Bayern Munich vs Manchester City: Relentless Bayern to sweep aside distracted City

Bayern's Franck Ribery is one of the world's best players
Bayern's Franck Ribery is one of the world's best players

Bayern Munich are hoping to become the first team in history to win all six of their Champions League group games, and Kevin Hatchard can't see Manchester City stopping them, as the Premier League side have more important challenges ahead...

"Pep Guardiola won't allow Bayern Munich to relax, City will have an eye on Saturday's clash with Arsenal, and Bayern toyed with Manuel Pellegrini's men at the Etihad Stadium."

Back Bayern Munich -1.5 on the Asian Handicap at 2.226/5


Bayern Munich vs Manchester City
Tue 19:45 BST
Live on Sky Sports 2

Match Odds: Bayern 1.491/2, Man City 7.87/1, the draw 4.94/1

It says a lot about Pep Guardiola's drive and determination that despite making the best start to a coaching tenure in Bundesliga history, he is still not satisfied with his Bayern Munich team. Saturday's 7-0 demolition of Werder Bremen kept the Bavarian giants four points clear at the top of the league, and they have qualified for the Champions League's last 16 thanks to the continuation of a record ten-match winning streak in the competition. You would think that would be enough to sate most coaches, but Pep Guardiola isn't like most coaches, and he publicly criticised his players for making a sloppy start to Monday's training session.

Bayern will progress as group winners unless they lose to Manchester City by a bigger margin than the 3-1 defeat they dished out to Manuel Pellegrini's men on Matchday Two. That day saw Bayern toy with City on their own patch in a way that no other team has been able to do this season, and you have to give credit for City for recovering and securing qualification.

If that stunning victory wasn't reason enough to back the hosts, City's away form in this campaign has been patchy at best. Although City have won away to Viktoria Plzen and CSKA Moscow in the Champions League, in the Premier League they have won just twice in eight road-trips, and suffered four defeats. Poor defending has been at the heart of City's travel-sickness, as in those eight away games they have conceded 13 goals and kept just one clean sheet.

Another reason to favour Bayern is the scintillating form of French magician Franck Ribery, who has justifiably been put on the three-man shortlist for FIFA's Ballon D'Or. Ribery was unplayable against Werder Bremen at the weekend (although Robin Dutt's men were awful) - he scored twice, set up another, and forced an own-goal. In 19 appearances in all competitions, Ribery has scored 11 goals and contributed seven assists. He scored a long-range opener at the Etihad Stadium, and if you fancy him to breach City's defence once again, he is 2.47/5 in the To Score market, and 6.05/1 to be First Goalscorer. I'd be surprised if Ribery is rested, but it's worth keeping an eye out for the team announcements.

Arjen Robben also scored against City in Manchester, but he's out for six weeks with a knee injury. Mario Gotze picked up a knock against Werder and is 50/50, his fellow attacking midfielder Thiago is fully fit after a long lay-off, and skipper Philipp Lahm is back after missing the last three games with a thigh problem.

City boss Manuel Pellegrini has been cagey about his team selection, but with a crucial clash against title rivals Arsenal coming up on Saturday, he's expected to rest key players. Keeper Joe Hart will be brought back into the team, while playmaker David Silva is back in the squad after missing six games with a calf injury, but may not be risked from the start.

Matija Nastasic and Stevan Jovetic aren't fully fit, and I'd be surprised if Vincent Kompany plays, as he's just returned from injury with two sets of 90 minutes in the space of four days. The midfield will be weakened by the absence of Yaya Toure, who will serve a one-match ban.

Bayern have conceded just five goals in 11 home games this term, and Opta tell us they have the best defensive record in the Champions League, but City do have the firepower to trouble their defence. Sergio Aguero is in stunning form - he has scored 18 goals in all competitions, with 14 of those strikes coming in his last 12 games. His strike partner Alvaro Negredo is also playing well, and he has scored five goals in five Champions League games this term. In the To Score market, Aguero is 3.052/1, with Negredo 3.711/4.

Guardiola's Bayern have won all 11 of their games at the Allianz Arena, and I can't see past them making it a dozen. City are bound to have an eye on the Arsenal game, so they won't play a full-strength team, and they were comprehensively outplayed in the reverse fixture. Guardiola won't allow his players to take this game lightly (they can make history by winning all six group games), and the 11 players who take the field will know a bad performance could get them the hook, such is the depth of the Bayern squad.

You could back Bayern to win outright at 1.491/2, but I prefer backing them -1.5 on the Asian Handicap at a chunkier 2.226/5, as that bet has paid out in nine of Bayern's 11 home games.

Just one other thing to note - Under 2.5 Goals is trading at a hefty 2.77/4, which I guess is understandable given the attacking talent on show. However, four of Bayern's 11 home games have featured fewer than 2.5 goals, and if Bayern score the first goal and keep possession as well as they did at the Etihad (they average 69.3% possession in the Champions League), a low-scoring game isn't as fanciful a proposition as the odds suggest.


Recommended Bets

Back Bayern Munich -1.5 on the Asian Handicap at 2.226/5
Back Franck Ribery to be First Goalscorer at 6.05/1 (if he starts)


You can follow Kevin on Twitter @kevinhatchard


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