Manchester City 1 Bayern Munich 3 match report: German masterclass leaves Joe Hart and his City team-mates humiliated
Disappointment for Manuel Pellegrini's team as European champions live up to every inch of their billing
When it came to the substitutions of Bastian Schweinsteiger and then Arjen Robben in the closing stages, a wave of applause broke out among the home fans around the away dug-out who were realistic enough to concede that there is no point denying a masterclass when it is staring you in the face.
This is, after all, the European champions and unfortunately for Manchester City, they lived up to every inch of their billing - a painful experience indeed for Manuel Pellegrini's team. If this is the gains from the early days of the much-heralded holistic approach that Manchester City seek, then one would be forgiven for thinking that they would be better served by the old attritional ways of Roberto Mancini.
The sorry tale of City's demise was writ large in the Uefa statistical analysis that is distributed after Champions League games. Bayern Munich completed 463 of the 572 passes they attempted, an 81 per cent success rate. Manchester City completed 219 of their 337 attempted passes, at a woeful 65 per cent success rate. And that is before you get to the awkward tale of another bad night for Joe Hart.
It is one of the peculiarities of football that City were the breadth of a crossbar away from losing this game by only a single goal, yet even the eventual two-goal margin does not do justice to the mastery that Bayern had of the ball for long periods. They went down to ten men with four minutes remaining when Jerome Boateng denied Yaya Toure the proverbial obvious goalscoring opportunity and David Silva hit the bar with the free-kick.
Yes, there was a heroic last stand from City led by their substitutes: Silva, the ever-willing James Milner and Alvaro Negredo, who scored their only goal. But that was an intervention in the last ten minutes, for the rest of it there was much futile chasing of a football that Bayern really did not care to share.
While Mancini's new Galatasaray team drew 2-2 with Juventus in Turin, so Pellegrini's team found themselves steamrollered by the best modern German football has to offer in 2013, and it was deeply impressive. It would be a push to say that Bayern have reinvented the game again, as Pep Guardiola's Barcelona team seemed to do at their very best, but this is their moment. Arsene Wenger's assessment of them as this season's Champions League “super-favourites” looks right on the money.
Their passing sequences were something to behold and the finishing of Franck Ribery, Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben sufficiently ruthless although if there was a criticism it was that they might have scored more. Unfortunately for City, and Roy Hodgson, the Hart issue was raised yet again.
The England goalkeeper should have saved the shot from which Ribery scored. He was also beaten at his near post by Robben for the third and, come to think of it, was hesitant when Muller dribbled round him for the second. He can do without the scrutiny but unfortunately for him there is a strong case for Costel Pantilimon taking his place. Hodgson is much less likely to go down that route with England.
Franck Ribery's strike gave Bayern an early lead
The first 45 minutes in particular were a chastening experience for the City hierarchy. There is no shame in coming off second best to the reigning European champions. The problem at the interval was that the home side were being passed around and muscled out the way in a fashion that belied their ambitions to compete with the very best.
All the pain was coming from the midfield, where Philipp Lahm patrolled in front of the Bayern back four and Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos dominated the centre of the pitch. Toure did not see much of the ball in the early stages and then, when he did, his confidence was diminished and he found himself making the kind of mistakes that one might expect of a lesser player.
Thomas Muller rounds Joe Hart for Bayern's second
Ribery scored the first within seven minutes when he cut in from the left and hit a shot inside Hart's near post. The England goalkeeper got down to it well enough but it came off his wrist and flew up into the goal. It was not the worst mistake he has made in recent memory but given the back-catalogue that is only a very small consolation.
Really, Bayern should have scored more than the one they managed before the break. Robben broke down the right on 31 minutes and hit a shot across goal that Muller lunged at but failed to connect with. Later, David Alaba hit a shot in the area that deflected rather fortunately into Hart's hands. For all Bayern's dominance of the game, City could console themselves that they restricted their serious chances on goal.
Robben scores Bayern's third, much to Joe Hart's dismay
Eleven minutes after half-time, the second Bayern goal was made by a fabulous long angled ball from the centre-back Dante that Muller took on his chest and dribbled round Hart. He slipped the City offside line with notable ease although his job was made much simpler by Gael Clichy's negligence in tracking the run. The City left-back just left Muller to it.
Negredo nets a consolation goal for City
The third goal, on the hour, began when Kroos, brilliantly effective, robbed the ball from Fernandinho in midfield and set Robben off on a strong run at the heart of the City defence. He veered right and beat Hart easily. Negredo scored with ten minutes left, a turn and shot that precipitated the mini-fightback that was also encouraged by Boateng's red card.
The former City man was the only Bayern player who was not afforded any plaudits by the home crowd. As for the rest of those in red shirts, the City fans, knew they had simply been too good.
Jerome Boateng was sent off for bringing down Yaya Toure
Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Hart; Richards, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy; Toure, Fernandinho; Navas, Aguero (Milner 70), Nasri (Silva 70); Dzeko (Negredo 56).
Bayern Munich (4-1-4-1): Neuer; Rafinha, Boateng, Dante, Alaba; Lahm; Robben (Shaqiri 78), Schweinsteiger (Kirchoff 76), Kroos, Ribery (Gotze 83); Muller.
Man of the match Robben.
Referee B Kuipers (Netherlands).
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