Pep Guardiola knows what Manchester United are planning to do in Munich on Wednesday: defend, defend and defend.
The German giants will head into the encounter as the favourites to progress to the last four, having drawn the first leg 1-1 at Old Trafford in Manchester last week.
This means that a goalless draw at the Allianz on Wednesday would be enough for Guardiola’s much-fancied team to keep alive their hopes of a second successive Champions League title.
Yet, Bayern would not be the team to gun for a 0-0 scoreline in Munich, it would be United. That’s according to Guardiola, who has experienced the Premier League teams he has played against as a coach to be “so defensive” who use “the counter-attack very well”.
"They are so defensive," the 43-year-old told reporters when asked about his experience of playing English teams.
"They use the counter-attack very well. It's always difficult when one team stays there just to defend, and waits until you make a mistake.
"Obviously when they play at home they attack a little bit more but when they play away they defend. Maybe (United manager) David Moyes thinks another thing, but I think they are going to wait back with eight or nine players in the box, await our mistake and wait for a free-kick or a corner to punish us."
You would almost think that Guardiola was making a stereotypical statement about an Italian team, but he was not. He was the speaking about the champions of the Premier League, the club that a year ago today was still under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson. THE Sir Alex Ferguson.
But then again, what else could an English side – or any other side, for that matter – do against Guardiola-coached Barcelona side rated by many as the greatest club teamof all times? Guus Hiddink realised that back in 2009 and parked whatever he could at Camp Nou, but still failed to lead Chelsea to success over the two-legged semi-final tie.
And now that same approach will be adopted by David Moyes, who only until last season was managing a club who had been happily strolling in top-10 mediocrity. That is what Guardiola thinks the Scot will do anyway: defend as deep as possible and then try to sneak in a goal; and then go back to the trenches to dodge the bullets.
But could you really blame Moyes if he indeed did so? True, it is not the ‘United way’ of playing, but this is a Bayern side who swept aside Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium and have broken all kinds of records you can think of, both in Germany and in Europe.
This is a Bayern side who made one of the best right-backs into one of the best central midfielders (Philipp Lahm); who have one of the top three goalkeepers in the world (Manuel Neuer), a hugely promising youngster (Thiago Alcantara) fighting another hugely promising youngster (Mario Gotze) for a place on the bench, a team that at times do not play with a natural centre-forward but still wins.
Bayern have talent all over the pitch and that spills onto the bench and even onto the players who cannot make the bench. And then there is Manchester United, who start with Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia and Marouane Fellaini. United have to be defensive and that is the only way they would be able combat this Bayern machine.
As for Guardiola, it will be Barcelona against the English teams all over again in Munich. And this time, you know that he would be prepared.