Manchester United kept the tie alive with a battling performance at Old Trafford and although Bayern hold the advantage, Bastian Schweinsteiger was sent off and will miss the second leg at the Allianz Arena
Well I'm not sure many people saw that result coming and Manchester United can be reasonably confident going into the second leg in Germany. Bayern are still favourites, of course. They're at home and have the away goal, so United will require a victory - or a score draw that is better than 1-1 to avoid penalties. It is a daunting task. But United will be heartened by their performance tonight. They were thoroughly outplayed for long periods, but refused to wilt in the face of incessant Bayern pressure, made one of the game's best chances (missed by Danny Welbeck) and showed there is life in them yet by holding on for a draw that keeps the tie alive. What's more, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez are suspended for the second leg. Maybe David Moyes is The Chosen One. Imagine if he pulls this one off. Thanks for reading. Good night.
The match ends in slightly farcical circumstances, Manuel Neuer taking his time over a goal-kick as United's fans throw scrunched-up pieces of paper his way from the Stretford End. Eventually the referee decides he's had enough and blows for full-time. Warm if not ecstatic applause greets the final whistle.
90 min+2: Just before Schweinsteiger's red card Bayern appealed for a penalty, claiming a Rafinha cross was handled. It would have been harsh.
90 min+1: There will be three more minutes of being forced to listen to Andy Townsend.
90 min: Bastian Schweinsteiger slides into Rooney, brings him down and receives a second yellow card! He's off! And he's not happy, wagging a finger at Rooney, who tells him where to go. "Yeah, quite right, Wayne," trills Andy Towsnend, who would be spitting blood if it was a FAHKIN' FOREIGNER and United had been on the receiving end. What a parody this man is.
89 min: And then United break up the play and counter! Young drives a pass to Hernandez, who skips past Martinez, his fresh legs proving the difference. Hernandez would be away - albeit with a fair distance to go to goal – and Martinez has to bring him down. For that, he is booked and Martinez will miss the second leg.
88 min: Gotze almost prods a pass through to Robben but Vidic - I think - mops up. But Bayern won't stop attacking.
86 min: Robben tries to burst past Jones on the right but ends up being penalised for leaning on the United defender. United have not been let down by their makeshift defence.
85 min: Danny Welbeck, who has been a fair old handful, is replaced by Javier Hernandez. Could he be the one to poach a second for United? It's his speciality.
82 min: Mandzukic is booked for catching Vidic in the face as they challenged for a header.
81 min: Another escape for United. Robben slides a clever pass through to Ribery on the right. It looks like Ribery has nowhere to go but he manages to squeeze the ball across the face of goal, but Mandzukic can't reach it and the ball dribbles out of play. United allow themselves a puff of the cheeks.
78 min: Robben goes agonisingly close to giving Bayern the lead. A cross from reached Gotze, who had his back to goal. He was buffeted by Vidic but the ball ran loose to Robben, whose low drive on the run from 15 yards fizzed just the past the post. "Thank God Bayern have equalized, for a minute there I was worried Townsend was going to use up all the oxygen on the Earth," says Keith Sanderson.
76 min: Of course, this would be a respectable result for United, but one that would put Bayern in control in the second leg. Can United summon up a second goal?
74 min: While we wait for play to restart, Ashley Young replaces Alex Buttner for United and Mario Gotze replaces Toni Kroos for Bayern. I think Kroos was applauded off, United fans on the charm offensive here.
73 min: Antonio Valencia is extremely lucky not to have been sent off. He overran the ball inside the Bayern area and in his desperation to reach it, he flew into Boateng late and caught him badly. Already on a booking, Bayern demand he is shown a second yellow card, only for the Spanish referee to show some surprising leniency. I'm not sure why. That wasn't a malicious challenge but it was dangerous.
70 min: Valencia should be fine to continue. Though I must admit that my medical knowledge is limited. However the one-way traffic has resumed. Robben works it on to his left foot and goes for the corner, but fails to achieve enough curl, the ball whizzing wide.
