1 April, 2014 - 13:34

UEFA Champions League preview: Manchester United vs Bayern Munich and Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid

Manchester United vs Bayern Munich

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The classic clash between European giants Manchester United and Bayern Munich has an unusual savour this time round - the visitors and Cup holders are strong favourites, while the hosts have been struggling under the new manager David Moyes and would be praised for virtually any result but the thrashing, provided they show fighting spirit and ambition to hold the team who seem unstoppable.

The Red Devils will miss Patrice Evra through suspension and injured Robin van Persie. Defenders Chris Smalling, Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans all took part in pre-match training. Brazilian full-back Rafael is doubtful. Bayern midfielder Thiago Alcantara suffered a cruciate ligament injury in the last round of Bundesliga and will miss the rest of the season. Dante is suspended.

Pep Guardiola refused to rule out United chances and said:
“Manchester United are one of the world’s best teams. It doesn’t matter what situation they’re in right now. United have good players. These two games could be the best two performances of their season. They can beat us.”

David Moyes believes his side have a chance against defending champions: “We are going into the game knowing that on our day we are as good a side as any. We have to show it more often than we have done, but I have great belief in the players”.

The last time the clubs met was in 2009/2010 season quarter-finals, when Bayern Munich made it past United on away goals with 4-4 on aggregate.

Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid

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Another clash between the leaders of La Liga, this time on European stage. Barcelona get back to their best form and Victor Valdes, who had been ruled out for the rest of the season with knee injury, and Carles Puyol are the only missing players. Atletico Madrid will be without suspended Raul Garcia. Key striker Diego Costa is also doubtful after suffering a knock. The teams met in January at Vicente Calderon and shared a goalless draw. They will also have a last-day Primera clash at Camp Nou that could decide the title.

Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino believes his players will need to show their own game to make it past La Liga rivals in Europe: “The secret of the game will be to match Atletico in intensity so that they don’t overcome us, and our biggest strength will be to play like Barca always do”.

The Argentine specialist Diego Simeone admitted it would be difficult to beat the Catalan side: “Barcelona are in top shape. They are used to these kind of matches. What is certain is that we are going to compete and that it will be a beautiful tie.”

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Author: Leon Smolski

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1 April 2014, 14:28

To be honest, I'm a little scared to watch the game tonight... Hope United at least show teeth..

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