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By Sam Lyon
2235: So the Premier League's current top two crash out of the Champions League and into the Europa League. What a story. Commiserations Manchester City and Manchester United, but on the bright side, people - we're spreading the football love even more across our midweek European games now, right? Jubbly. I've been
and I'm back at the weekend to see if the Premier League can match tonight for drama. I'm banking on it. Adios my friends.
FC BASEL 2-1 MAN UTD David Ornstein
reports: "Utter humiliation for Manchester United. The three-time European champions and reigning Premier League winners fail to get past the group stage for only the third time in 17 years. As Basel celebrate a place in the last 16, United must make do with Europa League football. Astonishing."
MAN CITY 2-0 BAYERN MUNICH Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at the Etihad Stadium: "Manchester City were comfortable winners here tonight but their Champions League campaign floundered on away defeats to Bayern Munich and Napoli. Harsh lessons have been learned - but you will expect them to come back stronger next year."
2224: Right then, our reporters' thoughts...
2222: Before we hear from our match reporters, then, let me hit you with some knowledge via
The seven minutes needed by Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis to score a hat-trick is a new all-time record, beating the nine minutes Blackburn Rovers' Mike Newell needed between his first and third against Rosenborg BK on 6 Dec 1995. Real Madrid have now won a club record-equalling 15 matches in a row in all competitions. The club record was established under Miguel Muñoz in 1960/1961, more than 50 years ago. And Manchester United are the first team to be eliminated in the (first) group stage the season after playing in the CL final.
livergirl on Twitter:
"I know it's a massive night for Man U/Man City news but can I just congratulate Hull City on a great win tonight."
Claud, A Happy Gooner via text: "Didnt Samir Nasri leave Arsenal to play European football at a higher level?"
2215: FC Basel goalkeeper Yann Sommer: "It's crazy - we beat Manchester United at home. We are a Swiss team from a little country and we have beaten one of the biggest teams in the world. We believe in ourselves and we played a good game."
2214: And still no news either on the state of Man Utd defender Nemanja Vidic's injury either yet. As I said at the time, it did not look good for the Serbian. Not good at all.
2212: The trouble with Roy Keane, of course, is that I just wish he'd come out and say what he really thinks, you know?
2210: In the absence so far of proper post-match reaction from anyone connected with Manchester United, here's what former midfielder Roy Keane made of things on ITV. "I think (going out) reflects what United have done in truth, they haven't scored enough goals and they haven't beaten Basel or Benfica. People have talked about the young players - you've had [Phil] Jones, [Chris] Smalling, [Ashley] Young coming in, everybody building them up but they've got a lot to do, it's a reality check for some. I'd be getting hold of some of those lads, saying 'you'd better buck up your ideas'. United got what they deserved tonight."
Anon via text: "Just heard that the Manchester clubs are jointly releasing a fragrance for Christmas: Channel No.5."
burhanaldroubi on Twitter:
"Six years ago Man Utd crashed out but we reacted by rebuilding. I hope SAF does the same this time - need a creative midfielder!"
2202: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini: "Usually with 10 points you always go through, 99% of the time. It was a tough group and we made some mistakes but that can happen and the game in Naples did it. Our lives aren't finished now, we will go into the Europa League and it is an important trophy for Manchester City. We will be back and we hope for better next year. Maybe now we think that the Europa League is not important but if you arrive in the final it is very important. I've never won the Europa League. We are a good team and we are sorry for our supporters and my players who deserve to play in the Champions League. But we need to improve. We got the hardest group, we knew that before the start. Congratulations to Napoli. It is strange for United to go out."
2158: As far as I'm aware, we've yet to hear from Sir Alex Ferguson. Or any Man United player for that matter. Can't say I'm surprised.
2155: Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany: "We got 10 points but it wasn't enough. Fair play to Napoli they have a good team and it would be a big mistake by anyone to underestimate them. The season is not over for us and maybe the Europa League is a realistic goal for us. There is no shame in losing at Napoli and Munich but the draw at home to Napoli was what did us."
mberikwazvow on Twitter:
"I cant imagine united playing on Thursday night. Fergie needs to address the midfield as a matter of urgency."
