“Coming second is not an option” will be the sentence ringing in Bayern Munich ears as referee David Fernández Borbalán calls “seconds-out” on their Champions League Group D decider against Manchester City.
Die Roten have been in characteristically omnipotent form at Allianz Arena, where they’ve helped their -1 handicap backers to the readies on nine occasions in 11 matches this season.
Doing so hasn’t been merely a matter of defensive miserliness either, with at least two goals scored in 10 of those matches and three or more nabbed in three of their last four at home.
The Champions League lion’s den visits of CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen were among the nine wins in which victory was secured by a margin of two or more goals.
In the two-dimensional world of on-paper musings City’s squad is equipped to give the hosts their most thorough examination of the season, but Bayern have already aced them at the Etihad.
Meanwhile, City’s away form continues to falter – they’ve won on just one of their last four Champions League and Premier League road trips and last kept a clean sheet on their travels in September.
Already outclassed by the Germans at home, where they’ve been otherwise Bayern-like in their dominance of domestic foes, the travel-sick Citizens could be ripe for a hiding.
While Guardiola has called for a merciless approach, City puppet-master Manuel Pellegrini has indicated that a fair portion of his grey cells have been devoted to the upcoming visit of Arsenal.
Whether or not the silver-haired Chilean selects his side with that key domestic fixture in mind, he’ll be without Yaya Toure through suspension.
City are sure to lack their usual direction without the mercurial Ivorian’s hand on the tiller, as he averages just shy of 10 passes per game more than any of his colleagues in continental action this term.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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