Local confidence was flowing as lavishly as the beer as Bavaria's Oktoberfest swung into action last night but Manchester City's Yaya Touré has brushed aside Bayern Munich's nine straight wins, in which their net has not been disturbed, to declare that his own side are already among the pantheon of great sides in this season's Champions League.
Touré is the individual who can offer perspective where Europe's elite competition is concerned. He won it, with Barcelona in 2009 and it is City's marquee display of this season – the 5-1 win at Tottenham – which cements his view that Roberto Mancini's side travel to the Allianz Arena at the very least as equals. "I don't think there is a big space between us and the top teams in this competition," Touré said. "You look at the game at Tottenham, we played fantastically. They [Spurs] are a big team and did well in the Champions League last year, I think they got to the quarter-finals, so that shows we have a fantastic squad and for me this year we can do well. I'm just pleased we are in it. We can do fantastically well this year."
Mancini may rest Edin Dzeko and Samir Nasri with James Milner and Carlos Tevez contenders to start as City seek to achieve the win that Manchester United have failed to secure in their four matches at Bayern. "This game we need to win," Mancini said last night, conscious that an excellent opening triumph in Villarreal for Jupp Heynckes' side means they will open up a serious gulf ahead of City if his side fail to make an impact before 61,000 fans. The Bavarians are buoyed not only by their Bundesliga form, but by the fervent desire to be present when the Champions League final is hosted at their stadium on 19 May.
Touré pointed to the Champions League experience in the City ranks and Pablo Zabaleta was also bullish yesterday, despite the nervous opening 1-1 draw at home to Napoli. "We are ready to beat any team," he said.
It served Heynckes well to talk City up and reduce the pressure. "Manchester City are currently on a par with Manchester United, and that says enough really," he declared. "They are a top European team."
But a more accurate sense of the local self belief was left to Franck Ribéry, who is bang in form with three goals, plus four assists in six games. "Only Barcelona are a great team, but we are getting close to them," he said yesterday. "We are not too far away and anything is possible in one or two games. Since I arrived here, I have never seen as strong a Bayern team."Reuse content