69 min: Robben runs at Buttner, who refuses to crumble and eventually wins a goal-kick. He's played pretty well. Meanwhile Valencia is down injured. Play has been stopped. "I've had the realization that, just as Roy Keane was a walking symbol of everything great about that vintage '99 team--passionate, relentless, surprisingly technical--so too does Fellaini embody the spirit of this 2014 vintage," says Jerry Parks. "Inept, overwhelmed, and terrified of the notion that the ball might somehow materialize in front of him. Even his afro is representative of United's devolution to a 70s-style type of dinosaur football."
Will Bayern Munich score? They always score. And this is a fantastic goal. Arjen Robben found Rafinha on the overlap again and he crossed to the far post, where Mandzukic to head back into the middle for Schweingster, arriving at extreme pace, to bash an unstoppable, rising half-volley into the top corner with his left foot from eight yards! United's lead lasted eight minutes. Old Trafford falls silent.
66 min: Jerome Boateng shoots from 35 yards. Although it was a good strike, one that forced a decent save from De Gea, who held well, United will be pleased with that. But...
65 min: A high ball is tossed into the United area. Too high. But Alaba retrieves it and finds Ribery. In turn, he knocks it back to Kroos, whose low shot is blocked.
63 min: Bayern react, Mario Mandzukic replacing Thomas Muller, who was poor. If you can't see the update for the goal, press refresh. Our auto-refresh doesn't work properly for some reason.
62 min: It's going to be very funny when United win the Champions League. Whoever finishes fourth in the Premier League might as well pack it in there and then.
61 min: United smell blood. Rooney lifts a ball over the top to Kagawa and Neuer has to race off his line, dive off his feet and push the ball away. Moments later, Schweinsteiger fouls Carrick 30 yards from goal and is blocked. Bayern aren't used to this. This isn't on. This wasn't in the script. Someone's done something terrible to the script!
60 min: It's two years since Bayern failed to score in an away game.
59 min: Well, well, well. There has been a sense that United have felt they can do something in this half and now look. Their tenacity has been rewarded.
Would you believe this! Wayne Rooney swung the corner in from the right and it found Vidic unmarked, six yards from goal. But he still had a lot to do because the ball was behind him. No matter, he flexed those neck muscles and directed a wonderful header into the left corner. Neuer stood still and there was no man on the post! United lead! Old Trafford erupts!
57 min: Or have they? Robben counters down the right flank and finds Muller in the area. Back it goes to Kroos, who tries to place one into the bottom corner. Again it's blocked. United will not budge. And here they go on the attack again, Kagawa winning a corner on the left.
56 min: It's scrappy. It's sloppy. It suits United. Bayern haven't got their heads in the game in this second half.
54 min: Excellent defending from Ferdinand denies Robben. The winger fed a pass into Schweinsteiger's feet in United's area. With his back to goal, Schweinsteiger shielded the ball and then teed up Robben, whose hefty left-footer was blocked superbly by Ferdinand.
53 min: A cross from the right from Valencia finds Rooney, who heads straight at Neuer. It wasn't a great chance, though. He was leaning back and under pressure, so he could get neither pace nor direction on his header. But it fires up the crowd even more.
52 min: Buttner, who has been solid, creams a clearance into Robben's chest and the ball rebounds out for a goal-kick. The crowd enjoyed that.
50 min: It's been a low-key start to the second half. Ribery crosses from the left. Vidic heads away at the near post. "Chelsea 2012 had Drogba in inspired form, a burgeoning partnership with Cahill and Luiz and the dynamism of Ramires," says Nas Iqbal. "That Chelsea side had grit, a never say die attitude and a talisman in drogba. United have...?" The Chosen One. Duh.
49 min: Ribery is getting pelters from the United fans down in the left corner. They haven't forgotten 2010, when he was outrageously pulled back by Rafael, who received a second yellow card and his marching orders in Bayern's win at Old Trafford in the last eight. "Jose Bosingwa's a swill merchant, sure, but there's no denying he put on a defensive masterclass in the Camp Nou during Chelsea's 2012 Champions League run," says Jack Goodson. "And he loathes Harry Redknapp - that has to count for something."
47 min: Rafinha curves an excellent pass through a space that didn't appear to be there and finds Schweinsteiger, who has peeled away from Carrick and into the area on the right. But he's off-balance as he shoots from an angle and his effort flies high and wide. Carrick did enough to put him off in the end.
