MAN CITY 3, BAYERN MUNICH 0
Manchester City produced one of their most memorable European performances on a magical night at the Etihad to build a big lead against the mighty Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League last eight tie.
The German champions, who play in the shadow of the Alps, literally have a mountain to climb if they are to overturn such a hefty deficit in next Wednesday’s return.
Goals from Rodri, Bernardo Silva and a record-breaking 45th of the season from Erling Haaland put City into a commanding position.
And Bayern would have been completely blown away but for a brilliant goalkeeping display from Yann Sommer.
City, at times had to defend resolutely, which they did as Bayern had a period where they dominated early in the second half.
But they withstood pressure and at the opposite end of the field were far more clinical than their visitors as they extended their unbeaten streak at home in the Champions League to 25 games, the longest run by an English side in the competition’s history.
It was a special night for Haaland whose goal eclipsed the previous best from the Premier League era of 44 goals which had been shared by Mohamed Salah and Ruud van Nistelrooy.
This was also a sixth goal in eight games Haaland had scored against Bayern, yet he had never been on the winning side in his previous seven matches.Embed from Getty Images
City manager Pep Guardiola was keen to point out it is only half time in the fixture.
He said: “I have been there (Bayern manager) for three years and know this is a special team.
“To knock out these teams, you need two good gamed, not just one.”
Guardiola pointed out Bayern could have scored several goals but for their resolute defending, explaining for 55/60 minutes it was a tight game.
“The first five,10,15 minutes of the second half they were better, they had chances. But after, we adjust something and in the last parts of the game we were better,” he explained.
“We scored three fantastic goals and it’s an incredible result. I know what it means to go to Munich, and we have to do something new to not suffer so much due to the quality they have, and we will try and do it,” he continued.
Bayern manager Thomas Tuchel was upbeat, declaring: “It doesn’t feel like a 3-0 defeat. It was not a deserved result and doesn’t tell the story.
“I refuse to focus just on the result. I was very proud. We played with personality and courage and showed the right character.
“We needed a bit of luck and momentum in the game. We were not rewarded in the moments when we were on top.
“It is a huge task to turn it round and have to be realistic about that, but we will not give up until we are in the shower.”
City’s one change saw Silva start as Riyad Mahrez was on the bench.
Joao Cancelo, on loan at Bayern from City, was on the bench for the visitors but Leroy Sane started against his former club. Former Liverpool striker Sadio Mane was also among the substitutes.
City’s first chance in the 14th minute came from a back pass played across the six-yard box with Haaland charging down Sommer’s clearance, but the keeper had the narrowest of escapes.
Haaland had another chance but snatched at his shot which flew straight to Swiss international Sommer.
Bayern’s first chance came from Jamal Musiala’s effort which was brilliantly blocked by Ruben Dias.
City immediately went up the other end to break the deadlock in the 27th minute as Rodri scored one of the goals of this year’s competition.
Picking up a square pass from Silva, Rodri cut inside before bending a 25-yard effort into the top corner.
It was the midfielder’s third goal of the season but his first in the Champions League, but what a way to get off the mark.
City almost grabbed a second when Sommer made a great reflex save with his outstretched leg while on the floor to deny Ilkay Gundogan.
Bayern had a great chance in stoppage time when Sane’s drive from 25 yards flashed just wide, swerving away from the target at the last minute.
City had another let off soon after the restart when Sane burst clear on the left and was denied by a smart stop by Ederson diving low to his left.
Sane was on a mission to find the net against his former club as he cut in from the right and unleashed a fierce drive which Ederson did well to beat away to safety.
Bayern were enjoying a purple patch as Matthijs de Ligt and Kingsley Coman had efforts blocked by Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias.
City weathered the storm – literally as at times conditions were monsoonal – and hit back as Ake and Dias were both denied by excellent stops from Sommer, the latter an instinctive reflex stop.
Guardiola’s first change mid-half was enforced as De Bruyne looked to turn his ankle stretching to keep the ball in play. He was replaced by Julian Alvarez.
City took a giant step towards the semi-finals when they doubled their advantage with 20 minutes left after centre back Dayot Upamecano was robbed by Grealish who released Haaland who crossed from the left for Silva to head home from 10 yards for his sixth goal of the season.
And it was soon almost 3-0 when Alvarez’ effort was well kept out by Sommer.
It was only a temporary reprieve as City added a third with 14 minutes left as John Stones headed Silva’s cross into the path of Haaland who volleyed home from five yards.
City might have added a fourth when Alvarez saw a shot flash narrowly wide and Rodri’s header brought an unbelievable save from Sommer.