Reds on road to success
United's European away form can help build the platform for the Reds to reach a fourth consecutive Champions League semi-final. Old Trafford surrendered its formidable fortress label when the Reds were beaten by Besiktas and drew with CSKA Moscow in the group stages last year. But away from Manchester, Sir Alex Ferguson's side have a 100 per cent record this season. The Reds have victories in Istanbul, Moscow, Wolfsburg and Milan inked in on their CV. And victory for United on their first visit to Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena in a competitive Euro tie tonight could also help steer the Reds to a third successive European Cup final appearance. No team has achieved that feat since Juventus in the 90s. The last time United were beaten on their travels in group and knockout stage games was to AC Milan in 2007. "We have matured as a team in Europe. You see our away record over the last two or three years has been fantastic," said Sir Alex. "It is now 17 games undefeated away from home and that is an indication of the team's maturity and understanding of how to play in Europe. "There have been some fantastic challenges in those 17 games. Hopefully that is the trend for us. "We accepted the challenge of the weaknesses in our game some years back away from home. We have addressed them properly now." In the group stages Bayern managed only one goal in Munich and an away strike for the Reds looks set to be vital. "Scoring away from home is without doubt a big advantage and we must try to do that," added the Reds boss. "I remember coming here with Aberdeen and drawing 0-0 in a quarter-final tie in 1983 and everyone was delighted apart from me. I just sensed the danger. "Although we managed to get through Bayern scored twice at Pittodrie. You have to score and it is going to be important. "But I think we are playing our best football of the season at the moment. "The return of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand to the back four along with Edwin Van der Sar has been crucial. "There was a time when all those players were injured and it wasn't easy and we were very fragile. But you can see the solidity now and you can see the experience of these players and it is making a difference to the performances of the team. "It is a true saying, `strong at the back, strong as a team' and we are looking very strong now." Fergie reported that Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand are fit to play against the Germans. But Bayern were unable to be so certain about their key men Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery. However, Fergie is still steering his tactics towards playing against the Dutch and French wingers. "Whether Ribery and Robben both play, I don't know but I have to plan to play against those two players," he said. "It is important to plan for those two because they are special in Bayern's set-up. We have planned to play against their best team. That is our approach. "If anything changes it is easier to adjust from playing their strongest side to their alleged less strong team." Between tonight's first leg in the Allianz Arena and next Wednesday's return at Old Trafford is the tasty Premier League filling with title rivals Chelsea on Saturday lunch time. "It is a big week. It is a massive week for us. It is two great games against Bayern and a great game against Chelsea on Saturday," said Sir Alex. "This is the time of year when you have to enjoy it. You hope you are not making any mistakes. "Mistakes will happen that can win games, as you saw at Bolton when we got the own goal. After that we played exceptionally well. It is going to be an exciting week."
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