46 min: We're off again. Giggs has a groin injury, by the by. But here's encouragement: Shinji Kagawa won four from four against Bayern with Borussia Dortmund. "Surely Groß Sam would get Bayern to cross, but would they be proper?" says Daniel Staus. "A proper cross has a purpose, as opposed to crossing the ball because you have no idea what else to do with it." Not when the ball is being sent to Andreas Carröll.
Shinji Kagawa is replacing Ryan Giggs at half-time. Moyes is going for it! It's on!
"Boring Bayern," says Robbie Gringras. "They don't know how to cross."
I know a manager who could get them to cross properly. His name is Herr Sam Allardeutsche.
"Please can you confirm whether Herr Giggs has touched the ball in open play yet - I spotted a throw in and a corner.." says Daniel Miller.
It's hard to know sometimes when you're doing this – but no, he hasn't been involved that much.
"Tight European contests against superior opposition are made for a manager of David Moyes's innately cautious approach to football," says Simon Cordery. "Manchester United's mistake was not in appointing Moyes, but in appointing ONLY Moyes. They should have made him Manager-for-the-Big-Cup (and other tournaments) and hired Roberto Martinez to manage the Premier League contests."
"Re. Wellbeck chance: so THAT'S the game plan. David Moyes really is a football genius," says Matt Kemp. "On another note,I can vaguely remember Stan Collymore attributing his 'failure' at Liverpool down to the manager 'not reading the instructions' to an £8.5 million dollar bit of machinery," says . Did Fellani come with an instruction manual? If so, what did it say? I'm assuming Moyes left it on his desk at Goodison."
"If we had a footballer eBay system what would mbm followers (from any club, league, planet) bid for Fellini at the moment?" says D McCusker.
"All the talk about bayern having so much possession, having made so many passes," says Himanshu Yadev. "I think to be honest its a brilliant performance from a fragile manchester united and they had best chances in the half as well.. Football matches are not won by possession but only by goals, and united have a real chance to do a chelsea here."
"Any tax-related jibes from the Old Trafford stands or would that all be a bit too middle class?" says Ian Copestake.
"Jacob, whatever else you report in this MBM, for the sake of pure comedy you need to find out what Fellaini's first half pass completion percentage was," says David Flynn. "I've never seen anyone be that inept for a full 45minutes."
"Just did a wee bit of homework there," says Michael Durkan. "Fellaini is the tallest player on the pitch (including the 2 keepers), yet I haven't seen him win a header yet. Plus at 28 million, I'd expect him to have a better first touch than Emile Heskey. Surely even a half fit Fletcher with all of his ailments could do better than this. He'll score now just to spite me, just you wait and see ... Fletch and Kagawa for Fellaini and Giggs me thinks."
45 min: United have played better in the last 15 minutes or so. Rooney heads a ball down to Welbeck on the edge of the area. There's a hint of a foul on him by Lahm but play goes on and Valencia has a dig from the right. Deflection. Over. Corner. Half-time.
44 min: "Don't know what you have against Bosingwa and Meireles but that 2012 Champions league was their second," says Tiago Carreira. "They can´t be as bad as you say." It was Meireles's first. Bosingwa was last seen going down with QPR.
40 min: What a chance for Danny Welbeck, the best either side have mustered so far! Rooney was finally able to eke out a bit of space in the centre circle and he instantly slid a fine pass down the middle to Welbeck, who beat his man for pace, leaving him clean through on goal! He simply has to score but, incredibly, he tries to dink the ball over Neuer and it's a dreadful effort, the Bayern goalkeeper sticking out one of those giant arms to save easily! Oh my, what a chance, what a miss. What United would have given to have had Van Persie in that situation.
38 min: Fellaini is hilarious in this company. He appears to be addicted to giving the ball away, the latest incident drawing a very angry rebuke from patriotism's Andy Townsend.
37 min: United live on the edge again. Alaba plays a give and go with Ribery, breaking in behind Jones, and then flashes a low ball into the six-yard box. Muller is waiting but Vidic uses all of his experience to clear.
34 min: Bayern appeal for a penalty! Rafinha thumped one from 25 yards and Buttner blocked with his hands. How much did he know about it? I couldn't say. It was struck extremely firmly but we've all seen them given. "I wondered how many of the players David Moyes fielded today would be able to claim a place in this Bayern side?" says Marcel Enguehard. "Apart from Rooney who could come in for Müller (albeit in a very different approach) I'd have to say none. Wellbeck is quick, both in his movement and his coordination but he doesn't fit Guardiola's style. As for the others, they're just not good enough. I can't see Manchester United getting anything out of this clash."
