Will Bayern Munich Continue Its Incredible UCL Streak Against Man United?

The winning streak in the Champions League group stage has been halted at 18 games for Bayern Munich. But after a 0-0 draw against Copenhagen, Bayern remains unbeaten in now 39 games in the UCL group stage. A remarkable record that will likely stand for a long time to come.

It now remains to be seen whether Bayern can extend the streak to 40 games in two weeks’ time against Manchester United. English observers might expect that Bayern head coach Thomas Tuchel will rotate his squad on matchday 6, giving Man United an upside to secure the hotly contested second place in Group A.

Man United has to win against Bayern and hope that Copenhagen and Galatasaray draw. A tall order, which might be complicated by the fact that due to the small squad afforded to Tuchel, Bayern cannot really rotate for their final match in Manchester.

A glimpse at the matchday squad against Copenhagen on Wednesday underlines this. Bayern had seven players on the bench; two were goalkeepers—Sven Ulreich and Daniel Peretz—one was the never-used Bouna Sarr, and then there were academy players Frans Krätzig and Aleksandar Pavlovic, who received playing time.

These days rotation at Bayern means that Thomas Müller might play for Leroy Sané or that Leon Goretzka must help out at the center-back position. The lack of squad depth means that Bayern’s starting XI sets itself automatically. Plus, would Harry Kane want to miss the opportunity to play against Man United in his home country? Unlikely.

Then there is Bayern’s unending appetite for victories. Despite extending the Champions League group stage unbeaten streak to 39 games, Tuchel was somewhat dissatisfied with his side’s performance against Copenhagen on Wednesday.

“I actually thought that we would play with a bit more freedom because we were already first and had nothing left to lose,” Tuchel said to the media after the game. “But it was the other way around. We didn’t put in enough effort.”

That statement was echoed by Müller. “We’re not satisfied,” Müller said. “As an attacking player, I’m particularly not satisfied that we left the game without a goal. We didn’t take enough risks. We had some good situations, but it’s not easy against such a deep block. Copenhagen defended well, but we weren’t willing to take enough risks.”

Although both Tuchel and Müller were critical of the performance, the truth is also that Bayern have now played two back-to-back games in which, defensively, they showed incredible game management. On Friday, they held Köln to a 1-0 win, and against Copenhagen, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer recorded a clean sheet even though midfielder Leon Goretzka had to help out in midfield.

Some might argue that this sort of Tuchel-ball is difficult to watch, but the results will justify the defensive approach. A defensive approach that the club will want to utilize against Union Berlin on Saturday before getting a rare midweek break, as Bayern has already been eliminated from the DFB Pokal.

Then they will travel to play a difficult away fixture against Eintracht Frankfurt before facing Manchester United on the final matchday of the Champions League group stage. What can we expect against Man United then? A Bayern side that will want to take the opportunity and eliminate one of Europe’s giants at the first possible stage.

Manuel Veth is the host of the Bundesliga Gegenpressing Podcast and the Area Manager USA at Transfermarkt. He has also been published in the Guardian, Newsweek, Howler, Pro Soccer USA, and several other outlets. Follow him on Twitter: @ManuelVeth and on Threads: @manuveth

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