Luke via text: "I'm not a Man City fan but they took 10 points from 'the group of death'. That would have been enough to get out of six of the other seven groups..."
BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson on BBC Five Live: "There is a big difference between Man City and Man United. United have been used to marrying the Premier League and the Champions League for years. City will gain from the experience. But when Real Madrid and Barcelona hear about the Manchester United result, they will react in disbelief."
BBC pundit Danny Mills on BBC Five Live: "When this group stage came out Manchester United were a certainty to go through, but they have got it completely wrong. Disastrous results at home have cost them dear and I don't think they did enough here tonight to test the goalkeeper. It was such a disappointing performance."
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: It is not just the two Manchester clubs who have suffered a disastrous night. Ajax have also crashed out after losing 3-0 at home to Real Madrid, Lyon advancing from Group D with Real Madrid after an amazing 7-1 win away to Dinamo Zagreb thanks to four goals by Bafetimbi Gomis. CSKA Moscow started the day bottom of Group B but advance after a fine 2-1 win at Inter Milan, Lille and Trabzonspor missing out.
Gus_Harris on Twitter:
"Both Manchester teams out, but surely the most amazing story of tonight goes to Lyon?! Unbelievable."
Kriss Aka, Leicester via text: "Wonder if Fergie still thinks United aren't struggling in Europe?"
2143: For clarity, then, Benfica and FC Basel win through to the last 16 of the Champions League as the top two in Group C ahead of Man Utd, while Bayern Munich and Napoli beat Man City to qualification from Group A. I'm still struggling to get my head round it.
CHAMPIONSHIP LATEST: Night of drama in the Champions League, but let's not neglect the Championship where Aaron McLean bags the winner for Hull against Birmingham at the KC Stadium. The Tigers win 2-1 and go sixth in the table.
2140: Incredible... Stunning... Bemusing? Manchester United and Manchester City - the current top dogs of the Premier League - both crash out of the Champions League at the group stages and will contest the Europa League in early 2012. Get your heads round that.
2137: FULL-TIME Villarreal 0-2 Napoli
2137: FULL-TIME Benfica 1-0 Otelul Galati
2136: FULL-TIME FC Basel 2-1 Man Utd
2135: FULL-TIME Man City 2-0 Bayern Munich
2135: Man Utd throwing more than the kitchen sink at Basel now - I think I saw an anvil in there too - but Nani's wicked cross is collected brilliantly and bravely by Basel keeper Yann Sommer to end their latest attack.
2134: GOALFLASH Ajax 0-3 Real Madrid (Callejon)
2133: We will have three minutes of stoppage time in Basle.
Man Utd goal: Lifeline! What unbelievable drama. Man Utd have a minute of normal time to save themselves here as Phil Jones heads in after Danny Welbeck's shot is saved and Federico Macheda somehow slams the rebound on to the bar. Late drama anyone?
2132: GOALFLASH FC Basel 2-1 Man Utd (Jones)
2131: I've not mentioned this yet, but FC Basel are currently working under the management of caretaker coach Heiko Vogel. Methinks he just got himself the job full time.
2130: GOALFLASH Inter Milan 1-2 CSKA Moscow (Berezutsky)
2129: Deary me. You should see Sir Alex Ferguson's face. The phrase bulldog chewing a wasp comes to mind.
FC Basel goal: It's smash-and-grab from FC Basel, it's an unbelievable scoreline, and it's Europa League in prospect for both Manchester clubs. Xherdan Shaqiri swings over a cross in a rare Basel attack and it is allowed to bounce before being headed home on the dive at the back post by Fabian Frei. Incredible.
2127: GOALFLASH FC Basel 2-0 Man Utd (Frei)
2126: Time to give David Silva a rest in a winning - but ultimately losing - cause, Adam Johnson on to replace the Man City goalscorer.
Danny Mills on BBC 5 live: "I have been disappointed with Man United's effort. Ji-Sung Park worked tirelessly but apart from that United haven't really got the bit between their teeth."
2124: Change for Man Utd - Federico Macheda on for Park Ji-sung.
