Last Word on Football previews and offers a prediction for Manchester United vs Bayern Munich at Old Trafford in a vital Champions League clash at Old Trafford.

Red Devils Stumble Into Another Crisis After Heavy Bournemouth Defeat

This season is on the verge of becoming a write-off for Erik ten Hag. A suggestion of crisis has followed the club throughout the start of the season, stories off-the-field making the headlines and poor performances following strong showings as was the case the past week.

There were reports about the Dutch coach losing the dressing room but the energetic showing against Chelsea displayed that some players were still fighting for their manager. The joy was to be short-lived, however, as the 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford to Bournemouth was nothing short of a horror show.

The players were passive and were undone by sharp, intense pressing and counter-attack play from the Cherries. Dominic Solanke ran the back-line ragged throughout while Marcus Tavernier’s excellent crosses exposed a real fragility in Diogo Dalot’s defensive positioning.

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Despite United dominating possession, they displayed no creativity in forward areas with Anthony Martial in particular struggling to make in impact. The Red Devils have been shown to be fragile and suffer against any organised side with a clear identity, whether it be FC Copenhagen, Manchester City, Bournemouth or even Nottingham Forest, who gave them a scare at the City Ground earlier this season.

Their poor form and underdog status for this game may work in their favour when Bayern Munich visit Old Trafford, with very few expecting the Red Devils to be able to match the German giants after the weekend’s Premier League display.

After Bayern Munich’s visit, Manchester United travel to Anfield and the London Stadium, with a home fixture against high-flyers Aston Villa to follow. If the team cannot pull out some big results, there could be questions asked of the manager’s position, and not for the first team this season.

Frankfurt Highlight Tuchel’s Bayern Munich Are Not Invincible

Thomas Tuchel’s Bavarian side have been progressing into an excellent outfit under the radar in the current campaign. Bayer Leverkusen are steamrolling most teams in the Bundesliga and are taking some of the spotlight off Bayern Munich, who have won the last 11 league titles in Germany. The former Chelsea manager faces high expectations after being brought in to lead this team to a first Champions League trophy since 2020.

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However, the club’s impressive, unbeaten start to the league campaign and a run of six successive wins was brought to a shuddering halt as Eintracht Frankfurt beat Bayern 5-1 at the weekend. The display was similar to Manchester United’s showing against Bournemouth with Frankfurt efficient on the counter-attack and punishing some unimaginable individual errors.

The manager was lost for words after the defeat, labelling it ‘a strange game’ but admitted his side didn’t play well. Tuchel made multiple substitutions, including the withdrawal of both of his full-backs at half time as a result of their poor performances.

Bayern Munich have only suffered three defeats in all competitions, losing the German Super Cup 3-0 to RB Leipzig and being knocked out of the DFB-Pokal by lower-league opposition showing a vulnerability which will give United some hope that they can pick up a crucial victory.

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The German champions may be qualified as group winners but will be eager to bounce back after the heavy loss to Frankfurt as Tuchel will be looking for a reaction after fielding a strong team at the weekend. If there were any hopes of Bayern fielding a rotated side, it is unlikely with the German winter break approaching after next week’s midweek round of Bundesliga matches.

Recent Head-to-Head

Bayern Munich’s 4-3 triumph in the reverse fixture was defined by errors from Manchester United goalkeeper Andre Onana. That victory sealed back-to-back wins for the Germans in this fixture after a 3-1 second-leg win in the 2014 quarter-finals under Pep Guardiola. The first leg that year was drawn 1-1 at Old Trafford.

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Bayern Munich were also successful in the 2010 quarter-finals, progressing on away goals after a 4-4 aggregate draw. Manchester United won the second leg 3-2 at home with a goal from Darren Gibson and a brace from Nani, which wasn’t enough to see them through.

A red card to Brazilian defender Rafael was their undoing, with Arjen Robben netting late in the second half to help future United manager Louis Van Gaal guide his Bayern side to the semi-finals.

Manchester United vs Bayern Munich Prediction

Frankfurt’s win at the weekend may offer hope to United, but it may also fuel Tuchel’s Bayern to prove themselves on the European stage and end Ten Hag’s side’s hope of progressing into the last-16. The Premier League side needs to win and hope that FC Copenhagen draw with Galatasaray to qualify. Victory for either side in the latter game will send United out of the competition and potentially even out of the Europa League spots, depending on goal difference.

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However, very few would have predicted that Ten Hag’s side would put in the kind of performance they did at the weekend. It is impossible to know what team will show up and there is still a lack of output in forward areas despite some promising individual performances from the wide players.

Tuchel will be looking for a reaction and this could be ominous, with Harry Kane looking to add to his penalty in the reverse fixture and his 22 goals this season. It is shaping up for an away win.

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