Bayern Munich vs Manchester City: Five things we learnt from the Allianz Arena

Bayern Munich 1 Manchester City 0

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The Independent Online

1. Experience counts against new boys City

While Bayern have played three finals in the last five seasons the only City player to have won the Champions League (assuming Frank Lampard does not play too often) is Yaya Touré under Pep Guardiola, at Barcelona in 2009. Martin Demichelis has played in the final – for Bayern in 2010 – but while City’s players have experience up to and including the World Cup final they are still learning in Europe’s premier club competition. They have lost more matches (nine) then they have won (eight) since returning to the competition in 2011. As Vincent Kompany suggested pre-match, City probably will lift the trophy eventually but, as he also said, “everything has to be perfect”. Tonight it was not.

2. It’s always Müller time as forward shows worth

Thomas Müller said recently he could “understand many find it hard to get me as a player,” but there is no one better at finding those pockets of space behind and around defenders, and combining it with a goal poacher’s predatory instincts. After two successful World Cups no one underestimates him anymore – he was an obvious target for Louis van Gaal and Manchester United in the summer – but knowing his threat is one thing, stopping it another entirely. He could have scored twice in the opening quarter tonight and was a constant menace, driving Kompany into a crude foul on him. It is to City’s credit that his influence faded, but he will again be a key player in this competition.

 

3. Alonso is a steal to prove Benitez’s decision wrong

Leroy Fer, who looked so off the pace at Old Trafford on Sunday it could have been a fan playing, cost QPR £8m. Bayern Munich paid the same for Xabi Alonso. So the Basque is eight years older, and doubtless commands a higher wage, but Alonso is only 32 and with his game could play for another five years. There will be few better signings this season. It was pipe and slippers time last night for the Spaniard as he orchestrated Bayern’s attacks and mopped up many of City’s. Rafael Benítez did many good things for Liverpool, but allowing Alonso to leave was not among them. Since feeling forced out at Anfield he has won the Champions League, the Super Cup, La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the World Cup and Euro 2012. Not a bad haul for someone Benítez viewed as inferior to Gareth Barry.

4. Winning goals should always be enjoyed

So maybe Jerome Boateng did not have the best of times at Manchester City, but it was still good to see a player celebrate scoring against his former club properly. Not by taunting them a la Adebayor, but by jumping into the air, exulting with joy, hugging his team-mates and chest-bumping his manager. If Lampard scores against Chelsea this season, he can be forgiven not celebrating, but it has become an affectation for too many goalscorers. Incidentally, there were ten City players in the penalty area during the attack that led to Boateng’s goal, but at no time were any within five yards of him. Jesus Navas, who had been playing in that area, had been taken off as City sought to counter Arjen Robben on the other flank. On such small details are matches won and lost.

5. Lessons should be learned from German dominance

An injury-hit Borussia Dortmund swarmed all over Arsenal on Tuesday evening, a similarly under-strength Bayern Munich dominated Manchester City, and unheralded Schalke frustrated Chelsea. Germany have worked the oracle in combining excellence at international level with a strong club game. The Bundesliga title race may not be as competitive as the Premier League’s due to Bayern’s recent superiority, but the clubs trailing in their wake are good ones - and feature plenty of German players. Meanwhile, in England, the FA can only tinker at the edges in areas such as work permit regulations.

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