2123: Napoli have not been brilliant but they have done a thoroughly professional job against Villarreal. Goal hero Marek Hamsik has been replaced. Job done. Surely Napoli won't blow it now, will they?
sis_insights on Twitter:
"The headlines for tomorrow are already buzzing through my head. Pretty Frei'd Up? Or Basel Fawlty?"
WoodcockJ on Twitter:
"ha! Money might be able to buy the PL, but it can't buy the Champs League. Cya Citeh!"
2122: And still they continue to get so near and yet so far. Phil Jones bursts down the right and sends in a dangerous cross, but out comes Basel keeper Yann Sommer to claim just ahead of Ryan Giggs.
2121: It's all down to United, people of Manchester. One goal for them and they save themselves - and they have just over 10 minutes to find it in Basle.
2118: GOALFLASH Dinamo Zagreb 1-7 Lyon (Briand)
Napoli goal: Game, set and match. A simple corner routine from the left somehow finds its way to Marek Hamsik a yard out and the Napoli playmaker can't miss, prodding home the goal that all but ends Manchester City's hopes of a last 16 place.
2118: GOALFLASH Villarreal 0-2 Napoli (Hamsik)
2116: It's amazing what a goal can do to confidence. Napoli are now in complete control at Villarreal with the home team's keeper Diego Lopez forced to save well from Marek Hamsik. Right now City fans, this is only going one way.
2114: At the Etihad Stadium, it's as quiet as a graveyard right now. Conversely, Napoli's travelling fans are in fine voice away to Villarreal as their team moves to within 20 minutes of a last 16 spot.
2113: GOALFLASH Dinamo Zagreb 1-6 Lyon (Gomis)
2112: With 20 minutes remaining in Basle, it's still so open. Man Utd plugging away but, still, to no avail.
CHAMPIONSHIP LATEST: It doesn't take Hull long after half-time to get back on terms against Birmingham as Cameron Stewart tees up Robert Koren for the leveller. 1-1.
BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson at Etihad Stadium: "There's nothing City can do about Napoli's result. All they can do is win this game and they are on course to do that."
2108: Manchester United bring striker Danny Welbeck on for winger Ashley Young as they continue their search for an equaliser.
2107: Are both English teams going to fall foul of the Swiss tonight?
Napoli goal: It's a monster goal in the context of the night and it's bad for Man City. Napoli finally break the deadlock in Villarreal as Swiss international Gokhan Inler crashes into the corner from 20 yards out with the keeper rooted to the spot - and all of a sudden, the Italians are through at Man City's expense.
2106: GOALFLASH Villarreal 0-1 Napoli (Inler)
2104: Man City just starting to look a bit nervy as David Alaba thrashes in a powerful volley from 25 yards which Joe Hart gets down to well to turn away. All is not yet won in that match.
2102: Crossbar! Is this going to one of those nights for Man Utd? Nani's cross evades the leap of Wayne Rooney centre of goal but not the right boot of Markus Steinhofer who inexplicably hooks it at his own goal, only for it to crash back (Steinh)off(er) the bar and away. So close.
2100: At the Etihad Stadium, Bayern have Thomas Mueller, Franck Ribery and Mario Gomez warming up. To be fair, not a bad set of options off the bench. Ahem.
2059: Man Utd continuing to boss proceedings in Basle - but the hosts are looking ever so dangerous on the break.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: The news from the Etihad Stadium has not gone down well with Napoli's manager Walter Mazzarri, who has been ordered to the stand as tempers threaten to boil over in Spain. Still 0-0 against Villarreal and Napoli are heading out.
2056: What a save! David de Gea keeps Manchester United in touch in Basle as he leaps full stretch to tip Xherdan Shaqiri's top corner-bound free-kick over the bar. Nothing small and humble about that save from Shaqiri.
Man City goal: It's been coming and City fans the globe over will now cast nervous gazes Villarreal-Napoli's way. Sergio Aguero receives the ball deep and plays it through to Edin Dzeko, whose ball through finds the run of Yaya Toure perfectly for the midfielder to slide it past Jorg Butt.
