Bayern bosses City

Posted by Susie Schaaf

Billed as the "match of the day", Bayern Munich gave a footballing lesson away to Manchester City over 70 some-odd-minutes. Franck Ribery opened the scoring for 'die Roten' just seven minutes in, with Thomas Mueller and Arjen Robben adding second half goals for the away side, before Alvaro Negredo pulled one back for the home team. Bayern was on their on their heels before a Jerome Boateng red card, but it was ultimately a comfortable win over what was supposed to be an impressive City side.

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As much as this match was pegged to be even, competitive, it turned out not to be the case as even Manchester City's Twitter account had pegged them as underdogs from the start, and then near halftime, stating: "It's been a tough first half so far. The Blues have been second to most things with Bayern showing exactly why they are champions."

But, credit must go to the City fans in the Eithad, as Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger received applause from the home support when coming off for substitutions, while the 2500-person strong Bayern away section took over the stadium for large parts of the match: "Europapokalsieger!" and "You're s---, and you know it!" (in English) could be heard reverberating across the pitch, and on international broadcasts worldwide.

Pep Guardiola would throw a wrench in to the works, starting Mueller instead of Mario Mandzukic up top in his 4-1-4-1 formation. And as I've said before, call it what you want to call it but, it played a 4-3-3 with Toni Kroos and Schweinsteiger playing back alongside Philipp Lahm, with the expected back four of Rafinha, Jerome Boateng, Dante and David Alaba. The "Robbery" duo would round out the attack for the Bavarians.

The flexibility of the attacking trio, and the shoddy form of City keeper Joe Hart opened the scoring for Munich just seven minutes in as Ribery took a rip from distance in what have should've been a save by the goaltender.

A controlling, passing Bayern exerted their influence over Manchester City with a long-distance shot from Mueller, an Alaba cross and an ensuing Kroos kick at goal, before Mueller was guilty of being unselfish -- the striker finding himself in a one-on-one situation with Hart only to cross instead of shoot.

Dante bossed Edin Dzeko with a great tackle as City was trying to find their lost game plan. Manuel Pellegrini's side could only result to long balls forward to muster any sort of attack; the home side acquiescing to Guardiola's master plan: Retain possession, get it back when you lose it, and break the legs and hearts of your opponents. Yaya Toure and Fernandinho -- the much touted holding midfield for City -- only got sniffs at creating chances.

Mueller would be unable to collect an excellent Robben cross 30 minutes in after Hart was beat, before the City keeper would get lucky blocking out Alaba's shot before collecting awkwardly what was almost a City own-goal courtesy of Vincent Kompany. It seemed that City's play became increasingly dangerous as the half closed out with Gael Clichy and Sergio Aguero fouling Rafinha, before Kroos had had enough only to see yellow from the Dutch referee for a foul.

Manchester City started brightly in the second half; various corner and free kicks leveled against the Bavarians, before the away side started – again -- to exert control over City. And just one would think Mueller was having a bad match (never, ever count him out!), he collected a pin-point Dante diagonal, rounded Hart and slotted into an empty net to double the score for the Rekordmeisters.

Two minutes later Robben would make it three for Bayern, turning Matija Nastasic inside-out and shooting near-post past Hart -- the keeper guilty of letting through another shot he should have saved. Robben wasn't finished, however, as he desperately tried to score a brace on the ensuing play -- driving low before shooting over the bar after Kroos was blocked out.

David Silva came on for Aguero, and Samir Nasri went off for James Milner as Ribery shot straight at Hart; Bayern Munich always searching for a fourth goal. But, Milner would get close opening the scoring for the Citizens as Neuer tipped his rocket up over the crossbar.

Robben came off for Xherdan Shaqiri as Manchester City would see the better run of play over the last ten minutes of the match. Negredo eventually pulling one back for the crowd at the Eithad as his turn could not be stopped by Boateng -- rocketing past Neuer.

Mario Goetze finally made his Champions League debut in a Bayern kit, coming on for Ribery, before Dante failed to collect a bounced ball -- forcing Boateng into a red card for a professional foul on last-man Yaya Toure. I can only think that he was assessing the two upcoming matches in Champions League competition as he was fouling Toure: "OK, home to Plzen. And, away to CSKA Moscow? I got this."

The resulting free kick from the Boateng red card crashed off the post by Silva, before Negredo headed wide, as City was desperate to pick up a point from this match. Bayern Munich now is in large, and in charge, of Group D with six points from two matches.

It's has to be said that I hoped that City would bring a better game plan. The talent is there -- although Micah Richards got absolutely bossed by Ribery -- but Pellegrini was (maybe not so) content to let Guardiola play his squad the way the Bayern coach wanted to.

It would seem that Bayern Munich is still the team to beat in this competition. Europapokalsieger.

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