With Bayern through, City looking at early exit
BERLIN (AP) — Bayern Munich is already through to the second round of the Champions League, and Manchester City is hoping that will help their own chances of advancing.
City needs to beat the Bundesliga champions at home on Tuesday to boost its hopes of making it out of the group.
A draw would still be enough for the English champions to remain in the competition if CSKA Moscow and Roma also draw at the same time.
Here are some things to know about Tuesday’s games:
Unbeaten Bayern is coasting through the season despite a host of injuries that would have seriously disrupted less well-stocked rivals.
Bastian Schweinsteiger’s return from a nagging knee problem is a timely one with Philipp Lahm, Javi Martinez, David Alaba, Thiago Alcantara, Holger Badstuber, Claudio Pizarro and backup goalkeepers Tom Starke and Pepe Reina all injured. Jerome Boateng picked up a knock in Saturday’s 4-0 win over Hoffenheim but should recover to face his former side.
The injuries have not hampered Bayern so far. Only three goals conceded in 12 Bundesliga games is a club record, and Bayern already holds a seven-point league lead.
“We’ve got lots of injuries but we can still put out a top side,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.
Xabi Alonso has made an immediate impact since joining from Real Madrid, Thomas Mueller is in form and Mario Goetze is displaying his vast potential in his second season at the club.
With nothing but pride at stake, Pep Guardiola is likely to field an experimental side against City while conserving energy for more important matches ahead.
CITY HANGING IN
Man City will take heart from its 3-2 win over Bayern last season, when it ended the German side’s Champions League record of 10 straight victories. Again, Bayern was already assured of topping the group and had nothing but pride to play for.
City, which came from behind to edge Swansea 2-1 on Saturday, is still looking for its first Champions League win of the campaign and looks like it will exit the competition at the group stage for the third time in four attempts.
“We’re really lucky in the Champions League because with two points and two games left we can still qualify if we win our two games,” City midfielder Samir Nasri said. “We need a big reaction. We need a huge performance, because a team like us can’t go out in the first round of the Champions League. So we have to win this game.”
Roma and CSKA are both two points ahead of City, which visits Roma for its final group game.
THINKING OF HOENESS
Bayern hasn’t forgotten former president Uli Hoeness, who is serving a 3 1/2-year sentence for tax evasion.
Bayern midfielder Franck Ribery told Kicker magazine that he went to visit the 62-year-old Hoeness at the Landsberg am Lech prison in southern Germany.
“It was the least I could do. It was important for me, because Hoeness is still a person I very much respect,” Ribery said. “He did a lot for me and you don’t forget that.”
Hoeness publicly supported Ribery when the Frenchman faced charges — of which he was later acquitted — that he had sex with an underage prostitute in 2009.
“I’m very sad. But he made a good impression. I hope he’ll be out soon,” Ribery said.
Bayern has said that Hoeness will take a job in the club’s youth department if he secures day parole in January.
LJAJIC IN FORM
With Roma forward Adem Ljajic coming into form, coach Rudi Garcia could consider giving the Serbia international his first Champions League start in Moscow.
Ljajic has made two substitute appearances in Europe’s elite club competition but scored in Roma’s past two Serie A matches.
“He’s on another level,” said teammate Radja Nainggolan, who scored the other goal in Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Atalanta. “He just needs consistency and he’s working really hard for that.
“He’s had a lot of criticism and he’s always answered on the pitch. He made the difference.”
Ljajic was punched by his coach at Fiorentina, Delio Rossi, after protesting a substitution in May 2012. Rossi was fired, and the next season, Ljajic scored a career-high 11 goals for Fiorentina but again had problems with his coach, Sinisa Mihajlovic.
Since transferring to Roma before last season, Ljajic appears to have settled down.
Roma is level on points with CSKA, which it beat 5-1 in its opening match.
Associated Press writer Daniella Matar in Milan, Italy, contributed to this report.