2054: GOALFLASH Man City 2-0 Bayern Munich (Yaya Toure)
2054: Manchester United again come close to equalising as Wayne Rooney breaks free for the first time all night, running on to Ryan Giggs's through-ball, opening his body and firing a shot narrowly wide of the far post. Getting closer United.
2054: GOALFLASH Dinamo Zagreb 1-4 Lyon (Gomis, hat-trick)
2054: GOALFLASH Inter Milan 1-1 CSKA Moscow (Cambiasso)
2053: GOALFLASH Inter Milan 0-1 CSKA Moscow (Doumbia)
2053: GOALFLASH Dinamo Zagreb 1-3 Lyon (Gomis)
2052: GOALFLASH Dinamo Zagreb 1-2 Lyon (Gonalons)
2051: Man City pushing forward right at the start of the half again and Edin Dzeko loops an effort narrowly over the bar from David Silva's lay-off on the edge of the area. Bayern look like their fast losing interest here.
2048: Right, massive 45 minutes coming up, and almost simultaneously we are back up and running in Basle and Manchester...
Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson, speaking at half time: "We need to keep playing our possession, keep patient. We're playing very well, we've gone close and hopefully we can get it. Nani has done fantastically well and if that can continue hopefully he'll create an opening for us."
Man City coach David Platt, speaking at half time: "We're just concentrating on winning our game. We've got our noses in front but we don't want to get caught on the counter attack. We need to keep a clean sheet and we can do nothing about what's happening in Spain."
Anon via text: "*Makes ridiculous statement that will never happen* - you heard it here first!"
dmdoody on Twitter:
"Each time the Vidic injury replay is shown, I cringe and hold my leg! #Ouch." It did not look good it? Not good at all.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: Napoli's failure to score in Spain against Villarreal is good news for Manchester City, who are heading into the last 16 with Bayern Munich if the scores remain the same in Group A. Other teams heading through? There hasn't been a goal in Group B so Inter Milan and Trabzonspor are in the driving seat. Benfica and Basel are in a strong position to qualify from Group C while Real Madrid and Ajax are well placed in Group D.
CHAMPIONSHIP LATEST: Chris Wood's strike is the difference at the break as Birmingham take the lead at Hull. The home side have had more of the ball but have not been able to penetrate the visitor's defence.
2040: Might I suggest you have something to say about proceedings tonight? Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text in via 81111 (UK). Now.
BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson at Etihad Stadium: "In the Premier League Joleon Lescott's 'goal' would have been allowed but once they scored all of a sudden City could have been two or three up. It was a lovely move for the goal and David Silva hit it so early the keeper had no chance at all. If City start the second half the way the ended the first they should win comfortably."
BBC pundit Danny Mills in Basle: "Since the goal, United haven't played in the same fashion as before it - they haven't got the ball and moved it quickly, they seem sluggish. Nani is the only bright, inventive spark. There have been too many aimless crosses - United are now powerful in the air as Rooney is up front on his own. They're up against it. The longer it goes on like this, if Basel can get to 60 minutes with a clean sheet, it really gives them something to hold on to."
Alex in Nottingham via text: "Napoli to break Man City hearts with an injury time winner. You heard it here first."
2037: HALF-TIME FC Basel 1-0 Man Utd David Ornstein's
HT snap-shot: "Not only are United a goal down and - as things stand - heading out of the Champions League, but they've also lost captain Nemanja Vidic to injury. Basel are 45 minutes away from a gigantic upset."
2036: HALF-TIME Man City 1-0 Bayern Munich Chief football writer Phil McNulty's
HT snap-shot from the Etihad Stadium: "City have the scent of the Champions League knockout phase. David Silva's goal has disturbed Bayern Munich's early composure and City ended the half in total command."
2033: And now it's the break at St Jakob Park too.
2032: The half-time whistle blows at the Etihad Stadium.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: It's all going on in Group D. Dinamo Zagreb, who have yet to claim a point, have taken a surprise lead over Lyon through Mateo Kovacic - who has been linked with both Manchester clubs - despite being reduced to 10 men following the dismissal of Jerko Leko. It means Ajax, now 2-0 down at home to Real Madrid after Gonzalo Higuain's goal, are heading into the last 16.
