Wednesday 2nd October 2013 | Etihad Stadium |Kick-off 19.45 |Coverage on Sky Sports 2
|Referee||Björn Kuipers (NED)|
|Assistant referee||Sander van Roekel (NED) , Erwin Zeinstra (NED)|
|Additional assistant referee||Pol van Boekel (NED) , Richard Liesveld (NED)|
|Fourth official||Angelo Boonman (NED)|
David Silva and Sergio Aguero are both fit and available to face Bayern Munich. Silva has not played since the 2-0 victory against Hull in August whereas Aguero has picked up a knock in the Manchester derby. The only absentee is Martin Demichelis.
Mario Götze returned to the substitutes’ bench against Wolfsburg for the first time in three weeks but did not feature. Bastian Schweinsteiger is back in training but is not fully fit yet.
Pellegrini failed to beat Guardiola’s FC Barcelona as coach of Real Madrid, and nor did he manage it with Villarreal or Málaga.
For Bayern, this Group D fixture brings them back to England five months after they won the 2013 UEFA Champions League final at Wembley, and they will arrive level on points with City after beating PFC CSKA Moskva 3-0.
The clubs first met in the 2011/12 group stage, Jupp Heynckes’ Bayern beating City 2-0 in Munich on 27 September 2011 thanks to two Mario Gomez goals (38, 45+1).
The Bavarian club had already secured first place in the group by the time they met again on matchday six and although David Silva (36) and Yaya Touré (52) earned City a 2-0 home victory, it counted for nothing with Napoli winning the group’s other fixture to leave Roberto Mancini’s men in third place.
City failed to survive the group stage in their two previous UEFA Champions League appearances but have kept intact an impressive undefeated sequence at home in Europe which stretches back 20 matches to a 1-0 loss against FC Midtjylland in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup second qualifying round.
They were fortunate to escape defeat against their last German visitors, though, holding a Borussia Dortmund side including Mario Götze 1-1 on 3 October last year only thanks to Mario Balotelli’s 90th-minute penalty. It was one of their three home draws in the 2012/13 group stage and left them with a home record of W3 D2 L0 against visitors from the Bundesliga.
Bayern’s most recent encounter with English opposition was their UEFA Super Cup contest against Chelsea on 30 August in Prague. They won 5-4 on penalties after a 2-2 draw, Franck Ribéry and Javi Martínez scoring Bayern’s goals.
Besides their Wembley final triumph in May, Bayern also won at Arsenal in last season’s competition, Toni Kroos, Thomas Müller and Mario Mandžukić earning them a 3-1 success in the round of 16. They lost the second leg 2-0 but advanced on away goals.
Bayern’s overall record away to English teams is W3 D7 L6.
Bayern lifted the European Champion Clubs’ Cup with a 2-0 final triumph against Leeds Unitedin 1975, but have since lost finals to Aston Villa (0-1, 1982), Manchester United (1-2, 1999) and Chelsea (1-1, 3-4 pens, 2012).
Guardiola and Pellegrini met as coaches of Barcelona and Real Madrid in 2009/10, Barça winning both matches – 1-0 at home and 2-0 away – as they beat Madrid to the Liga title by three points.
With Villarreal in 2008/09, Pellegrini suffered a 2-1 home defeat by Guardiola’s Barcelona but earned a 3-3 draw at the Camp Nou.
The Chilean’s Málaga side lost all four Liga games against Guardiola’s Barcelona between 2010 and 2012, scoring four goals and conceding 15.
Guardiola twice led Barcelona to UEFA Champions League final triumphs over Manchester United – 2-0 in Rome in 2009 and 3-1 at Wembley two years later. He also lifted the trophy as a player at Wembley when Barcelona overcame Sampdoria in 1992.
Stats courtesy of UEFA.
David (Silva) is in the squad list—I think he can play at least some minutes. Sergio (Aguero) is fit, and he is also on the list.
I always expect a good response from the players. We started very well in this Champions League, and it’s very important for us to continue. We play at home against the most difficult team in the group, so of course we need a high performance from all the players, and I am sure we will see a very good game.
The game we are going to play at home is against the most difficult team in the group. We need a high level of performance and I’m sure we’ll see a very good game.
It was very important to win the first game against Viktoria Plzen. The second thing is to try and win points at home against a very strong team. We are in a very good moment, so we hope we can take the three points.
