern Munich

Written by John Walker

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I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.