Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Man United vs Bayern Munich Key Battles

We pick out some of the key one-on-ones to look out for in the crunch game between Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

Rafael Da Silva (Manchester United) vs Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)

With Sir Alex Ferguson opting for youth before experience, Rafael will replace Gary Neville as the man to man-mark Ribery. The Frenchman was all over Neville in the first half of the first leg - running the veteran into the ground with his pace and trickery on the flank.

Rafael's stamina will give United a huge advantage, but the youngster will have to curb his penchant for going on attacking runs and leaving wide open spaces behind him.

If the past is anything to go by, Rafael hails from the Paul Scholes School of tackling - and he'll have to be very careful not to go in stabbing with his leg when Ribery is in and around the penalty box.

Michael Carrick (Manchester United) vs Mark Van Bommel (Bayern Munich)

Carrick will likely replace Scholes, who played the full 90 minutes in the first leg. The younger midfielder will be up against the highly experienced Van Bommel. The Dutchman was relatively quiet in the first leg except for one exhilarating run which culminated in Edwin van der Sar having to make a brilliant save.

However, the Bayern captain is incredibly versatile - capable of stemming opposition attacks as well as setting forth his team on the counter. Carrick will have to shadow him all over the pitch to make sure the indefatigable Van Bommel does not dominate the midfield.

Dimitar Berbatov (Manchester United) vs Martin Dimichelis (Bayern Munich)

Berbatov looks lazy. But some people think he does it to lull the opposition into a false sense of security. It might be sacrilege to say this - but on his day the Bulgarian is probably as good as Rooney in front of goal.

For his part - Dimechelis looked like the court jester in the majestic Allianz Arena during the first leg. His clumsy slip allowed Rooney to sneak in for the opener and the defender was constantly caught out of position from crosses and long balls. While he will most likely not have to deal with the all-action Englishman this time, Berbatov can make shaky defenders wish they had never been born.

The Argentinean will have to be on the lookout for the clever flicks, lobs and nutmegs that Berbatov has made a living out of.