There will be plenty for Manchester City to worry about as they entertain reigning European champions Bayern Munich in Group D of the Champions League, but their defence must pay especially close attention to Mario Mandzukic.
In a squad overflowing with star names, Bayern Munich’s understated Croatian striker goes about the business of scoring goals without really hogging the limelight.
After catching the eye for his country in Euro 2012, Bayern swiftly signed Mandzukic from Wolfsburg the same summer and during his debut campaign the goals duly arrived, as he helped the German side record an historic treble.
The Croat finished the season with 18 goals from 34 appearances and famously scored in the Champions League final win over rivals Borussia Dortmund.
And having started the season in fine fettle – notching five goals from just nine appearances – it’s no surprise at all to see Mandzukic priced the shortest of Bayern’s array of attacking talents to score against City, at 6/5 with Ladbrokes.
Mandzukic operates as the fulcrum of Bayern’s 5-4-1 formation and has plenty of good service fired into him from the flanks via Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, while Toni Kroos or Thomas Muller provide incisiveness from central areas.
Man City will certainly have to correct the defensive mistakes they made in their shock 3-2 loss to Aston Villa if they are to successfully shackle Bayern’s main striker.
Although they turned in a clean sheet against Group D minnows Viktoria Plzen, Manuel Pellegrini will be only too aware of the fact that City did not record a single clean sheet home or away in this competition last season.
Unsurprisingly, the hosts’ odds of keeping a clean sheet against Europe’s finest are rated at 10/3, while Bayern Munich are 12/5 to keep City at bay.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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