Preview: Bayern Munich vs. Manchester City

Manchester City begin their Champions League group campaign with a trip to Bayern Munich. Here, Sports Mole takes a closer look at the contest.

Publicly, Pep Guardiola will insist that his Bayern Munich side have recovered from the thrashing that they suffered at the hands of Real Madrid in last season's Champions League semi-final, but those scars will only fully heal once positive results are achieved this term.

If Guardiola were honest, he would have wanted an easier start than coming up against the champions of England on Wednesday night, although he will no doubt take comfort from the fact that the contest will be played at the Allianz Arena.

Manchester City have collected mixed results from their two recent trips to Bavaria - losing 2-0 in 2011 when Carlos Tevez infamously refused to warm-up when instructed to do so by Roberto Mancini. They won 3-2 there last season, yet still qualified for the knockout stages as runners-up to their hosts.

This time around, City will be without right-back Pablo Zabaleta, who is suspended. The absence of the Argentina international is likely to provide a starting opportunity for Bacary Sagna, while Yaya Toure should also be recalled, having returned late from his commitments with the Ivory Coast at the weekend.

City will also have to make do without the influence of Manuel Pellegrini on the touchline because of a ban for comments that he made after his side were knocked out of the competition by Barcelona last season.

As for Bayern, injuries have sidelined Holger Badstuber, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Javi Martinez, Thiago Alcantara and Rafinha, while Arjen Robben is rated as a major doubt with a knee complaint.

Recent form

Bayern: LWWDW

Man City: LWWLD

Possible starting lineups

Bayern: Neuer; Bernat, Boateng, Benatia, Alaba; Lahm, Alonso; Muller, Gotze, Ribery; Lewandowski

Man City: Hart; Sagna, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov; Fernandinho, Toure, Milner; Silva, Nasri; Aguero

Sports Mole says: 1-1

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Mehdi Benatia of AS Roma in action during the Serie A match between Atalanta BC and AS Roma at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia on December 1, 2013
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