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Bayern look for perfect 10 against City
Published : 27 Sep 2011 05:05:34
Bayern Munich are looking for their 10th straight win and the chance to take control of Group A when they host Manchester City in the Champions League at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday.
Bayern are on a nine-match winning streak, having won all their games in all competitions since Moenchengladbach poached a 1-0 win in the opening German league game back on August 7.
With Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer between the posts, Bayern have also not conceded a goal in those nine games and it has been 838 minutes since he was last beaten in a Munich shirt.
Bayern opened their campaign with an impressive 2-0 win at Villarreal in Spain, while City were held to a 1-1 draw in Manchester by Italy's Napoli.
However, the visit of City, who are second in England's Premier League behind neighbours United, is largely seen as Bayern's biggest test of the season so far.
Bayern warmed up on Saturday with a convincing 3-0 demolition of last year's Bundesliga runners up Bayer Leverkusen to stay top of the German league, but the match against Roberto Mancini's City will be a step up.
"This is of course another yardstick for us, this is probably our most difficult game of the season and the anticipation is very high," said Bayern vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Bayern are likely to include Dutch winger Arjen Robben, who proved his fitness after groin and back problems with a goal against Leverkusen, alongside France's Franck Ribery and striker Mario Gomez in a powerful attack.
Mancini praised Balotelli's attitude after coming off the bench to inspire City to victory.
"Mario didn't start for three or four games but he has worked well, did not say anything and he was waiting for this moment," said Mancini.
"He scored an important goal and now it is important that he can continue."
There is a degree of off-field animosity between senior figures in the two teams over the summer switch of defender Jerome Boateng from Manchester to Munich.
A draw-out transfer saga saw City hold out as long as possible to get the highest price for the Germany defender, while Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge complained City's tactics were disrespectful.
Relations have improved, but the episode will give the fixture edge.
"It's a real challenge for us," said Schweinsteiger. "We are facing a team with better qualities than us and also stronger individual players.
"So we have to show we can play against teams like this in the Champions League."
Bayern are certainly going into the game confident: "The team is well prepared, very motivated and I'm quite optimistic," added Rummenigge.
"Next to us, Manchester City is the favourite in the group, it would be nice if we can produce a good performance."
But Schweinsteiger has warned against complacency.
"Nothing has been won yet, it will be hard to beat us if we play like we did against Leverkusen, but we have to make sure we produce the same performance."
History is also on Bayern's side as the Germans have only lost once at home to English opposition in Europe after Norwich city poached a 2-1 UEFA Cup win back in 1993/94.
Bayern have won eight of their last nine Champions League home games, the only blip being Inter Milan's win last season in the round of 16.
Their last English visitors were Manchester United for a 2009/10 quarter-final in which the Bavarian side snatched a late 2-1 victory.