Manchester City vs. Bayern Munich: Post-Match Reflection


What a breathtaking finish to a highly entertaining game. It was the hat-trick of Aguero — or more specifically his two goals in the final few minutes to win the game — that helped set up a hugely anticipated finish to Group E with Roma, CSKA and Manchester City now sitting on 5 points with one game to go.

Manchester City came into the match understandably as the underdogs. While Bayern Munich were missing key players like Lahm and Muller, there was however, a strong presence of stars at the Etihad in Bayern shirts. City had to deal with the absence of suspended duo Fernandinho and Yaya Toure, after their sendings off against CSKA.

The early kickoff in the group, CSKA vs Roma, resulted in a 1-1 draw, greatly benefiting City and giving the sense that there was still a realistic chance of progressing, since they weren’t required to beat Bayern tonight.

However that never came across. While City were set up with Aguero as a lone striker, there was no sitting back from the first whistle to the last, giving the impression that it was a must win game.

The match

It was Manchester City who broke the deadlock first, despite a dominating start by the German club. On 20 minutes Aguero was put one on one with Neuer from a beautiful ball forward from Lampard, only for Benatia to take him out. A clear penalty, and rightly a sending off, by virtue of him being the last man.

Aguero held his nerve against arguably the best keeper in the world, powerfully placing the spot kick out of his reach. With a striker in such form, it would be silly to bet otherwise. 1-0.

Bayern continued with their game plan despite being a man down, and impressively kept a great deal of possession as we’ve come to expect from Pep Guardiola’s sides. Their possession was, however, met with a real hunger and desire by City who were determined to not disappoint by letting their lead slip.

Unfortunately for City, Bayern did find an equalizer a few minutes before half time. It came from a smartly-taken free kick by Xabi Alonso just outside the penalty box. He managed to hit a low curved shot around the wall and past Joe Hart. The keeper’s positioning has to be questioned here for me. 1-1.

To add to the misery, Robert Lewandowski got the better of Sagna — a surprise inclusion in place of Zabaleta — by beating him to a cross and heading/shouldering the ball into the net. It really was unfortunate for Man City, as to concede right before half-time is always painful. 1-2.

The second half continued almost exactly how the first had finished. There were two early chances for Robben and Alonso to put the game out of reach, but they failed to take the opportunity.

Around the 65 minute mark, Milner and Sagna were replaced by Jovetic and Zabaleta, both tasked with getting Manchester City back into the match.

The pressure was building at this point, with a sweetly struck shot from distance by Frank Lampard forcing Neuer into a finger tip save.

With just five minutes left on the clock it looked like Bayern would hold out. However Alonso made a fatal mistake when his pass was cut out by substitute Jovetic who played a fine pass to his strike partner Aguero, who just doesn’t miss. The Argentine slotted home with a composed finish. 2-2.

Finally, the game entered stoppage time, but Aguero was not done. He got his hat-trick, sending the Eithad wild when he caught Boateng out near the Bayern box, calmly getting the winner in the process. 3-2. Full time.

Player performances

Manchester City had some real performers tonight. While Aguero is — of course — man of the match for single-handedly winning the game. I have to give a lot of credit to Frank Lampard who got the assist — if you like — for the penalty, as well as for his great play-making ability and expansive passing. I was a bit disappointed with Nasri who had rather ironically said pre-match, that the players futures were on the line.

Bayern’s midfield deserves great credit for keeping the team in the match when they went down to ten men. Boateng despite his mistake at the end, had a good game, with several key blocks and tackles. Ribery though, didn’t have the best of performances.

What it means for Manchester City

Progression to the last 16 will occur if:

  • Manchester City beat Roma and CSKA fail to defeat Bayern Munich
  • Manchester City secure a draw and CSKA lose to Bayern

However, if both games end in a draw, then Roma progress, and Manchester City are out.