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English rivals provide United's inspiration for second leg

Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic (C) scores a goal against Bayern Munich during their Champions League quarter-final first leg soccer match
Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic (C) scores a goal against Bayern Munich during their Champions League quarter-final first leg soccer match

By Mike Collett

LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester United can take heart from rivals Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea when they travel to Bayern Munich next week looking for the result that will knock the holders out of the Champions League.

Their quarter-final tie tipped in Bayern's favor after the first leg ended in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford on Tuesday but City, Chelsea and Arsenal, twice, have all avoided defeat in Munich in the last two years.

City came from 2-0 down to beat Bayern 3-2 in a group stage match in December, Arsenal won their last season and drew 1-1 in the Round of 16 last month while Chelsea beat Bayern on their own turf to win the Champions League final on penalties in 2012.

United themselves won 5-0 on their last visit to Germany when they swamped Bayer Leverkusen in the group stage in November.

Although Bayern were boosted by Bastian Schweinsteiger's away goal at Old Trafford which canceled out Nemanja Vidic's header for the home side, they will be without the influential midfielder for the return leg after he was sent off in the closing minutes after tripping Wayne Rooney.

UNFAIR ADVANTAGE

Bayern coach Pep Guardiola was upset with Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo for the sending off and seemed to make a diving motion suggesting Rooney took unfair advantage.

After telling reporters he thought the dismissal was unfair, he continued: "But its OK. If you want to win the Champions League you have to solve and overcome everything during the competition. I gave my opinion to the referee, that's all."

Bayern will also be without defender Javi Martinez and will also have to cope with a new-found confidence in the United camp with manager David Moyes and his players expressing real belief in themselves to get the result that will see them reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2011.

That confidence was expressed by Ryan Giggs on Monday and it was borne out by a performance that had little in common with United's disappointing Premier League displays which have left them seventh in the table.

BEST FOOTBALL

United have saved their best for the Champions League, losing only once in nine matches and although Bayern dominated possession, United defended well and posed Munich problems of their own.

Moyes, who has endured a tough first season since taking over from the retired Alex Ferguson, issued a rallying call afterwards telling reporters: "I think we have given ourselves a great opportunity to go to Munich and get a victory.

"This shows they have a fight on their hands. We will go toe-to-toe with them."

Despite their recent run of poor results against English sides at home and United's bravado, Bayern still start as the favorites to reach the last four and stay on course to become the first club since AC Milan in 1989 and 1990 to retain the European Cup.

They retained their German title last week with seven matches to spare and are still in with a chance of repeating last season's treble of European Cup, Bundesliga and German Cup.

And if Bayern dominate possession and create the number of chances they did in Manchester, it is hard to see any other outcome than a Bayern victory.

UEFA's official statistical analysis showed they made 767 passes compared to United's 249 with Bayern's completion rate reading 91 per cent compared to United's 67 per cent.

With Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Toni Kroos creating chances supported by defenders Rafinha and Martinez, Bayern took the game to United, but for once were less than clinical in front of goal.

After being hemmed back for much of the first half, United came back into the game more when Giggs was withdrawn at halftime and replaced by the more attacking Shinji Kagawa, but Bayern still managed to look the better side for long periods.

The only time they failed to cope was when Nemanja Vidic headed home Rooney's corner which gave United the lead after 58 minutes before Schweinsteiger equalized with a well-taken first time shot nine minutes later.

United have to score in Munich to have any chance of going through. They believe they can but Bayern will not want to fail at home against an English side again.

(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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