Manchester rivals City and United have so far not taken their domestic form into Europe and will be among 15 teams attempting to win their first matches in the Champions League group stage this week.
While it is no surprise that the likes of Viktoria Plzen, BATE Borisov and Otelul Galati have failed to register wins as the third round of matches loom, City and United’s poor starts in the competition have raised eyebrows.After drawing away to Benfica and at home to FC Basel, United know they must return with three points from Tuesday’s visit to Romanian champions Otelul, who have lost their opening two games in Group C. If not, last year’s runners-up will find themselves having to play catch up with the leading pair, who have four points apiece and meet in Switzerland the same evening.
City are meanwhile learning the hard way that money cannot buy experience at this level as they tackle their debut season in the competition. A draw at home to Napoli and defeat at Bayern Munich have left Roberto Mancini’s side desperately needing three home points against Group A tailenders Villarreal.
Ahead of the face off at the Etihad Stadium, Mancini said: “I think the only problem we had in Munich was the result. For 50 minutes we played very well and should have had two penalties.”
Bayern face Napoli
Rome: Napoli will have to find a way to stop the goal machine that is Mario Gomez if they are to continue their Champions League dream against Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
The Italians have had a great start to their first experience in Europe’s premier club competition since the days of Diego Maradona.
But with back-to-back games coming up against Bayern, Napoli know they must take something from these matches or risk dropping out of the top two. And to do so they will have to find a way of stopping hot-shot Gomez.
The Germany striker has banged in 10 goals in nine league games, hitting four in one, a hat-trick in another and a brace on Saturday against Hertha Berlin.
“We have to be 100 percent brilliant and look for ways to break the deadlock. Teams who play as equals give us the possibility to express ourselves and against those teams, things go better,” said Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri.
Lyon test for real
Madrid: Real Madrid aims to continue its faultless start to the Champions League group stage with a match against a familiar foe when Lyon visits the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Tuesday.
Madrid and Lyon have met in the knockout round in the last two seasons, with Lyon edging the last-16 tie in 2010 and Madrid taking revenge at the same stage last year.
Karim Benzema is fit to face his former team but will struggle to break into coach Jose Mourinho’s starting lineup after Gonzalo Higuain scored his third hattrick in four games for club and country in Saturday’s 4-1 win against Real Betis. “It’s hard for me to say this one’s a starter and that one isn’t when one has players as good as these,” said Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho said.