33 min: United attack again. This is in the bag! On the right,. Fellaini cuts a pass back to Rooney, who looks to bend one into the far corner from 18 yards, only to see his shot blocked. But the rebound runs kindly for Bayern to break and United are stretched. Ribery dashes in from the right and then tries to set up Muller with a superb pass to his left. He must have eyes in the back of his head, this guy! Muller is poised to shoot but, out of nowhere, Jones arrives on the scene to deny him! And then almost falls over as he goes to clear, the ball nearly breaking to Ribery! What a farce! But, somehow, United get it clear. Oof, ah, ooh. It's a slippery surface.
32 min: Welbeck decides to emulate Robben and have a shot of his own but it's straight at Neuer from 20 yards. He's been United's best attacker.
31 min: David De Gea is forced into action for the first time. United fail to get tight enough to Robben but the warning signs were there. Robben was opening up his body and working the ball on to his left foot. Sure enough, the ball was soon curling towards the right corner from 25 yards but De Gea was alert enough to dive to his right and push it away for a corner. "Per Opta, Bayern had made 285 passes at the 25-minute mark," says Tracy Mohr. "United had made 68."
29 min: "As a Chelsea supporter, I take offense to any comparison of this United squad to the Champions of 2012," says Rob Coughlin. Why? That sqaud included Florent Malouda, Salomon Kalou, Jose Bosingwa, Raul Meireles and Fernando Torres.
27 min: A long ball down the inside-right channel has Welbeck interested. He's into the area and can spot Neuer, but the ball just won't drop quickly enough for him to shoot and eventually Martinez is across to quell the danger.
26 min: You could be forgiven for thinking that United are playing with 10 men, such is Bayern's dominance. United haven't been out of their half for a long time. But, if I have one criticism, it is that Bayern haven't had a cutting edge yet. You can see why they are signing Lewandowski in the summer.
24 min: Ribery drifts inside from the left again and, just as he seems to have overrun the ball, he dabs a delightful reverse-pass through to Alaba, who has space on the left side of United's area. But he lets United off the hook with a woeful cross that is struck far too fiercely for anyone to reach. He should have played that low across goal. Easy for me to say, though.
22 min: Ribery launches a diagonal from left to right – yeah, Bayern are sticking it in the mixah – and Vidic slips underneath the ball, allowing it through to Robben. Luckily for Vidic, Robben was caught by surprise and couldn't bring the ball under his spell. "I genuinely can't see Utd's game plan here," says Matt Kemp. "At all. Can you help? I'm not sure what they're trying to do. Have you done a head count of Bayern players on the pitch?" They're playing for a set-piece. Basically they're trying to do a Chelsea.
21 min: Bayern are completely dominating now but De Gea has not made a save yet. United are keeping a good shape. How long that will last remains to be seen - and when United do get the ball, their passing has been poor, Rooney the latest culprit.
20 min: Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Tackle. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. FELLAINI KICK. Pass. Pass.
18 min: Every United player is in their own half. Ribery decides to shoot from distance but it's an awful effort, sailing well wide.
17 min: A goal, you feel, is on the way. Robben and Ribery combine again, the latter releasing the former on the left, but his cross is hacked behind for a corner which comes to nothing.
15 min: All of a sudden, the pitch is sloped towards United's goal. In a bid to halt the Bayern momentum, Valencia boots Lahm up in the air and is booked.
14 min: A corner to Bayern, then. And then another corner to Bayern. Head tennis ensues. Boateng tries to force it home inside the six-yard box but is there a way past Wayne Rooney? No.
13 min: United might want this, but so do Bayern and they are finding it too easy to play themselves into promising positions. Unsurprisingly the United midfield looks clumsy when Bayern's clicks into gear. A cute pass has Robben running through the middle, straight at a backtracking defence. He can't find a way through but after a spot of pinball, he eventually has a swing. His shot is deflected wide.
11 min: A sharp intake of breath around Old Trafford. Franck Ribery finds space between the lines, ghosting away from Carrick and finding Robben on the right. He returns the ball to Ribery, who cuts the ball back from the byline, the ball just eluding Muller at the near post. It almost reaches Alaba at the far and he would have had a simple tap-in, but the ball is cleared just in time.
