CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Rooney a fitness worry for United on trip to Bayern

Injured star raises Red Devils' hopes as he manages light workout, but he is not a certainty for crunch match in Germany

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 April, 2014, 9:46pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 April, 2014, 10:06pm
AFP

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Manchester United's Wayne Rooney appears to be winning his race against time to be fit for Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final, second leg at Bayern Munich.

European champions Bayern, winless in their last three matches, tasted their first Bundesliga defeat in 18 months when they were beaten 1-0 at Augsburg on Saturday after last Tuesday's 1-1 first-leg draw with United at Old Trafford. On March 29, Bayern managed a 3-3 draw with Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga.

Centreback Nemanja Vidic's header put United ahead in the first leg only for Bayern's Bastian Schweinsteiger toequalise before being sent off for a second yellow card on the stroke of 90 minutes.

We always believe when you play for Manchester United; it is not because you win 4-0 against Newcastle that we start to believe we can win against Bayern.
Patrice Evra

Bayern coach Pep Guardiola has described Tuesday's second leg at the Allianz Arena as a matter of "life or death" for holders Munich, who have made no secret of their desire to become the first team to defend the Champions League title.

United's hopes hinge on Rooney, who missed Saturday's 4-0 league win at Newcastle with a badly bruised toe, whose absence would be a big blow to their chances of progressing. However, Rooney did take part in a light squad workout yesterday.

Along with Robin van Persie, who is out with a knee injury, the 28-year-old is the club's joint-top scorer this season with 17 goals, two of which were in the Champions League.

"If he's out, it would certainly be a big loss for United," admitted Bayern centreback Jerome Boateng, whose job would be to contain the England star. "Wayne Rooney is the key man for United, he always makes himself available and he goes looking for the ball, he's always good for a goal."

United trail Premier League leaders Liverpool by 17 points, but David Moyes has the chance to redeem himself after a wretched first season in charge by claiming Bayern's scalp.

"We always believe when you play for Manchester United; it is not because you win 4-0 against Newcastle that we start to believe we can win against Bayern," insisted United star Patrice Evra, who missed the first leg through suspension.

The Red Devils will be without cup-tied Juan Mata, who scored twice at Newcastle.

Bayern's Boateng expects United to come to Munich and defend. "Just like in the first leg, they'll try and get at us on the counter-attack and at set plays," he said. "We need just a little more pace, we need to get our crosses in a little quicker and we should sometimes try our luck with shots from long range."

United travel to Bavaria with the hosts needing a return to winning ways having struggled for form since securing the Bundesliga title two weeks ago with a record seven games to spare.

Guardiola will have to make a few more changes for the second leg, especially in midfield with both Javi Martinez and Bastian Schweinsteiger suspended.

Attacking midfielders Thiago Alcantara and Xherdan Shaqiri are injured, but Guardiola still has options, including Philipp Lahm, Arjen Robben, Toni Kroos, Mario Goetze and Franck Ribery.

Bayern only need a goalless draw to go through, but the holders want a convincing win. "We've got to play to win. We'll end up losing if we play for a goalless draw," said Bayern's Dante.

 
 
 
 

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