2030: Man City are rampant at the moment. David Silva weaves into the area before drilling in a low shot which Jorg Butt beats away and when Silva pokes the loose ball back across the area, Gareth Barry can only fire over the top. Moments later Sergio Aguero curls inches wide from the angle on the left... but a second wouldn't be too far away here if it wasn't for half time, you feel.
2029: Manchester United's evening is going from bad to worse as captain Nemanja Vidic twists his right knee while tussling with Basel goalscorer Marco Streller. The Serbian screams in pain as he goes to ground and immediately signals to be replaced. It looks to be a bad one and he is stretchered off to be replaced by Jonny Evans.
2028: GOALFLASH Ajax 0-2 Real Madrid (Higuain)
2028: GOALFLASH Dinamo Zagreb 1-0 Lyon (Kovacic)
2027: Man Utd are struggling to create any such clear-cut chances so far, despite laying siege to the Basel goal in the last 10 minutes. The Swiss side holding firm with half-time approaching.
2025: Off the line! It's so close to 2-0 Man City as Sergio Aguero powers into the Bayern box with ease before clipping past onrushing keeper Jorg Butt, only for the back-tracking Jerome Boateng to hack the goalbound effort off the line.
Man City goal: But that is quality news for Man City. David Silva collects Edin Dzeko's flick on the egde of the area with one touch and then powers a brilliant finish into the corner from 22 yards with the other. Man City are through as it stands.
2022: GOALFLASH Man City 1-0 Bayern Munich (Silva)
2021: Almost quality news for Man City from the Villarreal... but the Spaniards have a goal disallowed against Napoli as Marco Ruben is ruled offside as he lashes into the corner. Oof.
2019: Manchester United starting to pick the pace up in Basle now, but Wayne Rooney has left his shooting boots at home by the look of things, the frontman dashing on to Ryan Giggs's reverse pass this time but firing low straight at keeper Yann Sommer.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: Real Madrid may have the small matter of El Clasico and Barcelona on Saturday but they are on the way to make it six wins in six Group D games as Jose Callejon gives them the lead over Ajax. Meanwhile, Benfica's Oscar Cardozo has given the Group C leaders the edge over Galati, while Man City's Group A rivals Napoli are enjoying plenty of possession against Villarreal without making it count so far.
2014: Massive miss. Nani works a yard down the right and his cross begs to be tapped in by Wayne Rooney in the centre of goal six yards out, but the Englishman somehow fails to sweep in and Park Ji-Sung scuffs the rebound straight at the keeper. Waste.
CHAMPIONSHIP LATEST: It's rather timid so far in the game between Hull and Birmingham, with chances few and far between. Wade Elliott has had the best chance for the away side, forcing a save out of Hull goalkeeper Peter Gulasci. Still 0-0.
Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at the Etihad Stadium: "Manchester City being frustrated here so far. Bayern Munich's team may be unfamiliar but the trademark organisation of this fine side is very much in evidence. All very subdued inside The Etihad Stadium."
2010: FC Basel winger Xherdan Shaqiri, built like a fly-half, is enjoying himself on the wing tonight, sashaying and shimmying his way through a number of probing runs so far. You might not believe United are falling foul of Shaqiri's charms but... the hips don't lie.
BBC pundit Danny Mills in Basle: "Manchester United look shell-shocked by that goal. The game is not going to plan, their sharpness from the first 10 minutes has gone, the crispness has disappeared. The goal went the way of Basel and they're coming more and more into this game. Now they can drop deeper and there will be less space for the likes of Nani and Young."
2006: Another little warning that Bayern aren't just at City to make up the numbers as Anatoliy Tymoshchuk's cross from the right is well defended by Stefan Savic, but David Alaba is first to the loose ball only to - on the stretch - fire over the top. Moments later Samir Nasri skews well wide after good build-up play between David Silva and Sergio Aguero.
2004: Not a huge amount to report from Basle in the last few minutes - worryingly for Man Utd - with hosts FC Basel matching their opponents rather comfortable in midfield since taking the lead. Long way to go, mind.
