Belfast Telegraph

Manchester United face real threat from Bayern, warns Fletcher

Darren Fletcher is confident Manchester United will not get ahead of themselves by believing they are assured of a Champions League final berth.

United managed to avoid favourites Barcelona in the quarter-final draw and also landed in the opposite half to Arsenal and Inter Milan.

It means if Bayern Munich can be beaten in the last eight, French opposition will await in the semi-final as Lyon and Bordeaux do battle in an all-Gallic affair.

United's odds to make their third successive final have tumbled dramatically, but Fletcher is not getting carried away. United's only victory in seven clashes with Bayern came in that never-to-be-forgotten final in 1999 and with after impressively disposing of Fiorentina in the last round, Fletcher is adamant United will treat the German giants with caution.

“You can be too presumptuous and start looking too far ahead. People can say various things about the draw, but these teams are in this competition because they have beaten big sides along the way,” said Fletcher.

“You don't get to the quarter or semi-final of the Champions League by being a poor side.

“The warning sides are there. If you go into a tie underestimating a team like Lyon for instance, you will be out.”

Behind Barcelona, Fletcher rates Bayern the equal of any team in the competition.

It did not appear that way midway through the group phase, when Bayern had collected just four points from four games, but they hammered Juventus in Turin to reach the last 16 and one-time United target Arjen Robben scored a stunning goal in Florence as Bayern beat Fiorentina on away goals in the last round.

With Franck Ribery in his squad as well, Louis van Gaal has plenty of pace with which to attack United from the flanks, while Marc van Bommel and Phillipp Lahm provide experience in midfield, even if German international Bastian Schweinsteiger will be suspended for the first leg at the Allianz Arena on March 30.

“It is a tough draw,” Fletcher added. “Outside of Barcelona it is probably as tough as you could have got. In Robben and Ribery they have two of the best wingers in world football.”

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph