Man United stretched for Bayern's visit

LONDON - With Bayern Munich due at Old Trafford tonight, Rafael da Silva's enforced removal at half-time was not what David Moyes wanted at the weekend against Aston Villa. The manager's defence already looks severely depleted.
After two goals from Wayne Rooney had answered Ashley Westwood's early free-kick for Aston Villa, the first-choice right-back felt a problem in a thigh.

While Moyes stated there would be an anxious wait to see if Da Silva could face the European Cup holders, the Brazilian was more confident. "I am OK. My thigh was a little bit tight," he said. "We just wanted to make sure I would be OK for Tuesday."

Moyes is already in near-crisis mode regarding his defence. Against the pace of Arjen Robben, he will be forced to play the unimpressive Alexander Buttner due to Patrice Evra's one-game suspension.

Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans are almost certainly unavailable due to injury, too. So, if Da Silva does not make it, Phil Jones will be shuffled across to right-back because Antonio Valencia, who can fill in there, is also a major doubt.

This would all mean having to field the ageing central-defensive pairing of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, both of whom have to defend deep due to their increasing sluggishness.

To have Robben, Franck Ribéry, Thomas Müller, Mario Götze, Toni Kroos and company pour forward in attack mode tries the smartest of defences, never mind a makeshift one.

Da Silva admits it will take something special to progress against Bayern over two legs to reach the semi-finals. "We have to do 200% or 300% to win," he said. "Everyone knows it's hard, that's why I am saying we have to play with real quality."

The 23-year-old has sour memories of facing the German club, who last week won a 24th title with seven games to spare. He was sent off at Old Trafford in the second leg at the same stage of the 2009-10 competition in a 3-2 defeat of Bayern that eliminated United, after a 4-4 aggregate draw, on away goals.

"We were 3-0 up [after 41 minutes] and that happened, I got sent off. But I learned from that. I hope it will be different this time," Da Silva said. "100% it's on my mind still. It cost United the match."

Buttner talked a good game when asked about the prospect of facing his countryman. "I know what Arjen Robben can do and I am ready for him," the Dutchman said. "I have watched him so I know how he plays. I have never played against him before and I haven't watched videos or anything like that to study him but I know enough from what I have seen to know how he plays the game. It is not under discussion how good he is." – The Guardian

Tonight (all 9:45pm kick-off)

Man United v Bayern Munich

Barcelona v Atletico Madrid


PSG v Chelsea 

Real Madrid v Dortmund

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