2001: The ball is in the net at City! But it's disallowed. David Silva's free-kick floats over everyone from the right and drifts into the net - but a foul is given against Joleon Lescott for a barge on the keeper. Correct decision. Lescott is also booked. Harsh decision.
FC Basel goal: Cat. Amongst. Pigeons. After Chris Smalling and Nemanja Vidic clash into each other in the area, Basel winger Xherdan Shaqiri is able to cross into the Man Utd box unchallenged and it finds its way to Marco Streller via the foot of David de Gea, the striker lashing into the unguarded net. Game on.
1953: GOALFLASH FC Basel 1-0 Man Utd (Streller)
1952: Great City chance! Samir Nasri swaps passes with Yaya Toure down the Man City right and whips in a fine cross to put it on a plate for Sergio Aguero 12 yards out, but the forward's flying header is way off target. Should have done better.
BBC pundit Danny Mills in Basle: "United have started very, very well. They want to get forward, attack, get an early goal and settle down. It's a very attacking line-up with Park Ji-Sung and Ryan Giggs in midfield - they're not defensive players. Ashley Young on the left has already had a few runs at his full-back and that's why he's so good for United. He carries the ball, runs at teams and gets them on the back foot."
1950: Man City also controlling possession at the Etihad Stadium but patience is the name of the game so far from Roberto Mancini's boys. Easy does it.
1948: Man Utd right on to the front foot in Basle and they're already knocking the ball about nicely against their Swiss opponents. With three minutes on the clock a nice move involving Phil Jones and Nani ends with Park Ji-sung's turn-and-shot in the area, his effort flying narrowly over.
1946: And now, too, in Manchester...
1945: Here we go then, we are under way in Basle...
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: Napoli can wreck Manchester City's hopes of making the last 16 - even if Roberto Mancini's side defeat Bayern Munich and it's worth bearing in mind the Italians go into their Group A clash against whipping boys Villarreal on the back of a 4-2 home win over Lecce in Serie A. Villarreal's last result? A 1-0 away defeat to Racing Santander. Start praying City fans.
1944: And don't be afraid to get in touch during play either. Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text in via 81111 (UK). Lovely stuff.
1943: The music - that music - is all played out and the kick-offs are imminent. The last Champions League action of the year is about to played out before our very eyes. Man I'm pumped. You lot?
BBC pundit Danny Mills in Basle: "There should be no problem with complacency this evening. United are very attacking and the only worry for me would be that there isn't an awful lot on the bench."
1941: Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson: "We've got to concentrate and make sure our passing is accurate. It's going to be difficult, no doubt, but it's the same for both teams. Tonight will be different [to the reverse fixture]. We must be strong defensively - if we defend well, as we have in the last few weeks, we should be all right. We have the experience, but discipline is also going to be important."
"This is the 300th European match for Man Utd. They have won 161, drawn 80 and lost 58 of their previous 299 matches in Europe."
1939: Man City manager Roberto Mancini, hoping desperately his side are 'qualificated' by the end of tonight: "You always need to be lucky. If we get good news from Villarreal then it will be all good. Bayern are already through and it is normal for a team to rest players. We need to win if we want to go through. We are thinking only of our game and we will not be following the scores from Spain. If we go through it will be difficult for any team to face us."
BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson at Etihad Stadium: "It's a shame Mario Balotelli is not starting, he's raving bonkers, in a brilliant way. You would love to spend 24 hours in the life of Mario wouldn't you? Long may he continue."
Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at the Etihad Stadium: "Roberto Mancini may be at odds with Bayern Munich's hierarchy but all ill-feeling is set aside in the presence of the great "Kaiser" Franz Beckenbauer. The pair were enjoying an amicable chat on the pitch earlier. How nice."
BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson at Etihad Stadium: "Stefan Savic has been something of a surprising signing. He looks like they have taken a chance on him so far. It will be interesting if Franck Ribery comes on up against him. Munich have missed a trick here with their team selection."
1936: To be fair, his English is still better than my Italian.
1935: It's worth repeating at this juncture that Bayern Munich have already, to use the word of Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini on Sky Sports just now, qualificated. Yes, "qualificated".
