Erik ten Hag’s men have one last chance to avoid a humiliating group-stage UEFA Champions League exit, but they need a win and help from elsewhere. We look ahead to Tuesday’s game at Old Trafford with our Manchester United vs Bayern Munich prediction and preview.
Manchester United vs Bayern Munich Stats: The Quick Hits
- Manchester United must beat Bayern Munich to have any chance of reaching the last 16. The Opta supercomputer gives them a 25.8% chance of victory to Bayern’s 50.5%.
- Bayern are unbeaten in 39 UEFA Champions League group-stage games (35 wins, four draws), since suffering a 3-0 loss to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017-18.
- Harry Kane has been involved in nine goals in his last 11 appearances against Man Utd in all competitions (five goals, four assists). He could become the first English player to score a Champions League goal at Old Trafford for a team other than Man Utd.
The next crisis is always just around the corner at Old Trafford. Saturday’s embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Bournemouth represented the latest crisis point in Manchester United’s troubled season, as well as the worst possible way to warm up for Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League tussle with Bayern Munich, which could see the Red Devils condemned to a humiliating group-stage exit.
Having won just one of their games in Group A – their joint-fewest after five matchdays in any Champions League campaign alongside 1994-95 and 2005-06 – United must beat Bayern and hope Copenhagen draw with Galatasaray in the group’s other fixture to advance to the last 16. The Opta supercomputer rates United’s chances of sneaking through at a measly 9.4%.
United’s 14 goals conceded in the Champions League this term is already their worst tally in a single campaign, with only Royal Antwerp (15) shipping more in this season’s competition. The way in which Erik ten Hag’s team were routed by Bournemouth cannot have offered him any encouragement whatsoever, and United have now conceded three or more goals in five different home games in all competitions this season, last doing so more often in 1962-63 (six).
Ten Hag’s midfield trio of Sofyan Amrabat, Scott McTominay and Bruno Fernandes were outrun, outfought and outclassed by Andoni Iraola’s Cherries, but with both Casemiro and Christian Eriksen still sidelined by injuries, teenager Kobbie Mainoo is the only alternative option available to the Dutchman.
He will surely reintroduce Rasmus Højlund to the frontline after starting Anthony Martial against Bournemouth. The Denmark international has yet to score in 12 Premier League appearances despite having chances amounting to 2.55 expected goals (xG), but he has excelled in Europe, netting five times in as many Champions League games for the Red Devils.
If Højlund can make it six goals against Bayern, that would be the best tally managed by a player in their first Champions League campaign for United since Ruud van Nistelrooy hit 10 in 2001-02.
Ten Hag has other decisions to make in attack, with Marcus Rashford available after serving a one-match European ban during United’s 3-3 draw with Galatasaray on Matchday 5, having been sent off in their earlier defeat to Copenhagen. However, he has yet to score in the Champions League this season, only attempting three shots in 290 minutes in the competition, and he has been left out of United’s lineup for their last two Premier League matches.
Bayern also approach Tuesday’s match looking to make amends for a chastening defeat, having suffered an astonishing 5-1 loss at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, conceding five goals within the first hour of a Bundesliga game for the first time since 1975 (also against Eintracht in a 6-0 defeat).
That resounding defeat allowed Bayer Leverkusen to pull four points clear of Bayern at the summit, though the Bavarian giants do have a game in hand on their title rivals. More importantly as far as United are concerned, it may have killed off any chance of Thomas Tuchel naming a weakened team in midweek as he demands a reaction.
Tuchel will be unable to call upon Serge Gnabry after he suffered a groin injury on Saturday, though Jamal Musiala returned from a hamstring issue for that game. Meanwhile, Leroy Sané is looking to score on three consecutive appearances against United, having netted against them with Manchester City back in 2019 before also doing so in Bayern’s 4-3 win in the return fixture in September.
He’s not the only Bayern forward with a good record against the Red Devils, with Harry Kane boasting nine goal involvements in his last 11 appearances against them in all competitions (five goals, four assists), including six in his last five trips to Old Trafford with former club Tottenham (four goals, two assists). Should he find the net on Tuesday, Kane would become the first Englishman to score a Champions League goal at the stadium for any team other than United.
