Bayern boss waiting on trio for City showdown

Munich: Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes has said he is waiting on the fitness of both winger Arjen Robben and striker Mario Gomez ahead of Tuesday`s key Champions League showdown against Manchester City.

With Bayern top of the German league and City neck-and-neck with neighbours Manchester United for top spot in the English Premier League, the mouth-watering Allianz Arena match could go a long way to deciding who will win Group A.

Munich opened their European campaign with an impressive 2-0 win at Villarreal a fortnight ago while City started theirs with a 1-1 draw at home to Napoli.

Robben and Gomez played in Bayern`s 3-0 home win against Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday in the German league, but both came off in the second-half as a precaution ahead of the City clash, with Robben having netted.

The pair have both suffered with groin problems recently and are likely to start, but Heynckes was coy when asked directly and said he needs to see how the pair react after Saturday`s match.

"Mario had a problem for the last ten games and he played only 65 minutes on Saturday, we`ll have to see how he is in training and we`ll have to see if there is improvement," said Heynckes.

"Arjen is very important to the team and hopefully he`ll be an addition for us too."

There is also a question mark over defender Holger Badstuber, who sat out training on Monday with the `flu and Heynckes has said he will only decide whether to play him on the morning of the match.

With ex-City centre-back Jerome Boateng set to start against his former club, Belgium`s Daniel van Buyten could slot in if Badstuber`s flu gets worse.

Heynckes`s side have now won nine successive games in all competitions since a 1-0 loss to VfL Borussia Moenchengladbach on 7 August.

That is also the only goal they have conceded in ten matches this season and they were last breached 848 minutes ago, having since scored 26 unanswered goals.

This will be Bayern`s 151st Champions League game while this is City`s debut campaign in European football`s top domestic tournament.

City warmed up for their trip to Bavaria with a 2-0 win over Everton on Saturday in the Premier League thanks to goals by Mario Balotelli and James Milner, while Carlos Tevez was left on the bench.

"On one hand our experience as a club helps, but this is just a one-off game in a long campaign," said Heynckes, with Bayern set to host the Champions League final on May 19.

"This is a new challenge for us and we have to look at Manchester City as a side who have built up a great team over the last few years and this will be a great game between two powers of European football.

"Their squad, in terms of quality and size, is phenomenally strong and this game will be a huge challenge for us."

Bayern`s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, unbeaten now for just over 14 hours of football, says City have far too much talent up front in the likes of Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Carlos Tevez in a star-studded attack.

"There is no one player to be particularly wary of and they are very strong in attack. I had a bit to do against Bayer Leverkusen and that was certainly a hard piece of training ahead of Tuesday," he said.

Bureau Report

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