Champions League

Boateng writes off Man City chances

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Jerome Boateng cannot wait to meet up with his old Manchester City team-mates on Tuesday night but has written off their chances of reaching the Champions League final.

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Boateng left for Bayern Munich in a £13.5million deal this summer after spending just one season with the Blues.

A succession of minor injuries prevented Boateng from making his mark at the Etihad Stadium, restricting him to just 24 appearances in all competitions.

He made plenty of friends though, which is why he is keen to meet up, having exchanged texts with Nigel de Jong, Vincent Kompany and Edin Dzeko, who all spent part of their careers in Germany.

However, the 23-year-old also felt the team spirit was not strong enough to maintain an interest in Europe's number one club competition until the latter stages.

And he is equally certain the club he has joined, with their proud history as four-time winners and runners-up in 2010, are better than the one he left behind.

"They're a huge squad and the team had no sense of togetherness," the Germany defender said last week.

"I do not see them getting to the final because there are others (who are better). We have the better team.

"But I still have a lot of contact with the players in England and clearly I will be teasing them."

However, Manchester City manager insists his players have no need to harbour an inferiority complex.

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City's first Champions League away game is sprinkled with stardust.

Bayern were runners-up as recently as 2010 and have won the competition four times, emphasising their status as one of Europe's superpowers.

Yet Mancini is adamant such history should not leave his own squad feeling overawed at the task ahead of them.

"Playing against Bayern Munich is always difficult for an English team. But the same is also (true) for them,'' said Mancini.

"It will be a difficult game. When you play against this team you can lose.

"But we are not a small team. We are a good team. We play against them without a problem.

"We have a lot of respect for them. They have a great history. But we want to do a good job.''

Nevertheless, that a club who only 13 years ago were spending their midweeks dreaming of victory over Macclesfield are now taking on Bayern as equals is remarkable.

Yet City's long-suffering fans have become numb, such is the frequency with which they have had to pinch themselves since Sheikh Mansour completed his multi-million pound Blues buy-out in 2008.

So very quickly, City have hauled in the heavyweights above them.

Now, with so much less distance to travel, the strides are shorter. Some are still very significant.

"For the supporters it is an important moment,'' Mancini acknowledged.

"Life changes sometimes. Now we are a top club. But one result or one game cannot change everything.

"As a club, a team and a squad we have improved a lot this year and hope to do so in the future.

"But it is clear that it is an important game for this group. If we win it will be very important.''

There has been a close bond between Munich and Manchester ever since the air crash in 1958, when 23 people - including eight Manchester United players - died.

City shed tears too and club secretary Bernard Halford will lead a delegation that will lay a wreath in honour of the fallen, which included former City goalkeeper Frank Swift, who became a journalist upon his retirement from the game.

Mancini acknowledged the sadness of the event. But his focus must be solely on today's game, the opposition buoyed by an impressive start which seems them top the Bundesliga with 18 points from their opening seven games.

"It wouldn't change our situation,'' responded Mancini, when asked about the consequences of defeat.

"I have said this before. This is the hardest group in the Champions League because there are four teams who could go through.''

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