1933: MAN CITY v BAYERN MUNICH (1945) Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at the Etihad Stadium: "Man City manager Roberto Mancini is showing real attacking intent with Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Edin Dzeko and Samir Nasri all in the starting line-up. They will hope to take advantage of a weakened Bayern line-up with Mario Gomez, Thomas Mueller, Philipp Lahm, Franck Ribery, Manuel Neuer and Daniel van Buyten all on the bench."
BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson at Etihad Stadium: "I think United will win comfortably, they have put a strong side out tonight. The key is Nemanja Vidic. It doesn't matter who plays alongside him at the back but he is the main man."
1930: FC BASEL v MAN UTD (1945) David Ornstein
reports: "So Manchester United make three changes following Saturday's victory at Aston Villa as David de Gea is preferred to Anders Lindegaard in goal, Ryan Giggs deputises for the suspended Michael Carrick and Park Ji-Sung replaces the injured Javier Hernandez. There is only one change to the Basel team which drew 3-3 at Old Trafford, Xherdan Shaqiri stepping in for Jacques Zoua on the right of midfield.
CHAMPIONSHIP LATEST: One fixture tonight as Hull welcome Birmingham to the KC Stadium. A win for the Tigers will mean they enter a play-off spot but they come up against a Birmingham side who are, themselves, looking for promotion back to the Premier League. The Blues have won just one of their last eight games in all competitions, but it should still be an interesting encounter.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LATEST: It is not only Manchester United and Manchester City who have work to do to qualify for the last 16. Ajax require a point at home to Group D leaders Real Madrid, who are looking for a sixth group win out of six, to guarantee joining their opponents in the knockout phase. And one of three clubs from Group B can still advance with leaders Inter Milan. Trabzonspor, who are away at Lille, are currently second on six points. But Lille and CSKA Moscow, who are in Milan, are right behind on five points.
mutenhe on Twitter:
"That Man United line-up is a proper 4-3-3 formation. Sir Alex has decided to go on attack here. Cant wait for the game to begin."
BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson at Etihad Stadium: "Bayern are taking a risk here by making so many changes. They don't need to rest players as they have a winter break so it's a strange team selection. But the manager will keep some players happy by giving them a game tonight."
Jordrl66 on Twitter:
"Man City have been given a lifeline looking at that Bayern line up, shows munich dont want to knock out the competition!!"
1920: MAN CITY v BAYERN MUNICH (1945) Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at the Etihad Stadium: "Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini may just take a little extra pleasure in beating Bayern Munich tonight, aside from the possibility of qualifying for the knockout phase. He has tired of Bayern president Karl-Heinz Rumenigge's jibes about his spending, saying: 'For six months he talks against us every time for Financial Fair Play and he continues to say he hopes Napoli go through to the second stage.' Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes was more conciliatory as he said: 'There is no resentment, it's more about two teams fighting each other in competition on a sporting level.' Let's see."
1916: FC BASEL v MAN UTD (1945) David Ornstein
reports: "Having accused his side of "complacency" in the
reverse fixture,Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson says 'we need focus' and concedes 'the atmosphere [at St Jakob Park] is very powerful and helps Basel'. Basel counterpart Heiki Vogel hopes 'we can pull of the big coup' against 'one of the strongest teams in the world", but admits "a lot has has got to come from above' if they are to triumph. High-ball tactic?"
1913: MAN CITY v BAYERN MUNICH (1945) Chief football writer Phil McNulty
at the Etihad Stadium: "Manchester City's attempt to qualify for the Champions League knockout phase goes down to the wire against Bayern Munich. In contrast to their outstanding Premier League form, City have been unconvincing in Europe but they must be at their best tonight as only victory will keep their hopes alive. The Etihad Stadium has just been on the end of a torrential downpour but conditions are improving as kick-off time approaches. Fans still filing in but a real atmosphere of anticipation in and around the ground tonight."
1905: FC BASEL v MAN UTD (1945) David Ornstein
reports: "In 16 previous Champions League campaigns, Manchester United have failed to qualify from the group stage just twice. They'll be desperate to avoid an unwanted hat-trick tonight. Sir Alex Ferguson's men are unbeaten in eight away games at this level, but
Basel held them to a 3-3 draw at Old Trafford
and know victory in front of their boisterous home fans will send them into the last 16 for only the second time."