9 min: Bayern get cocky. Imagine such a thing! Boateng has the ball deep inside his own half and has nowhere to go, so he rolls a pass to Neuer, who decides he has far more time on his hands than he actually does. Soon Rooney is closing in from behind, forcing Neuer to boot the ball out for a throw. Rooney was very close to getting there and pinching the ball. United want this. But it will be hard to maintain this level of pressing and intensity, as we saw in those two finals against Barcelona.
8 min: Old Trafford falls very quiet whenever Bayern attack, which is often. There is a hypnotic quality to their passing. Robben - you're not going to believe this - cuts on to his left foot from the right, going past Carrick as if he wasn't there. He seeks the far post with his curler but it drops a few yards wide. De Gea wasn't worried.
6 min: United are bang up for this, though, and are playing with the sort of intensity rarely seen from this season. On the right, Welbeck produces a lovely dragback to nutmeg Alaba. But that's as far as he's allowed to go, three Bayern players stepping in to strong-arm him off the ball. "Pump your brakes on all this Fergie bashing," says Alex Amponsah. "He picked a great time to leave because the league is weak. City had a new manager that was new to England. Arsenal is Arsenal, likewise with Tottenham. Liverpool with their shaky defense would be a tough ask to win the league. Only the Special One and Chelsea were true contenders. Moyes should have given it all to win this season, because no matter how strong United gets next season, all the rivals will strengthen too."
5 min: Now Ribery zigzags inside from the left, bustling into the area ominously, only for Jones and Ferdinand to hold him up. Bayern are getting into very good areas already.
3 min: What a vibrant start we've got from both sides here! Bayern are at it again after that Robben attack, this time Ribery causing problems on the left. He finds Alaba on the overlap but his cross is too high for Muller. Buttner, a little shakily, clears and then it's United's turn to attack! The ball bounces around on the edge of the Bayern area and as it does, Welbeck nicks the ball away from Martinez and then wallops a magnificent volley high past Neuer and into the top corner! What a finish! What a ... ah, wait the whistle had already blown for a free-kick to Bayern, Welbeck penalised for a high foot. Correctly, as it turns out.
2 min: There's a cracking atmosphere inside Old Trafford and so there should be. It's a Champions League quarter-final after all and not many clubs get to play in those. We start at 0-0. But look here, Robben is scampering into the area on the right. He tries to jink past Ferdinand, before looking for Kroos on the edge of the area. Nothing doing.
Let's do this! Bayern, in navy shirts, shorts and socks, get the ball rolling, kicking from right to left in the first half. United should think of this as a trip to the dentist: it'll be over soon and Marouane Fellaini will have a shiny sticker that says "I PLAYED AGAINST BAYERN MUNICH!" at the end of it. Bayern are soon stroking the ball about busily at the back but look at this, Valencia is soon pressing high, swamping Alaba and conceding a throw.
The camera pans around Old Trafford, showing a mosaic of a red devil. It looks good. What a night we could have in store - if only we had the true Manchester United. But here come the teams, greeted by a huge roar. Do United's fans believe? Maybe not, but they're not letting on yet. "United! United! United!" they shout. They're doing their bit. Will their team hold up their end of the bargain? The smart money says no, no they won't, it'll be 2-0 to Bayern Munich after 10 minutes.
"Is Moyes purposely lining up an ageing team for showing Fergie what mess he has left behind?" says David Zengaffinen. "Ferdinand, Fellaini and Carrick in the middle are going to suffer badly against the German engine room."
Hang on, he signed Fellaini! Moyes took over the champions. They won the league by 11 points and he had a summer to get players in.
"A thought about one of the main causes of Moyes' problems this season - he said something a couple of weeks ago, ostensibly about how attractive United still are for new players, but in a backhand way, talking about how disinclined they were to leave once they were already at the club," says Patrick Cullen. "My interpretation is that players like Evra, Vidic and Ferdinand were told they weren't part of Moyes' plans during the summer, but chose to stay for one last season as champions, and the freedom to bag all the loot when they sign on somewhere else at the end of it. As a result, the heart of defence and the squad's most senior players are less inspired, less able and in my opinion less willing to perform as expected, on or off the pitch, and at the same time, any authority Moyes had undermined - a transitional season, but not one he's certain to survive."
