Wayne Rooney identifies Bayern Munich weaknesses that offer Manchester United hope of Champions League upset

United must overcome conceding an away goal to the reigning champions but Rooney saw enough in the 1-1 first-leg draw to realise Bayern are vulnerable

Wayne Rooney looks more like the next captain of Manchester United with each passing week. It has been he, not the customary Nemanja Vidic or Patrice Evra, who has stopped to account for many of the unjustifiable performances of the last eight months and it was he who detailed the Bayern Munich fault line which gives the club a chance to achieve what he admits would be his biggest result in Europe, if United can progress to a Champions League semi final, six days from now.

"They play a high line and with a little more composure we can exploit that," Rooney said as he reflected yesterday on Tuesday's 1-1 draw. "You can see there are chances against them." There is another weakness to exploit, idealistic though it would be to suggest that United can go to the Allianz Arena in expectation of the win, or 2-2 draw, that they will need. The weakness to the aerial ball, explored elsewhere on these pages, is one that Germans themselves seem aware of, judging by Jerome Boateng's disclosure that United corner kicks were something the European champions had tried to prepare for. "We know they're good at corners and we didn't defend well in that situation [when they scored from one]," Boateng said. "They have good, quick players."

Rooney will travel with a sense of indignation about Pep Guardiola's gesture which implied he had simulated a dive to get Bastian Schweinsteiger sent off at Old Trafford. There were clearly words between the two in the moments before the German left the field. "I don’t really want to say what he said, but I think it’s a foul," Rooney said. "It could have gone either way. He could have hurt me, he's gone in with his studs and the referee has booked him so it’s not my decision. It’s not nice to see anyone sent off and I didn’t try to get him sent off. The referee has made a decision. I’ve tried to stop myself getting hurt and the referee has had a decision to make."

 

The Germans feel differently. Matthias Sammer, Bayern's sporting director was indignant - justifiably indignant - about Antoniuo Valencia stayng on the field after his challenge on Boateng, which looked worthy of a second yellow card. "If you apply the same standards then I don't know how Valencia stays on. If the referee has a policy, then he must go through with it," Sammer said. "There's no question that what Schweinsteiger did was a foul, but with Valencia, there were also several fouls, including his outstretched leg against Jerome Boateng. At this level, you have to apply the same standards."

For Rooney, this line of discourse was immaterial, given that Danny Welbeck's failed clipped shot at the advancing Manual Neuer, when through on him early on Tuesday could have made the final scoreline more decisive for United. Given the video analysis on Neuer that the strikers have been put through, you imagine that Welbeck had some apologising to do at half time. "We have watched videos of their goalkeeper and he’s a bit like [Peter] Schmeichel [in] that he likes to come out of his goal, so it’s a bit disappointing that he tried to dink him and didn’t score," Rooney said. "But he will learn from that. I am sure if he gets a chance over there he won't do that.

Moyes: United will go 'toe-to-toe' with Bayern in Germany

The absence of Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez, also suspended, will help United, though Rooney's understandable desire to discuss the defensive qualities of his own side felt a little more like Manchester United talk, in a season when there has been little of it. Alexander Buttner, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic did much to rehabilitate United's tattered reputation on Tuesday night. "Defensively we were organised, defended really well," Rooney said. "We have got some great players, and we had to." If United could answer the question of why they have not played like they did on Tuesday more often they would not be relying on a Champions League title to get back into the competition next season. "We always try," Rooney said in response to that vexed question. "But this season we haven’t had the best of games. Maybe it was down to a lack of confidence in some of the games and I think [we found some] on the back of the Aston Villa game [on Saturday. We knew it was going to be tough and we had to dig in, defend well as a team and we have done that. It’s a start for us."

The Allianz Arena carries mixed memories for Rooney. It was the stadium where he put United ahead in the quarter final first leg four years ago and yet the one where he sustained the ankle injury which set in train the dismal summer which ended in ignominy World. A win would represent his biggest performance in Europe, then? "Yes, I think so," he said. "They are favourites for the tournament and it will be a tough ask, but we needed to give ourselves a chance to still be in the tie and we have done that."

Read More: Is 1-1 a good score for United to take to Bayern?
Guardiola claims Schweinsteiger red was unfair
Moyes sees off threat but danger still looms
Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn