Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany views Wednesday’s encounter with Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena as another chance to show they belong at the true elite of the European game. The two teams also met in the Champions League group stage last season, when City secured an impressive 3-2 win in Germany and reached the knockout phase of the competition for the first time. But, having fallen short in the next round against Barcelona, City are still looking to make a major mark on the continent, despite winning their second Premier League title in three years last season.
“It is a pleasure to come here,” Kompany said of visiting the Allianz Arena, according to Uefa.com. “It is always a chance to prove ourselves. There are probably not many harder places to come to. Bayern are one of the best clubs in the world. It is the time to close the gap between us and those three or four best clubs in the world. It is a good thing to start with such a game. But it is just the first step in the group stage. It is an important game.”
Manchester City have made the trip to Munich without Stevan Jovetic, who is still recovering from a hamstring injury picked up while on international duty with Montenegro, as well as the suspended Pablo Zabaleta. They will also be without the influence of their coach during the match. Manuel Pellegrini is serving the final match of a suspension handed down by UEFA for his criticizing of Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson after City’s defeat to Barcelona in the first leg of their last 16 tie last season.
His counterpart, Pep Guardiola, will be on the sidelines and will be eager for his side to show that they have recovered and learned the lessons from Bayern’s chastening defeat to Real Madrid in the semifinals of the Champions League last season. The champions of 2013 had been favored by many to retain the trophy, but were torn apart by the eventual winners at home in the second leg to lose 4-0 on the night and 5-0 on aggregate.
“You always have to move forward,” Guardiola said, reports Uefa.com. “We played well in Madrid, but at home we played bad. Anyhow, in the last three to four years we have always been in the semi-finals. In football, like in all other sports, you have big wins and big defeats. This is part of the game and you have to learn from it.”
Guardiola has a host of injury problems with which to contend as Bayern begin their quest to progress from a tough group that also contains Roma and CSKA Moscow. Already missing Javi Martinez with a long-term injury, Holger Badstuber’s return from 20 months out has been cut short after he tore muscle tendons in his thigh. Meanwhile, Franck Ribery, who made his return off the bench to score in a 2-0 win over Stuttgart on Saturday, is again unavailable with a knee ligament problem. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thiago Alcantara and Rafinha are also ruled out, although Arjen Robben is back in contention.
D: Lahm, Dante, Boateng, Bernat
M: Gaudino, Alonso, Alaba
F: Müller, Lewandowski, Götze
D: Sagna, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy
M: Toure, Fernandinho
Navas, Silva, Milner
Kickoff time: 2.45 p.m. ET
TV channel: Fox Sports 1