Kane has 29 goal involvements in just 19 games across all competitions this season (22 goals, seven assists), more than any other player from Europe’s top five leagues, with Man City striker Erling Haaland second on 24 (19 goals, five assists).
Manchester United vs Bayern Munich Head-to-Head
History is not on United’s side as they bid to keep their Champions League hopes alive. They have only won two of their previous 12 games against Bayern in the competition (five draws, five losses), winning the 1999 final and a home knockout match in 2009-10.
Tuchel’s team, of course, triumphed when the teams last met on Matchday 1, winning 4-3 at the Allianz Arena as Mathys Tel joined Sané, Gnabry and Kane on the scoresheet for the German champions.
Bayern, however, have only won one of their five away Champions League games against the Red Devils (three draws, one defeat), winning 1-0 in April 2001 with a goal from Paulo Sérgio.
Bayern boast an exceptional record in the Champions League’s group stage, going unbeaten through their last 39 matches at this stage of the competition since a 3-0 loss to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017-18 (35 wins, four draws).
Their goalless draw with Copenhagen on Matchday 5 was the only game in which they have failed to score in that run, while it also ended their 17-match winning streak in group-stage action.
Bayern are also unbeaten in their last 19 away games in the group stage (17 wins, two draws) and have won their last eight in a row on the road, both of which are record runs by any team in Champions League history.
If United are to keep their slim hopes of a top-two finish alive, they must do something they have rarely done in recent years: finish a Champions League group-stage campaign on a high.
They have only won on Matchday 6 in two of their last nine seasons in the Champions League’s group stage (two draws, five losses), but those victories both came at home, against Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013-14 (1-0) and CSKA Moscow in 2017-18 (2-1).
A victory would at least guarantee United the consolation prize of UEFA Europa League football, but a defeat would see them finish bottom of Group A. There have been just three previous instances of a Premier League club finishing bottom of a Champions League group – Blackburn Rovers in 1995-96, Man City in 2012-13 and United themselves in 2005-06.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off on Tuesday, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides:
Manchester United vs Bayern Munich Prediction
It’s not good news for Manchester United fans. The Opta supercomputer is predicting a Bayern Munich win at Old Trafford on Tuesday, with the German giants sealing victory in 50.5% of the 10,000 simulations before kick-off. The much-needed win for United occurred in just 25.8% of the pre-match simulations.
In the supercomputer’s overall UCL tournament predictions, United are big outsiders to reach the round of 16, finishing bottom of the standings in of Group A in 51.6% of scenarios, third in 39.0% and second in 9.4%.
Of all the teams from England in the UCL this season, Man Utd have the lowest chance of progressing to the knockout stage. Arsenal and Manchester City are already through, with Newcastle’s chance of making the round of 16 current stands at 26.2%.
Bayern, meanwhile, are given a 11.9% chance of being crowned champions of Europe for a seventh time, making them third favourites behind holders Man City (28.0%) and Real Madrid (14.5%).
Manchester United vs Bayern Munich UCL Squads
Manchester United: Altay Bayındır, Tom Heaton, André Onana, Victor Lindelöf, Harry Maguire, Lisandro Martínez, Tyrell Malacia, Sergio Reguilón, Raphaël Varane, Diogo Dalot, Luke Shaw, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Jonny Evans, Sofyan Amrabat, Mason Mount, Bruno Fernandes, Christian Eriksen, Casemiro, Jadon Sancho, Facundo Pellistri, Scott McTominay, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Rasmus Højlund, Antony.
Head Coach: Erik ten Hag.
Bayern Munich: Manuel Neuer, Daniel Peretz, Sven Ulreich, Dayot Upamecano, Kim Min-jae, Matthijs de Ligt, Bouna Sarr, Raphaël Guerreiro, Tarek Buchmann, Noussair Mazraoui, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Leroy Sané, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Alphonso Davies, Konrad Laimer, Jamal Musiala, Serge Gnabry, Harry Kane, Kingsley Coman, Thomas Müller, Mathys Tel.
Head Coach: Thomas Tuchel.