Holders Bayern Munich were held to a 1-1 draw at a resilient Manchester United on Tuesday, but remain favorites to clinch their UEFA Champions League quarter-final, despite losing Bastian Schweinsteiger to a red card.
Bayern played the last few minutes at Old Trafford with 10 men after Schweinsteiger, who scored their equalizer in the 67th minute, got a second booking for tripping Wayne Rooney, ruling him out of next Wednesday’s second leg at the Allianz Arena.
Schweinsteiger’s superbly taken first-time lash into the roof of David de Gea’s net came nine minutes after United skipper Nemanja Vidic stretched to clinically head a Rooney corner past stranded goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in the 58th minute.
“Congratulations to the team,” Bayern coach Pep Guardiola told reporters. “I am satisfied because Manchester United is one of the best teams in the world and that is something we should not forget.”
“The away goal is extremely important, even though the 1-1 can be tricky. We will try to win the return leg and I have full confidence in my players,” added the Spaniard, whose team are still on track to repeat the treble they claimed last season.
United’s performance was in stark contrast to their recent 3-0 home defeats by archrivals Liverpool and Manchester City in a lackluster Premier League campaign.
Although the draw ended United’s run of four straight Champions League home wins this season, it was a huge improvement on much of their domestic league form, which has left them stranded in seventh place in the table.
Manager David Moyes, who has endured a tough baptism this season after taking over from the retired Sir Alex Ferguson, had said his main wish was to have a foothold in the tie going into the second leg and he was encouraged by United’s performance.
“I was really pleased with the way we played, there was a great atmosphere, a great crowd, it was really gutsy, “ Moyes told ITV Sport. “There was a real determination tonight to make sure we did well. Its a competition we have a really good history in and we played a really good side tonight.”
With Schweinsteiger and defender Javi Martinez now suspended for the return, Moyes was asked if he had more belief in winning next week against a side who retained their domestic title with seven matches left and are in the DFB Pokal semi-finals.
“Well we have to score a goal because if the score stays as it is, Bayern goes through and we have to do something about it,” he said. “We said we wanted to go into the second leg with a real chance and we have done that. We have given ourselves a real opportunity. We will go to Munich and try and get a victory.”
Bayern had won their last four matches on English soil in the past 13 months, including two wins at Arsenal, a victory at Manchester City and success in last season’s Champions League final when they beat Borussia Dortmund at Wembley in London.
After a scare when United’s Danny Welbeck saw a goal ruled out after five minutes for raising his foot too high, Bayern looked capable of extending that winning run and taking their overall Champions League away record to eight successive wins.
They established a grip on the game, creating seven scoring chances in the opening 35 minutes, as defenders David Alaba and Rafinha poured forward to support the attack and they looked sharper to the ball than the hosts, but, for once, the German side, who had scored in their past 60 matches in all competitions, appeared to have lost their cutting edge in front of goal.