MikeFHealy on Twitter:
"As a Manchester United fan finishing second in the group wouldn't be so bad as we could draw APOEL in the knockout stage."
Ollie in Castle Leazes via text: "Who needs Christmas when you've got the Champions League?"
1859: FC BASEL v MAN UTD (1945) Basel: Sommer, Steinhofer, Abraham, Dragovic, Park, Shaqiri, Cabral, Granit Xhaka, Fabian Frei, Alexander Frei, Streller. Subs: Colomba, Chipperfield, Stocker, Kusunga, Kovac, Zoua, Pak. Man Utd: De Gea, Smalling, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Park, Giggs, Jones, Young, Nani, Rooney. Subs: Lindegaard, Evans, Welbeck, Fletcher, Valencia, Macheda, Gibson. Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Holland)
1856: So Bayern Munich opt to rotate the monster out of their starting XI. Among the changes, keeper Manuel Neuer starts on the bench. Saying that, he did win 500,000 euros in the German version of television show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? last month so has probably been 'out of commission' since. Or at least he would have been had he not given it all to charity. Hero (/fool).
monsieurwpayne on Twitter:
"Less nervous now I know Park is starting. He's a legend, he always performs in the big games. Utd to win!"
Anon via text: "If Man City go out of the Champions League tonight, I think the Premier League title race will be all but over."
1851: TEAM NEWS SNAP Mario Balotelli starts on the bench for Manchester City against Bayern Munich, who have made umpteen changes to their side having already guaranteed top spot in the group, with the likes of Mario Gomez, Thomas Mueller, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben missing out. Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko also start for the hosts.
1849: TEAM NEWS SNAP Ryan Giggs and Park Ji-sung start in midfield for Manchester United at Basel tonight, with Rio Ferdinand back in defence.
1842: Either side of those two beauties tonight, I'll also be bringing you the goals as they happen from tonight's other Champions League ties as well as the biggest and best action from tonight's
Hull v BirminghamChampionship match. Ooh you lucky lot.
JackOHanson on Twitter:
"RE: 1833 - all that title needed was epic film music, best goal clips, explosions... and maybe a few ninjas."
WHAT MANCHESTER CITY NEED TO DO
It's pretty simple, too, for Man City - though a touch more ominous. Roberto Mancini's boys have to win
at home to Bayern Munich.
No other result will do by virtue of the fact that they lose out in a head-to-head with Napoli if they finish level on points. Even a win might not be enough for City, however, because if Napoli win away at Villarreal - who are currently pointless from five
games - then City are out whatever. Worrying.
kenkasm on Twitter:
"Your cinema-voiceover-guy line actually had me fooled into reading the intro JUST LIKE THAT! Now bring it..."
WHAT MANCHESTER UNITED NEED TO DO
It's pretty simple. Currently second in
a win or a draw tonight
away at Basel
will see Man Utd through to the last 16, a defeat will dump them out. If they better Benfica's result at home to Otelul Galati, they wil progress as group winners.
1836: Yes, it's a monster, MONSTER night of Champions League football. Man City and Man Utd may be top dogs in the Premier League right now, but in Europe they're having to fight tooth and nail just to stay in the competition. And the last thing either side wants is to play a starring role in the sequel to tonight's production... 'Man Utd and/or Man City In The Europa League'. Yep, it's a horror.
1834: Snappy title huh?
1833: Two teams. One dream. 90 minutes of heart-stopping, nerve-jangling, gut-wrenching football. In a world where the Champions League rules all, the blue and red halves of Manchester take to the fields of green in the aim of conquering it. They come in as footballers... they will leave as heroes. (Or, you know, villains). Welcome to the Wednesday night premier of... 'Manchester United & Manchester City Bid to Qualify for the Champions League Last 16'.
1830: Winner-takes-all. Do-or-die. All or nothing... oh, hold on, I used this introduction yesterday. Wait a minute... I'm going to go all cinema-voiceover-guy on this bad boy... *clears throat*...
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