That, plus a squad of serial winners were introduced to a manager whose public demeanour has been so negative. Moyes, above all, needs to remember that he's not managing Everton any more.
ITV's coverage has begun. Roy Keane is already set to SEETHE. But he says that David Moyes needs time to bring in player – "not that that's going to fix everything".
More Ronald McDonald news, courtesy of Justin Dinkha: "Just my own shameless plug! Ronald McDonald house is a great help to the families that have to travel from different parts of the country for some of the most critical surgeries and treatments. Also, if people are feeling up for it, you can get a bunch of your friends together and volunteer to prepare a “home cooked meal” for them at the house. I had the honour of doing so. Fed something like 30 families one night in Toronto. I’m a professional cynic, but even I was impressed with the organization, employees, and volunteers. Good thing I was actually chopping onions there…"
While we wait, marvel at Phil Neville's celebration.
Arjen Robben versus Alex Buttner. Somewhere inside Old Trafford, a United fan taps his mate and says "Hold me". "Only if you hold me first," comes the reply. "United have been in a cycle of beating mediocre sides in one game and then getting thrashed by a decent one in their next," says Simon Horwell. "And so it will be again tonight after we beat Villa at the weekend. Our latest “biggest game of the season” is likely to be our most humiliating. I don’t expect to go into the second leg with anything left to play for. The only glimmer of hope is that if Bayern put up a cricket score tonight, we may travel to Munich Moyesless. One can only dream."
We interrupt tonight's coverage of the football to shame you into giving to charity. Some fine gentlemen from the Manchester United fanzine, United We Stand, are doing what sounds like a fairly horrible run for Ronald McDonald House Charities, which gives accommodation to families of kids in hospital away from where they live. You can donate here if you'd like.
Bayern, then, are so strong that can leave out Mario Gotze and Mario Mandzukic, plus withstand an injury to Dante. Gotze and Mandzukic are only on the bench, with Thomas Muller's ghostliness preferred in attack instead. What a wonderful player Muller is. What does he do? Nothing. He does nothing. But he always does something.
Here to inject some optimism is John Jordan. "A strange fact which I have double-checked - the best away team in the Premiership so far this season?" he says. "Man Utd. 30 points from 16 games and a goal difference bettered only by Arsenal and Man City. This says a lot about the pressure on Moyes at home this season but also makes me wonder if maybe Utd are not quite as dismal as their overall record suggests. If they can hold Bayern at home tonight - a big ask admittedly - then possibly with the away leg to come second, they could squeak through? I'm not holding my breath, mind."
Perhaps but they have largely been fine against rubbish and have lost 3-1 and 4-1 at Chelsea and Manchester City. I feel that this from Adam Hirst is more realistic: "Heeeeeeeeeeeelp. Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp!"
And Justin Kavanagh writes: "Tonight's contest feels like a meeting of minds of two men of the cloth from very different football faiths: Father David Moyes, trained in the earthy parish of Merseyside, is offering up Hail Marys for divine intervention in his demanding new diocese, while the Dalai Guardiola long ago found enlightenment on a hilltop in Catalonia and is now spreading just his creed of transcendental meditation with a ball worldwide. They can meditate on it, like Johnny Cash advised, but United haven't a prayer."
On which note, Mark Gillespie writes: "I don't think Fellaini will pick up one yellow card, let alone two."
Hooray! But wait ...
"I doubt he'll get within 5 yards of a Bayern player all night."
On another note, I'm intrigued to see how long it will take before Marouane Fellaini picks up his second booking tonight.
David Moyes has picked a side that appears set up to stifle than dazzle and perhaps that is wise given their defensive absentees. Rafael is out, so Phil Jones has the unenviable task of marking Franck Ribery, while Patrice Evra's one-match ban means that it's up to Alex Buttner to stop Arjen Robben. Hmmm. The team-sheets have Danny Welbeck up front but it is more likely he will be on the left of a five-man midfield, with 40-year-old Ryan Giggs coming in to face the best midfield in Europe. Speaking of which, Bayern look, well, frightening.
