Champions League returns today, and the marquee match-up features the pedigree of Bayern and the pocketbook of Man City. There are big names all over the pitch, inlcuding on the bench, as Arjen Robben and Carlos Tevez will not feature from the start.
For me the most important player on the German side is Bastian Schweinsteiger. He has to control the match from central midfield if Bayern are to get a result. The movement of Man City's front 4 (David Silva, Samir Nasri, Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguerro) is sublime, and Munich's suspect backline will be eviscerated if their midfield maestro cannot effectively shield them. That's only half the job though. Everything Bayern do going forward is also dependent upon Schweinsteiger. Franck Ribery, Thomas Muller, Mario Gomez and Toni Kroos provide great movement and skill in their own right, but they can't create without number 31 pulling the strings. I thought he was the player of the tournament at the 2010 World Cup, ahead of even Xavi and Iniesta, and he will need to put in that type of performance tonight.
Gareth Barry and Yaya Toure will be charged with stopping the Bayern leader. I just chuckled a bit. We may see Nigel de Jong relatively early on in this one. I just don't think Schweinsteiger can do it though. Man City just have too many threats. 2-1 to the blues, an impressive away win.