Will Manchester United Beat Bayern Munich Without Wayne Rooney?
The Bavarians arrive in England carrying a slender 2-1 lead but will be pleased to know they can count on the creativity of Arjen Robben who apparently will play along with French star Franck Ribery who is slowly but surely rediscovering his form amid a season defined by injuries. The best news for the German club is unfortunately the likely absence of Rooney which is a massive blow for both the Red Devils and the neutral fan considering the great contribution and the scoring exploits of the England striker.
Manchester have shown they are not as lethal without Rooney and with Michael Owen also sidelined the scoring burden will be shouldered by Dimitar Berbatov who often fails to deliver when counted upon on the big occasions. Berbatov does not offer the energy and fight which defines passionate players such as Rooney. Sir Alex Ferguson must be concerned by the absence of Rooney but there are reports claiming the striker might be on the bench in case he is needed. The Manager made it clear he would not want to risk his best player and it does appear the Red Devils will have to earn qualification without the help of their prolific goal scorer.
This should be an interesting match considering Bayern are probably out to avenge the historic melt-down in 1999 which yielded the first Champions League trophy for the highly regarded Ferguson. Winning the first-leg might have given the German side a major boost but eliminating Manchester will close a painful chapter in Bayern’s European history. Had Rooney been fit and raring to go it would have been fair to predict a Manchester United win and safe passage to the next round yet in his absence the situation becomes rather tricky.
The Bavarians can escape with a draw or even a 3-2 defeat to emerge as the winners on aggregate score. No matter what happens this should be a spirited match with both sides fighting to ensure their European season does not end at this point. For Bayern this could be considered an over achievement since they were considered by the critics as outsiders while Manchester had lost Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer yet were doing reasonably well with Rooney leading the charge.
Both teams will be eager to advance since this side of the draw is friendlier with Barcelona and Inter set to clash in the other semi-final. The winner from this tie will play either Lyon or Bordeaux which is by all means an easier task than facing the current champions Barca or the improving Nerazzurri.