Manchester United: De Gea; Jones, Ferdinand, Vidic, Büttner; Valencia, Carrick, Fellaini, Giggs, Welbeck; Rooney. Subs: Lindegaard, Hernandez, Nani, Young, Fletcher, Januzaj, Kagawa.
Bayern Munich: Neuer; Rafinha, Boateng, Martinez, Alaba; Lahm; Robben, Kroos, Schweinsteiger, Ribéry; Muller. Subs: Starke, Van Buyten, Mandzukic, Shaqiri, Pizarro, Gotze, Hojbjerg.
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (Spain).
Full steam ahead Lisbon! What a great time it is to be a Manchester United fan. The pressure's off in the league, they're embarking on an exciting new period with a new manager and they're in the quarter-final of the Champions League. Four more matches – four measly little matches – and they could be in the final, the chance to win Europe's most prestigious competition for the fourth time within their grasp. All they've got to do first is beat Bayern Munich and sure, it'll be tough against the all-conquering side that wrapped up the Bundesliga title before the clocks went forward, but United are coming into this bang in form, a 4-1 thumping of Aston Villa on the weekend the perfect way for them to warm up for this tie. Whodaman? David Moyes is a man! What a terrific time to be alive. Bayern won't know what's hit 'em but let me tell you something: David Moyes's Manchester United are about to hit 'em and they're gonna hit 'em good, right in the kisser if performances this season are anything to go by.
And now we've got all that out the way, it's time to return to reality, where the situation is rather more bleak for United. Indeed tonight might be the last time they see Champions League football at Old Trafford for a while. United aren't going to be qualifying for next season's competition via the league, that much is clear, and it is going to take the kind of stubbornness, togetherness and outrageous fortune that served Chelsea so well in 2012 for them to win it this year. If Moyes suddenly manages to strike a balance between defence and tactic, if David de Gea can be cloned, if Marouane Fellaini separates his arse from his elbow, if Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic are hypnotised into thinking it's 2008 and Wayne Rooney is told it's it's 2004, then maybe United can make a good fist of this. But the smart money is on this tie being over after the first leg. Bayern, the European champions, are surely too good for this not to be yet another ordeal for United in this season of ordeals.
In fairness, United have been putting on a brave face during the build-up. It's mostly for the sake of appearances, but still. Ryan Giggs, displaying the utter abhorrence of mediocrity that Moyes could do with developing sharpish, has given off the impression that he does not know the meaning of the word underdog. Fear is there to be embraced, used to your advantage and turned into positive energy.
Meanwhile Arjen Robben, Bayern's brilliant Dutchman and the scorer of the goal that won them the trophy last year, has urged caution. United still command respect, despite it all, and the danger of writing them off is that in the back of your mind, the fear's still there, waiting to come out, waiting to make us all look stupid. This is Manchester United we're talking about and that still counts for something. The muscle memory is still there. It has to count for something.
Or does it? The evidence of this season suggests otherwise. Other than when they beat Arsenal at Old Trafford, United have been embarrassed by every proper side they have faced. Liverpool won 3-0 at Old Trafford and so did City last week. The defeat to City was particularly chastening. All that talk in the build-up that United may be getting back to business after beating Olympiakos was turned to dust inside 43 seconds. It was like watching Manny Pacquiao versus Ricky Hatton in 2009; one punch to their glass jaw and United were out cold. It was just so easy for both City and Liverpool and with that in mind, what will this formidable Bayern side, with their brand of tik-und-takenberg, do to them? United are 6-1 to win tonight. They have never had longer odds to win at home. Their fans, those of them not gadding about ordering ridiculous fly-by banners, are dreading this, fully prepared to watch the full 90-minute torture through their fingers. United have never lost a European tie at home by more than one goal but, in honour of that balmy night in Barcelona, it is always tempting to Bayern to win this 1999-0.
In a strange way, that gallows humour could work to United's advantage. There have been signs of a siege mentality developing at Old Trafford in recent weeks and there is almost the feeling of an FA Cup third-round tie to this match, United the unlikely but plucky underdogs who must scrap, fight and JUST GET IN BAYERN'S FACE BECAUSE THESE FAHKIN' FORRINERS WON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO THEN. For one night only, Manchester on a Tuesday night must become Stoke on a Tuesday night. Does Moyes know any good rain dances? It's the least you'd expect from The Chosen One.