Six years and 39 games. That's how long it's been since Bayern Munich lost a Champions League group stage game.
That makes Tuesday's game against Bayern an especially daunting task for Manchester United. After its own loss to Bournemouth, United needs to beat Bayern to have any chance of avoiding an embarrassingly early exit from the Champions League.
Bayern — which is already qualified for the knockout stages — won't just be playing to add a 40th game to that unbeaten record. After a shock 5-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, forward Thomas Müller called on his teammates to show their emotion at Old Trafford.
“There has to be a reaction following this. We need to tap into our anger, but we can’t lose our heads,” he said.
The Frankfurt game was much closer than the score suggests — Bayern actually had four more shots than its opponent — but Bayern is keen to bounce back.
Midfielder Leon Goretzka suggested Bayern hadn't been helped by having 10 days without a game after its last Bundesliga match was called off because of heavy snow. He told broadcaster ZDF that Bayern had been training well, though “we couldn't have sensed in training that we'd fallen into a hole, but after kickoff today it looked very much like that.”
Against United, Bayern needs to show the Frankfurt loss was just a “slip-up,” Goretzka said.
It was Bayern's third loss of the season but the first with England captain Harry Kane in the starting lineup.
Kane had tasted defeat on his debut for Bayern against Leipzig in the German Super Cup in August, but on that occasion Bayern was already 2-0 down before Kane came on for a half-hour cameo — and he had the excuse of having been up late the night before for a medical and contract signing.
Kane was an unused substitute in Bayern's only other loss of the season, an upset away defeat to third-division Saarbruecken in the German Cup.
Kane has 22 goals in 19 games for Bayern, numbers that resemble his Munich predecessor Robert Lewandowski. The former Tottenham striker has a career seven goals in 20 games against United and scored in the entertaining 4-3 win in Munich in September.
The 5-1 loss to Frankfurt was Bayern's worst loss in the Bundesliga since a defeat by the same score, to the same opponent, back in 2019. On that occasion it cost coach Niko Kovac his job. Thomas Tuchel is rather more secure in his job but history shows it doesn't take much to unsettle Bayern coaches. A draw or loss at United would be Bayern's third game in a row without a win.
Bayern heads to Manchester without forward Serge Gnabry after he lasted just five minutes off the bench against Frankfurt before he had to go off with a groin strain. He joins defenders Matthijs de Ligt and Bouna Sarr, both out with knee ligament injuries, and backup goalkeeper Sven Ulreich, who did not travel with an ankle problem.
Bayern issued an appeal to its fans Monday asking them not to use flares. The club was fined 40,000 euros ($43,000) after fans used pyrotechnics and threw objects in October's 2-1 win over Copenhagen and a repeat risks away fans being barred from the club's next European away game, Bayern warned.