As Bayern Munich prepare to take on Manchester United at Old Trafford, Arjen Robben said: "Its going to be a tough duel."
The winger was talking about ensuring the Champions League holders are professional in Tuesday's quarter-final first leg, rather than of the prospect of having Alexander Buttner mark him.
Patrice Evra's suspension means the United defender could be in for a torrid encounter when trying to shackle his compatriot down his left flank. Along the other corridor Rafael da Silva's thigh injury makes the right-back a major doubt, so Phil Jones could be handed the tough task of guarding Franck Ribéry, voted the world's third best player, as Pep Guardiola's side go hunting for a result that could make the return leg a non-event.
With Chris Smalling the other candidate to replace Da Silva, David Moyes will be aware that Guardiola could instruct his side to attack United's full-backs.
The United manager was given nothing away. "We have defensive issues undoubtedly," he said. "I won't be giving out my team today, certainly not to Bayern or to you, but we will, as everyone is aware, have to make one or two changes."
Buttner played in Saturday's 4-1 win over Aston Villa to try to get him in the groove to face Robben, the player whose 89th-minute strike in last year's final won Bayern the trophy.
Since 22 January Buttner has played only twice, the other outing a start in a 2-0 win at West Ham United nine days ago. The 25-year-old is a willing competitor but Moyes will be concerned about his rashness in the tackle. The sight of Robben offering the ball then making it vanish as Buttner lunges in to draw a yellow card or a free-kick in a dangerous position is a predictable sequence at Old Trafford.
Buttner also likes to attempt step-overs, an extravagance that can cede possession, a habit Moyes would be wise to curtail.
In his five Premier League appearances this term Buttner has a 77.8% tackles-won rate, compared with Da Silva's 85.7%. The Brazilian's absence could be as big a blow as Evra's. Smalling's 67.5% tackles-won rate and the 72.2% of Jones will hardly fill Moyes with confidence that either of them can subdue Ribéry on the other flank.
While Jones also shows a weakness for diving into challenges, Smalling is prone to being caught out of position, so if Bayern move the ball quickly along Ribéry's side United will be exposed.
In the Bundesliga and Europe the numbers put up by the Frenchman and his wing-partner are impressive. Ribéry has nine goals in Bayern's successful title defence to Robben's 10, each has three in six Champions League appearances. Both look to take on opponents: Ribéry has attempted 50 dribbles and Robben 40 in the Champions League.
Buttner, Jones and Smalling can find encouragement in 'R and R's' respective success rates of 40% and 50% when trying to beat the defender. Yet each has particularly happy memories of playing United at Old Trafford.
In the quarter-final second leg of the 2009-10 competition the pair combined for a Robben finish that made the tie 4-4 on aggregate and dumped out Sir Alex Ferguson's side on away goals.
The strike came from a Ribéry corner, of which Robben says: "I gave him a little hand signal before that goal and I could tell from the way he shaped to take the kick that he'd seen me. The ball came over, I stayed completely calm and cushioned the shot rather than blasting it. I wasn't surprised, because it clicked between me and Franck from the very first day."
If they are in sweet tandem once more, United's full-backs could be shredded and the quarter-final put beyond the reach of Moyes' team.