Because less players equal more space to pass and move

All about Robben

Bayern Munich 2 – 1 Manchester United

Could man-of-the-moment Wayne Rooney have been any more involved tonight?

An early side-footed volley from Nani’s corner gave his team, and this season is it his team, the lead, and must have had Louis Van Gaal fearing the worst.

Bayern rallied though and in the second half Ribery‘s free-kick hit Rooney and wrong-footed Van der Sar, pulling the Germans level, before lax defending allowed Ivan Olic to steal in to give the 1999 finalists a win to take with them to Old Trafford next Wednesday.

So, just like that night in Barcelona 11 years ago United must come from behind to claim the spoils against Die Bayern, possibly without the talismanic Rooney and with Bayern‘s own leading man Arjen Robben returning to the starting eleven.

The threat of Franck Ribery cutting in from the left was evident tonight, and the pace and trickery of Robben doing the same from the opposite flank will cause United‘s defence twice as many problems on their home soil, especially on the counterattack, as they will no doubt be primarily looking to defend their lead and exploit Manchester United‘s search for a leveller.

The potential loss of Rooney begs another question – where will the goals come from? Such has the no.10 been the focal point of United‘s attack this season that goals from anywhere else other than Berbatov’s 12 have been thin on the ground. It’s notable that the Bulgarian hasn’t scored in Europe this season, with Owen being United’s next biggest contributor on the continent with four.

I think the best bet would be to have Berbatov leading the line with Nani and Valencia shovelling crosses in to the box and Scholes in midfield looking to feed Berbatov’s feet and be a danger from distance. Doing this would keep Bayern on the back foot, however I imagine Park will once again be selected to help out Gary Neville with Ribery on the wing, especially on counterattacks, and focus on getting Scholes or Berbatov to create on the ball.

Such talk is mere speculation though, and no doubt Rooney will play if he is deemed fit enough to have even the slightest impact on the night – such is his current form, even having his name on the team-sheet would unnerve Bayern‘s defenders.

Whatever the starting XI’s, the return leg promises be a spectacle for the neutrals, a nailbiter for the German camp and have some of Manchester and most of Surrey hoping they can party like it’s 1999.