Manchester United 1-1 Bayern Munich: five Champions League talking points

Bayern Munich now know they have a contest on their hands after David Moyes dragged a decent performance out of his Manchester United team

1 Praise must go to Moyes for a creditable performance

This was not a particularly pretty match. But Bayern Munich now know they have a contest on their hands after the Manchester United manager dragged a decent performance from his team. David Moyes' pre-match assessment had provoked the odd guffaw in the press room when he wrote: "The players have played well and looked comfortable at this level, and on many occasions the way the games have been played has suited our players." For almost all the 90 minutes Moyes's side were the unwilling witnesses to a game of keep-ball in which Toni Kroos, Franck Ribéry, Arjen Robben and Philipp Lahm ran the show. Yet the cussedness with which United fought was testament to Moyes' management style on an evening when many predicted he – and his players – might be seriously embarrassed. To herald a draw at home for the 20-times league champions might seem odd but given how Manchester City were humiliated at the Etihad Stadium earlier this season by Bayern, this was a fine result.

2 Buttner the weak link in United's makeshift back four

On an evening that was billed as having the potential to dramatically improve the season for Moyes – if a decent result could be obtained – the Scot named a rearguard of Phil Jones, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, and Alexander Buttner, due to suspension and various injuries. Buttner was generally seen as the weakest link and he did nothing to dispel that view as he appeared out of his depth against opponents who were able to run round him at will. In the opening moments he might have allowed the ball out for a goal-kick but decided to try to control it, dallied, and was ultimately fortunate to clear. Later, Ribéry and Arjen Robben played a fast-paced one-two that found him wanting, though any full-back would perhaps have struggled with the way the two wingers ganged up on him down the flanks.

3 De Gea is giving Neuer a run for his money as Europe's No1

This was an evening when United's Spanish goalkeeper, David de Gea, continued the upward trajectory that may already allow him a fair argument with Bayern's Manuel Neuer over which should be viewed as Europe's No1. Of this rise, De Gea had said: "Coming from Spain it was necessary for me to change, and improve too. I've changed where I position myself when coming out for crosses, and aggression. The important thing is that the team plays well and we defend well. Then if I'm required to make a save I do what I can."

One neat illustration of this came in the first-half, from a wickedly curling Robben shot that had De Gea stretching as far as he could to his right to tip the ball round the post. That was a top-class save, and De Gea also appeared more composed than Neuer, who made a clumsy clearance when he was put in trouble by Rafinha during the first-half. Neuer could not be faulted when Vidic rose for a silky headed goal from Wayne Rooney's ball, nor could De Gea have been expected to get to Bastian Schweingsteiger's shot.

4 No goals, but Müller's night was busy and creative

Look closely and this was far from the quiet night for Thomas Müller that most strikers would be reported as having if returning scant efforts on target and no goals. But the man preferred to Mario Mandzukic as Pep Guardiola's "false No9" was constantly busy, drifting in and out of the classic centre-forward's berth to make the extra man in midfield his coach so loves. The sight of Ferdinand marking Müller, then having to drop off as he ran into pockets created by the constant movement of team-mates, offered a microcosm of the Guardiola philosophy. Bayern's No25 arrived at Old Trafford as a 24-year-old veteran of three Champions League finals and with four goals in eight Champions League appearances this season. He had chances to add to that goal tally here – first when Ribery got in behind, then when David Alaba blasted the ball across goal.

5 Bayern in the driving seat but a draw keeps things alive

In his club ambassador's column in the programme for this opening leg Gary Neville wrote: "In truth, for Manchester United to go through this tie, Bayern Munich are going to have to have an off-day while United are going to have to be at the level that's 100% of the team's capability … And then probably have that little bit of luck." Might Moyes finally feel the benefit of the fortune that has eluded him for most of a trying first term in charge? As this match entered its closing stages and the score read 1-1, Bayern were firmly in the driving seat due to their away goal, and they have the prospect of taking United back to the Allianz Arena next Wednesday to try and finish the job of knocking Moyes's team out.

However, United's players should board the plane to Munich believing they can achieve a famous result following a display that essentially subdued the world's current best side.

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