x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Envious Bayern Munich worried about spending power of Manchester City

City can expect no favours form a Bayern side whose chief executive has repeatedly criticised the spending of the Premier League club.

Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the chief executive of Bayern Munich, did not mind announcing he had spoken to Napoli's predident, Aurelio De Laurentiis, and given an assurance. "I told him he has nothing to worry about, as a far as Bayern playing their best against Manchester City is concerned."

Napoli may not even need favours from Bayern tonight. As long as they defeat Villarreal, they will finish runners-up to the German team in Group A and progress with Bayern to the next round. Should they only draw in Spain, then a City win against Bayern would propel the English club above the Italians. The slim hope in Manchester is that Villareal, out of contention, play with freedom and a verve they have been missing most of this season and that the Germans ease up.

Ease up? No chance, insist Bayern's players. Daniel Van Buyten, once of City, pointed out after the weekend's 4-1 win against Werder Bremen had reinforced Bayern's position at the top of the Bundesliga, that "it wouldn't be bad thing at all to get City out of the competition. They'd be a hard potential opponent for us later on."

"We'll play our own game and that will be tough for them," added Thomas Muller, who insists, ominously for City, that the fact he is suffering a cold should not stop him playing a part. Arjen Robben, now back from injury, is likely to start and having received a ticking-off from executive president Uli Hoeness about the selfishness of some of his recent football, has a point to make.

So does Rummenigge. What he and De Laurentiis have in common is a history of criticising City for the money their Abu Dhabi owner spends. They may just be envious; they say they prefer their own economic models. They both want to enter the new year without worrying about any damage City's wealth might directly inflict on them.