We are not thinking of a draw. Of course, if we can’t win, then it’s better to draw than to lose but we aren’t going to go on the pitch thinking of a draw. We will go from the first minute to win the three points.
I think that tomorrow we need to play 90 minutes in the best way, knowing that every mistake we can lead to conceding a goal. It’s very important we concentrate for the whole 90 minutes.
I have to say they were the strongest last year—definitely, we know that. They’re defending the Champions League, and we always wanted to play the big games, and tomorrow we have chance to play against the best team.
For me, it was very important to win the first three points against Viktoria Plzen. The second thing is to try and win our points now at home. I know that Bayern is a very strong team, but I think we are also in a very good moment.
We don’t have to think about the last two years anymore because it’s done. We didn’t reach the next stage, and I think we started this Champions League well which is important for the team.
I think my form is a tribute to the new coach. The manager is very important to a player’s form, and I have noticed a difference. I think for every player it is important he knows the manager believes in him, and it is important he has the confidence of the manager. That helps you to find the best form.
The last two seasons, without making excuses, the groups that we’ve had have been really hard. I think this group is still hard but is a little bit easier than the last two. We started off with a good win away and we are at home now so hopefully we can get another good result, but it’s massive for the club now. We won the Premier League, or scraped it by goal difference, and now we want to improve every year and it’s important we do that in the Champions League.
With the players we have, we should be there or thereabouts in the Champions League, but to not qualify in the last two seasons has been pretty hard for everyone to take. Now the team looks like it is gelling at the right time. We can go into Champions League games with confidence and I feel good this year. I think the draw is a little bit on our side and I just hope we qualify and see where we go from there.
Obviously we had a big disappointment at the weekend – I don’t think any of us saw that coming during the game. I thought we put in a really good performance and they didn’t seem to cause us too many problems at all – apart from the three goals they scored. It’s something we need to look at because we can’t afford to concede three goals in matches, but from a performance point of view I think we were pretty dominant. We’re eager to get on the field again and put things right.
We played them in pre-season and we know how strong they are and we also know how well they did last year. If we play like we did against United and Newcastle, we’ve got a great chance. We lost the game at the Allianz Arena but I think we played well and probably could have taken at least a draw. So I think that’s a good confidence builder and although it was in pre-season, it provides us with a great insight into how they play.
It’s very important to try and take maximum points from our three home games. If you can take nine points and maybe get one win away from home, you’ve qualified for the next stage. So if we can win our home matches, it’s obviously a massive help. Bayern have players who can score from all positions, but for me Franck Ribery is the one who stands out the most. He’s got all the ability in the world, is very sharp and quick and he goes past people and scores goals. He has a huge influence on games, but they have a great squad, full of good players and it’s going to be a tough 90 minutes.
City are one of the biggest teams in Europe: I’m confident they will get through this time. I know the coach and some of their players, like Silva, [Jesús] Navas and [Álvaro] Negredo, while Yaya Touré was with me at Barcelona. But they also have other great players such as [Joe] Hart and [Vincent] Kompany.
[My record against Pellegrini teams] is not important tomorrow. I’m really impressed by Manuel as whichever team he’s coaching he gets them playing the same way. He always puts his stamp on the team – he did it at Villarreal, Málaga and Real Madrid. If he’s never beaten me it’s because I was coaching one of the best teams in the world, maybe of all time, in Barcelona. I love playing against Manuel: his teams play football and keep the ball on the ground, I can’t wait until kick-off.
Last season Bayern won everything, but they already had thousands of trophies in their cabinet, so one more or one less doesn’t make too much difference. But I enjoy my work when my team play well, and at the weekend we won 1-0 but didn’t play well, so I wasn’t comfortable with that. We need to try and play well regularly, but it’s impossible to find consistency with only one midfielder: Toni Kroos.
That’s why I’m lucky to have Lahm who could come in and play that position, while it’s important players like [Mario] Götze, Javi Martínez, Basti [Schweinsteiger] and Thiago [Alcántara] are all coming back now. I’m so happy my team have been managing to win games without midfielders: you can still win games with the right strikers and defenders but you can’t play well without midfielders.
Manchester City have taken big steps forward in the last few years, they’ve won the Premier League and a few other trophies. I bet you this year they reach the last 16 for the first time and, if they do, they will be one of toughest opponents and maybe go a long way. I don’t know why but I have the feeling this will happen.
Compiled by Robert Toole