City won’t meet teams of Bayern Munich’s quality very often this season - and that is perhaps the only crumb of comfort the Blues will take out of this game.
The European champions were superior in almost every department as they gave Manuel Pellegrini’s side a lesson in Champions League football that few will few forget during a thoroughly deserved 3-1 victory.
As good as the Bundesliga side were, City were equally disappointing for the first 75 minutes on a night when the hosts were second best in almost every department, but hopefully, this result will not do irreparable damage to the Sky Blues’ ambition of progressing past the group stages.
City just couldn’t get going in the first-half as Bayern’s slick passing and movement left the hosts looking somewhat lethargic and leggy – or maybe it was just Pep Guardiola’s side were that good
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Munich’s tackling was sharper and general all-round play left the Blues desperately looking for inspiration from somewhere, but with Jerome Boateng and Dante dominant in central defence on the rare occasions City did attack, Manuel Neuer had no real saves of any note to make in the first 45 minutes.
The only real surprise of that opening period was that the Blues went in at the break only a goal behind after Franck Ribery put the visitors ahead after just seven minutes with a vicious dipping shot that Joe Hart couldn’t prevent squirming past him.
A deflected Tony Kroos shot on 17 minutes whistled inches wide and David Alaba’s cross was nearly turned into his own net by Matija Nastasic just past the half-hour, but the ball fortuitously bounced into the waiting arms of Hart with the home defence at sixes and sevens.
It seemed just a matter of how long Pellegrini could resist bringing the fit-again David Silva off the bench as his side desperately looked for a foot-hold in the game and some control in midfield in a contest they had been second best in for long periods.
Sadly, things didn’t get any better after the break. After City had been flagged offside for a number of borderline decisions in the first-half, the flag was sadly lacking as Thomas Muller ghosted in behind Gael Clichy to collect Dante’s superb long pass before rounding Hart to double the Germans’ lead on 56 minutes.
Three minutes after that, the game was effectively over as a contest as Arjen Robben skipped past Nastasic to drill the ball past Hart to make it 3-0 before the hour-mark.
Bayern poured forward looking to further punish a City team that were badly out of sorts with Hart called upon to make two fine saves in quick succession as the visitors threatened to run up a cricket score
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Muller hit the inside of the post before the home support finally had something to cheer as sub Alvaro Negredo pulled one back with a powerful shot that gave Neuer no chance.
Then former City defender Jerome Boateng saw red after pulling down Yaya Toure on the edge of the box – Silva striking the bar from the resulting free-kick and Negredo came within a whisker of scoring again – but it was no more than a late show of defiance.
The Blues will learn from this defeat but Bayern have set the bar that not only the rest of Group D must aspire to, but on this evidence, the whole of Europe.