How Pep Guardiola’s Tactics and Man City’s Stellar Performance Led to Their 3-0 Victory Over Bayern Munich

IAN LADYMAN: Bayern were well in this for so long but by the end they were hanging on desperately to their dignity as City ruthlessly took charge of Champions League quarter-final with a 3-0 win


Thrilling, deadly, clinical and at times irresistible. This is the combination that Manchester City brought to what was supposed to be the toughest fixture of their season so far. By the end, Bayern Munich had been brought to their knees and it is a feeling that many teams who leave this stadium will know very well.

Bayern were well in this game for a long time. For a period in the first half and for another one at the start of the second, the German champions and six-time winners were marginally the better team.

At times City goalkeeper Ederson seemed engaged in a personal one-on-one dual with former team-mate Leroy Sane. It was a competition the Brazilian won and he needed to.

But still Bayern were beaten. By the end they were well-beaten and indeed hanging on desperately to their dignity as City’s huge and powerful waves crashed upon their shores.

And this is what a City team featuring such extravagantly gifted attacking players can do. They can engage one of the best teams in Europe in a game of football that for long periods seemed rather nip and tuck and still emerge as clear winners.

Manchester City cruised to a 3-0 win against Bayern Munich in the first league of their Champions League quarter-final tie
Midfielder Rodri celebrates after firing Manchester City into the lead with a brilliant curled finish past Yann Sommer
His impressive long-range strike left Sommer with no chance as it flew into the top corner to leave Tuchel's men stunned
Bernardo Silva headed home from close range to double City's lead in the second half and ensure they took control of this tie


Man City (3-2-4-1): Ederson 8; Akanji 6, Dias 7, Ake 7.5; Stones 7, Rodri 7.5; Silva 8.5, De Bruyne 6.5 (Alvarez 68min, 6), Gundogan 7, Grealish 7; Haaland 7.

Scorers: Rodri 27, Silva 70, Haaland 76.

Booked: Silva.

Manager: Pep Guardiola 7.

Bayern Munich (4-2-3-1): Sommer 8; Pavard 6, Upamecano 6, De Ligt 6.5, Davies 6 (Cancelo 81); Kimmich 6, Goretzka 6.5; Coman 7, Musiala 6.5 (Mane 69, 6), Sane 7.5; Gnabry 6.5 (Muller 80).

Booked: Davies, Pavard.

Manager: Thomas Tuchel 6.

Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano (Spain) 6.


This is just one of the reasons we should regard Pep Guardiola’s teams as favourites to win this competition at last. Despite the mental demons that seem to plague Guardiola and at times steer him off course in the Champions League, his team is so deeply and magnificently talented that it once again seems inconceivable that this will not be their breakthrough season.

If we presume disaster doesn’t befall City next week in the Allianz Arena, Real Madrid or Chelsea will wait in the semi-final. They will fear neither. Real knocked them out in the last four last season but it was a fluke. City were the better team in both legs yet lost at the death. It happens but it should not happen again.

This was a real test for the English champions on an evil night of early spring weather in Manchester. It was far from easy and was a more complex assignment than the final score suggests.

But it was never going to be straight forward and the fact they managed to come through in such a flurry of big punches should propel them forward in Europe and indeed in the Premier League over weeks to come.

City’s goals were marvellous. Rodri’s 25-yard shot was a thing of geometrical beauty. Erling Haaland’s chipped cross to allow Bernardo Silva to head in with 20 minutes left was just very clever.

And Haaland’s own goal, six or seven minutes later, was born of a collective team desire to bully an opponent when they were at their weakest. That, in its own way, was just as impressive as the ones that came before and it is that one that will probably make the difference next week.

Not that City will necessarily need a three-goal cushion to win the tie. No, it’s not that. It’s that Thomas Tuchel’s players know now that they require something simply quite special – rather than merely unlikely – to extend their run in this year’s competition.

Guardiola will fret over Kevin de Bruyne’s knee. The Belgian got his studs stuck in the turf in the second half and seemed to hyper extend it That is the kind of accident that damages ligaments.

That apart, this was perfect for City. Early on, they lacked their usual menace. Bayern were just as composed and structured and confident as we expected. City lacked dynamism and created just the one chance, Haaland collecting a flick from Jack Grealish to shoot low at Yann Sommer.

Erling Haaland made it 3-0 to City after getting on the end of John Stones' knockdown to put the home side on easy street
Haaland's goal ensured that City have complete control of the tie ahead of the second leg
City keeper Ederson had to make a number of saves to keep out Leroy Sane in the second half as Bayern looked for a way back

The Bayern goalkeeper was to have an increasingly busy night but at this juncture there was no sign of it. Indeed it took a deflection off a defender’s heel to get City moving just before the half hour.

Young Bayern midfielder Jamal Musiala probably would have scored had Ruben Dias not blocked his low shot. It was an important diversion. And within a minute or so, City led as Dias turned inside on the right and advanced in to space to curl a stunning left foot shot round Bayer captain Joshua Kimmich and beyond Sommer’s right hand in to the top corner. What a goal. What an unlikely scorer.

It was a goal that seemed to deliver City an adrenaline shot and that was to be mirrored when they eventually scored their second much later in the game. Here, they were denied by Sommer’s foot as he diverted an Ilkay Gundogan shot over while lying on the ground. It was a superb save and there were to be others.

But first came a crucial and decisive period of the game. Former City forward Sane had driven one long shot across goal just before half-time and emerged for the second period to be denied by Ederson three times in seven minutes. Each shot was powerfully struck and each could easily have gone in.

Man City boss Pep Guardiola knows his side now have one foot in the Champions League semi-finals after an impressive win
It was a difficult night for ex-Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel as his side were punished for their defensive errors at the Etihad

For fifteen minutes or more Bayern were on top. Grealish did well to deflect a cross over the bar in the 55th minute and from the corner Matthijs de Ligt seemed set to head Bayern on terms only for City defender Nathan Ake to clear from almost on the goal line.

A goal here for the Germans and this tie could have swung. Bayern looked capable. But City’s late surge was just too much for Tuchel’s team to resist. Their second goal was a disaster for Bayern defender Dayot Upamecano. Robbed by Grealish as he attempted to carry the ball out in the 70th minute, the City player backheeled to Haaland who crossed cleverly for Silva to head in.

That felt like a killer play but better was to come. In the 76th minute a City cross deep to the far post found Stones who headed back across goal for Haaland to volley in on the stretch.

There could have been more. Sommer was required to save twice more before he was done. But three was enough. Munich had gone from the contest to the canvas in the blink of an eye. Game over. Tie over.

UEFA Champions League is available only on Stan Sport.

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