Date:Friday March 19 2010
All in all, it's a jolly good draw. We avoided Inter and Barcelona and though we've drawn a big name, we'll start away from home in the quarter-finals. Besides, said big name isn't in the best ever shape.
Bayern are strong. Ribery and Robben are of the highest quality and they are well placed to punish the weakness on the right side of our back four. But, especially with Bastian Schweinsteiger out of the first leg through injury, they have little quality throughout the team.
Mark van Bommel is a capable destroyer but even at his peak he wasn't brilliant and now age is also catching up with him. Darren Fletcher must be rated above him now. The likes of Tyimoschuk, Altintop, Sosa and Ottl are not names to strike fear into the heart of opponents.
Their defence is just as suspect as central midfield: having sold Lucio they rely on Martin Demichelis and Daniel van Buyten at centre-back, a pairing which always feels like an accident waiting to happen. Out wide Philipp Lahm is a quality player in horrible form, Holger Badstuber is enjoying a very good season but he's inexperienced and David Alaba is a huge talent but he's not primarily a left-back even though he had to play there.
Up front they have an embarassment of riches - on paper. But Mario Gomez is having a mixed season while Miroslav Klose is downright wretched. Ivica Olic is a good, pacy forward but he's no Wayne Rooney. Bayern's attack and goalscoring potential relies heavily on Robben as this season even Ribery is failing to live up to the high standards expected of him. But Bayern's greatest strength is surely the coach, Louis van Gaal who is one of the best around and could have ended up at United had Fergie not reconsidered his decision to retire in 2002.
All in all, it's a winnable draw even though they are strong and are putting together a good run of form in the Bundesliga without ever playing really well. They were very lucky against Fiorentina and had to be grateful for the incompetent officials who gave them victory in the first leg in Munich. Let's hope that United will be as confident and ruthless as against AC Milan and then we'll surely go through to face one of the French teams - and we would be overwhelming favourites against either.
A chance to take revenge on Barcelona in the Santiago Bernabeu beckons but we have plenty of work to do.
Date:Friday March 19 2010
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