The irony was lost on no one that having battled back to send Olympiacos packing in the Champions League, any momentum the famous win gave was yanked away by drawing Bayern Munich in the next round.
That news pushed United’s chances to win the competition all the way out to 33/1, with many believing their last chance at qualifying for next season’s tournament had vanished.
If facing Pep Guardiola’s passing juggernaut, who have wrapped up the Bundesliga title with seven games to spare, was daunting enough with a full-strength side, then the depleted defence David Moyes will likely field gives this match the potential to be a mauling.
Patrice Evra is suspended for the encounter, thrusting Alex Buttner into the biggest game of his Old Trafford career against one half of Bayern’s flying wingers, Arjen Robben.
There’s major problems at right-back too, with Rafael being substituted against Aston Villa with a thigh problem then missing the subsequent training session.
Chris Smalling is a doubt for the game, as is sometime stop-gap Antonio Valencia, leaving Phil Jones to shuffle across from his recent occupancy in the centre to fill the young Brazilian’s shoes.
The ageing pairing of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic look set for a start at the heart of the back four, as Jonny Evans is struggling for match fitness having been out with a calf injury since February.
With Bayern scoring less than two goals in a Champions League game just twice in eight outings this term, the German giants will surely be licking their lips at the prospect of wrapping the tie up in the first leg.
Ladbrokes go 10/3 that Guardiola’s side streak to victory by a margin of two goals, while 11/2 is available on the game finishing with Bayern three goals ahead, both of which look cracking options considering the strife United are in at the back.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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