The first name on FC Bayern München's team sheet, Jérôme Boateng says he is looking forward to being reunited with old friends when Manchester City FC come calling on Tuesday. The four-time European champions, he warns, will have to be at their best against the new kids on the block.
"They are a strong team with some very good individual players," said the 23-year-old defender. "
Their new signings have strengthened the squad and integrated well. They are strong, really strong both technically and physically. Their strikers are really good too. [Edin] Džeko and Sergio Agüero are in very good shape and City are playing much more offensively than last year."
Boateng, of course, has a good knowledge of City's hotbed of talent: until July's switch to Bayern he was among them. Injury and fierce competition for places restricted the German international to 16 Premier League appearances in his solitary season in England, but Tuesday's UEFA Champions League Group A fixture still carries added significance. It perhaps explains why the usually guarded Jupp Heynckes opted to reveal "Boateng will play" on the eve of the match.
The coach says "it is a very special situation", something the player is keen to underline without losing sight of the real goal. "I really had a good time in Manchester and I am looking forward to this game – I will be reunited with some good friends," said former Hamburger SV man Boateng. "Of course it will be a very special game, but not only for me: it is be important for all of us. Bayern are also a big name in England so let's see what happens."
Manuel Neuer believes that, having been held at home by SSC Napoli on matchday one, City have no option but to go for the win. "The pressure is on them," said the Germany goalkeeper, whose Bundesliga-leading side triumphed 2-0 at Villarreal CF two weeks ago. "
Perhaps Man City will be the first team [this season] to really stretch us at the back. But we are playing well, so we just need to keep doing what we are doing, staying strong and compact. We want to win and are confident we will."
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