Boosted by the return of Wayne Rooney, the scene is set for underdogs Manchester United to sensationally dump out reigning European champions Bayern Munich when the meet at the Allianz Arena for their quarter-final second leg.
As far as the odds compilers at Ladbrokes are concerned, United are the rank outsiders to join Chelsea and Real Madrid in the semi finals of the Champions League, despite holding Bayern to a single away goal at Old Trafford.
However, there is plenty of reason to believe the Red Devils can pull off a supreme scalp and qualify at a deliciously plump price of 9/2, as opposed to the slim-picking returns of 1/7 on Bayern.
Those who see no rhyme or reason for this United side to cause an upset against the Bundesliga champions on their own patch can get slightly more joy out of a straight-up 3/10 on the home win, but hear the evidence to the contrary first.
First and foremost is the German club’s apparent psychological block against English visitors in recent times – where Bayern have failed to beat any of the last four Premier League clubs faced in Munich.
A score-draw will at least force extra time for United, but could be enough to send them through.
This season alone, neighbours City were at their noisiest when coming from two goals down in the group stages to inflict a 3-2 defeat on Pep Guardiola’s stars, while Arsenal performed similar counter-attacking heroics in keeping them to a 1-1 scoreline in the last round.
A similar backs-to-the-wall display will be required for sure, but David Moyes’ side showed they have both the resilience to soak up swathes of pressure and crucially, the pace to worry the Bavarians on the break during the first leg.
Rooney’s presence cannot be underestimated either. He’s a true on-pitch leader and given Bayern are missing defensive midfield lynchpin Javi Maritnez, suspended Bastian Schweinsteiger and the guile of Thiago Alcantara, the hosts’ centre is that much softer.
If United can get Danny Welbeck – a 9/2 shot to score at any time – in behind with his pace again, a landmark Moyes moment could be in the offing.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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