Bayern face pumped-up City in Champions League

London: Bayern Munich take on ambitious Manchester City in the Champions League on Tuesday, a clash between European aristocrats and a big-spending team desperate to prove they belong among the elite.

The game is one of the most intriguing of Matchday Two which also sees holders Barcelona travel to BATE Borisov in Belarus and 2010 champions Inter Milan going to CSKA Moscow as they seek to kick-start their season under new coach Claudio Ranieri.

Like Bayern, Barcelona and Inter, Real Madrid and Ajax Amsterdam are established members of the European soccer aristocracy and they meet in a fascinating game at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, last season`s runners-up Manchester United will look for their first win of the embryonic campaign against Basel of Switzerland while AC Milan take on Czech newcomers Viktoria Plzen.

Bayern`s clash with Manchester City symbolises what this comnpetition is all about; a clash of current European powerhouses on one level, and a clash of Old Money v New Money on another.

There are strong soccer links between the cities of Munich and Manchester, but they have been built entirely between United and Munich dating back to the 1958 Munich Air Crash when United`s plane crashed on takeoff resulting in 23 deaths including those of eight United players.

But while Bayern have strong links with Old Trafford, having played United nine times in all, they have never met City before and their relationship has not started in the most friendly way.

There was some ill-feeling over the summer transfer of Jerome Boateng from City to Bayern, and Bayern`s outspoken chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says City were bailed out by their owners having accrued debts of 140.0 million euros.

City manager Roberto Mancini responded by saying: "People are mistaken about Manchester City. They accuse us of spending more money than anyone this year and every time they said that they are mistaken.”

"Everyone says we have spent a lot of money but so what? To us it isn`t important. We just want to progress, to become a better club, and I think some people respect that.”

"If we want to be like the other top teams, we have to be winners. That can take time. This is our first time in the Champions League. But in football you never say never. Anything can happen."

Bayern of course, have been European champions four times while City have only ever played three matches in either the old European Cup or the Champions League combined.

But now, thanks to the hundreds of millions invested in the club by Abu Dhabi owner Sheikh Mansour, they meet as equals. The two teams are also the most likely to advance from Group A.

Three times European champions Inter Milan, who lost their opening match 1-0 to Trabzonspor of Turkey two weeks ago, will look to bounce back in Moscow on Tuesday

Inter have now employed the experienced Ranieri and will be bouyed by their first win of the season on Saturday, a 3-1 triumph at Bologna. They have also won both their previous Champions League matches against CSKA in Moscow, 2-1 in 2007-08 and 1-0 in the quarter-finals in 2009-10.

That is not the only fascinating match in eastern Europe this week as BATE Borisov welcome European champions Barcelona for their Group H match on Wednesday.

BATE are virtually assured of a sixth successive Belarus title when their spring-autumn season ends in seven matches, but they have hit a dip in form at just the wrong time with Barcelona calling.

While BATE were drawing 1-1 with mid-table Belshina Bobruisk on Friday, Barca gave another display of their imperious brilliance with a 5-0 demolition of Atletico Madrid on Saturday with World Player of the Year Lionel Messi scoring a stunning hat-trick.

Anything other than another win for Pep Guardiola`s team, who began the defence of their trophy with a 2-2 draw with AC Milan, will represent the upset of the night, if not the season.

While Messi was scoring his hat-trick, Cristiano Ronaldo was also on fire for Real Madrid scoring a treble of his own against Rayo Vallecano.

Real, who won 1-0 at Dinamo Zagreb in their group opener, will have to negotiate their way past Ajax without coach Jose Mourinho on the bench as his touchline ban continues.

Bureau Report

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