Bayern Munich vs Manchester City: Xabi Alonso record and Bayern injury concerns among five talking points

A look ahead to tonight's Champions League tie at the Allianz Arena

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The Independent Football

Manchester City take on Bayern Munich tonight in one of the stand-out games of the group phase of this season's Champions League.

The match brings together the champions of England and Germany with both eager to make a good start in a tricky group that also includes Roma and CSKA Moscow.

Ahead of tonight's match, we take a look at the five main talking points surrounding the game at the Allianz Arena.

1. Manchester City won 3-2 at the Allianz on their last visit...

...but it doesn't really count. Whilst the Citizens' recovery from 2-0 down to win 3-2 with James Milner getting the last goal was a great result, it must be remembered that Bayern has already qualified for the knock-out stages prior to the match. Had City scored one more goal, they would have topped the group, but it was an equation that appeared to have been missed by Manuel Pellegrini who failed to set up his team to get another. The Chilean manager won't be able to confuse things this time around as he's serving a two-match ban from the touchline due to his rant after defeat to Barcelona last season.

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Manchester City midfielder James Milner celebrates after the win over Bayern last season

 

2. Bayern Munich have major injury problems...

Bayern's two greatest threats on the flanks could both be out. Franck Ribery is certain to be sidelined whilst Arjen Robben is a doubt for the match. Defender Holger Badstuber tore a thigh tendon at the weekend and joined Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thiago Alcantara, Rafinha and Javi Martinez on the sidelines. It could be a good time for City to play the German champions.

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Franck Ribery

 

3. Xabi Alonso...

Amid the injury problems at Bayern Munich, at least Guardiola can call on Xabi Alonso - a real pro when it comes to the Champions League and a player who's lifted the trophy twice. The Spaniard's arrival from Real Madrid was one of the coups of the summer and he's quickly impressed in Germany. He's also got a fantastic record against Manchester City. He faced them twice while at Real Madrid, winning 3-2 and drawing 1-1. During his time at Liverpool he won three meetings and drew another - meaning he's never lost to the Sky Blues.

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Xabi Alonso, who was vital in Real’s midfield, joined Bayern Munich

 

4. World Cup hangover...

Bayern's results this season haven't been too shabby - seven points from a possible nine in the Bundesliga have followed their defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the season curtain raiser. Whilst results haven't been the worst, performances haven't been overly convincing. It's led to accusations that Pep Guardiola's side, which contains numerous Germany internationals, are suffering from a World Cup hangover. This is Bayern's first Champions League match since they were humbled 5-0 on aggregate to Real Madrid - providing a perfect opportunity to get the season on track.

 

5. Manchester City must do better than in previous years...

Manchester City advanced to the knock-out phase of the Champions League for the first time last season, but were quickly eliminated by Barcelona. With the wealth of investment at the Etihad and a consistent level of competitiveness on the domestic front, this season is being seen as one where they must challenge on the European stage. Last year they finished runners up to Bayern in the group phase, leading to their tough draw against Barca. Winning the group would really boost their chances of going further this term - a result at the Allianz Arena would make that assignment all the more achievable.

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