Bayern Munich produced a memorable performance at the Etihad Stadium to defeat Manchester City 3-1 on the night.
It was a performance worthy of the Champions of Europe. Bayern Munich produced a master class in European football as Manuel Pellegrini and his men were left in awe. In fact the 3-1 score line perhaps flatters Manchester City considering how they were outplayed in this match.
One of the prime reasons behind the removal of Roberto Mancini and the appointment of Manuel Pellegrini was City’s poor performances in Europe in past seasons. But Pep Guardiola and his men showed how much the Manchester club needs to improve in order to compete with the best in this tournament.
The visitors took an early lead in the game. Franck Ribery scored in the 7th minute of the match as Joe Hart was disappointingly beaten at his near post. It was only a sign of things to come. Bayern dominated the game from that point on and grabbed most of the possession. Even when they didn’t have the ball, they pressed together and won back the ball from City high up the pitch and launched counter-attacks. It was reminiscent of the way Barcelona used to press under Pep Guardiola. City were lucky to have conceded only one goal in the first half, but that respite lasted only for ten minutes in the second half as Thomas Muller broke the offside trap and scored to double Bayern’s lead. Only three minutes after this Arjen Robben, who had been a constant threat throughout the match, got the third goal of the game after turning Nastasic inside out and shooting with what was supposed to be his weaker foot. It was another disappointing goal to concede for Joe Hart, who will have to take the blame for two of Bayern’s three goals. But it was nothing short of what the German side’s performance deserved. City got back late on in the game with substitute Negredo scoring from a wonderful curling shot. German center back Boateng received a red card in the 86th minute of the match, which somewhat spoiled an otherwise perfect display, but the home side were unable to capitalise on that and the game ended 3-1.
At times one has got to put his hands up and accept that the opponents were too good on the day, and that is exactly what Manuel Pellegrini did in the post-match interview. But he knows that this wasn’t a decisive result, and they still have a lot of do to qualify from this group. He is also keen to address some of the weakness that was exposed last night before they face Everton in the league.
“We didn’t play well and Bayern, as they always are, were very good. We made a lot of errors at important times. We tried a different way of playing in the second half, but we needed to get more possession. David Silva is a player who can help us with that, but he was only fit enough for 20 minutes tonight.
“The result was important in the group, but it is not decisive. It shows where we are and what level we are at, but we need to address some things before our game [against Everton FC] at the weekend.” – The Manchester City manager said.
Pep Guardiola on the other hand could hardly suppress his delight with his team’s performance and said that it was a conscious effort from the players to win back the ball from City higher up the pitch and put them under pressure. He also pointed out the importance of Lahm in the holding role and insisted that they will continue to work hard as a team.
“We pressured them well when we weren’t in possession and so forced City to play long balls, which we were able to win. We moved the ball around well. Ever since Philipp Lahm started playing further up the pitch, we have started to create more chances. We are happy to play against a big club and to play like this. I like coming to England and when my team plays like this, I am very happy. We are delighted with our display.
“The team showed in the past what they are capable of and today they followed up on that. We are extremely happy to have delivered such a good performance away from home against one of England’s best teams. We now need to show the same presence and dominance in the return game, but until then we won’t stop working hard and trying to improve.” – The Bayern Munich Manager said.
Arjen Robben was a constant threat down the right, and he gave Clichy and Nastastic a hard time throughout the night. He also switched flanks with Ribery at times, but he was at his best when he ran at the City defence, cutting in to his favorite left foot or going down the line on his right. He got his much deserved goal in the second half and became the first Bayern Munich player to score in five consecutive Champions League matches. The above heatmap shows his positioning and movement on the pitch last night.