Bayern Munich v Manchester City: Joe Hart handed daunting way back by Manuel Pellegrini

City must win by three goals if they are to usurp Bayern at the top of their Champions League group

Munich

For 10 of Manuel Pellegrini’s players, the Allianz Arena will be a fascinating experience – a game against the European champions with not too much riding on the outcome. For Joe Hart, it will be the Colosseum.

Any gladiator with Bayern Munich’s record of 24 wins and two draws this season would long ago have been given his freedom. Should Hart perform to the limits of his considerable ability, his return as Manchester City’s goalkeeper might be near. Should he be humiliated, as Werder Bremen’s goalkeeper was humbled in his own stadium, it would be hard to see where his career could go.

After Raphael Wolf had conceded his seventh goal at the Weserstadion on Saturday Bremen’s coach, Robin Dutt, remarked that Bayern Munich were indisputably the best team in the world. With Barcelona deprived of Lionel Messi and Real Madrid trailing behind Atletico, there is no reason to doubt him.

“For Joe this is a very important game,” Pellegrini said on Monday. “Not because of the past but because of the future. I trust him.” However, that was the only backing the City manager was prepared to give the man who, despite everything, is still in line to keep goal for England against Italy in Manaus in June. He insisted, somewhat bizarrely, that a press conference was not the right forum in which to discuss Hart’s future.

Given that Pellegrini will naturally prioritise Saturday’s Premier League encounter with Arsenal, Hart will have reduced cover. Gaël Clichy did not travel because of a foot injury while Matija Nastasic has also remained in Manchester. This is Bayern’s final week of the domestic season before they travel to Morocco for the World Club Championship and then to Qatar for their winter break. They aim to say goodbye to their miracle year of 2013 in style.

City have insisted they are not in the market for a goalkeeper in next month’s transfer window. When reports they were prepared to bid €48m (£40m) for Manuel Neuer were put to Pep Guardiola, the Bayern coach laughed. “No chance,” was his reply.

If City win here by three goals, they will top the group and avoid a menu as unappetising as any bushtucker trial in I’m a Celebrity – a round-of-16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain, Real or Atletico Madrid or Barcelona.

However, Bayern, who could become the sixth team to win all their group games, were gently warned by Guardiola: “I hope my players understand how important this game is for us,” he said. “Finishing second is not an option for Bayern Munich.”

Second will do City fine, not least because in Pellegrini they have a manager who has steered them through the group. “Thank God we have already achieved our target of the knockout stages,” said defender Martin Demichelis, who played for Bayern in the days when they could be held to a 2-2 draw at home by  Bolton.

“Manuel has shown what he can do with Malaga [whom he took to the quarter-finals]. We are on the right path.”

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders