MANCHESTER (Sporting Alert) — Manchester United will face their toughest task thus far this season when the English Premier League side take on Champions League defending champions in their quarter-final first leg tie at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.
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UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTER-FINAL, FIRST LEG
Venue: Old Trafford
Date: Tuesday, 1 April
Kick-off: 2:45 EST
Live TV Channels and Streaming: BBC Radio 5 live, ITV 1, STV Scotland, UTV, FoxSoccer2Go.com, Fox Sports 1 USA, beIN Sports Arabia HD, SuperSport.
David Moyes’ side has been struggling in all areas this season, and many believe the reigning EPL champions could suffer a big defeat at home against a Bayern Munich side which has already wrapped up the Bundesliga title.
Nevertheless, Moyes still thinks his Manchester United team is good enough to challenge the German side.
“I think the pressure is equally balanced. We want to win the game as much as Bayern do,” he said.
“We go into the game knowing that on our day we’re as good a side as any. We have to show that more often but I have great belief in the players. I have said that from day one – and that hasn’t changed.”
Juan Mata, who is cup tied and Patrice Evra, who is suspended are already out of the clash while right-back Rafael (hamstring) missed training on Monday morning and is a doubt for the game.
Striker Robin van Persie, who netted a hat-trick in the 3-0 round of 16 second-leg victory over Olympiacos FC is also out with the left knee injury sustained, while Jonny Evans (calf) and Chris Smalling (hamstring) are also doubtful.
“We have defensive issues, undoubtedly,” Moyes said. “I won’t be giving out my team today. But as everybody is well aware, we will have to make one or two changes.”
In the meantime, Bayern Munich is expected to be at full strength with only Thiago Alcántara, who is out with a knee injury and defender Dante, who is suspended on the absent list for manager Pep Guardiola.
Guardiola is confident his team will come away with the victory. On paper, the defending champions are superior, but unlike many, the former Barcelona manager – in his first stint at Bayern – will take nothing for granted.
“We are up against Manchester United and they are one of the most important clubs in the world, regardless of their current situation,” Guardiola said.
“Just look back at the last ten to 15 years under Sir Alex [Ferguson]. They still have very good players.
“It is a great honour for me to be here again in Manchester – the last time was about 20 years ago [a 2-2 group stage draw in 1994]. I hope we can produce a good performance.”
On being labeled the favourites, Guardiola said: “Coaches around the world don’t like being called favourites before the game, but I can’t argue.
“I have to accept it because last season Bayern won everything and this season we have won the title with seven games to spare.”