Gomez 38, 45+1
Manchester City 0
Allianz Arena, Munich
Mario Gomez scored twice as Bayern Munich recorded a win against Manchester City that was eventually far more straightforward than the opening stages of the Champions League fixture suggested.
Roberto Mancini named an XI clearly designed to take the game to their hosts, keeping faith with adventurous full-backs Micah Richards and Gael Clichy rather than the more conservative Pablo Zabaleta and Joleon Lescott, with the latter dropping out of the side altogether in place of Kolo Toure. Bayern left Arjen Robben on the substitutes’ bench, instead using Toni Kroos behind lone striker Gomez.
City went on the attack early, Mancini’s forward thinking selection evidenced in the players’ approach. Richards was the most potent City player before half-time, the right-back surging forward on more than one occasion despite – or, in an attempt to neutralise the French winger, because of – the presence of Franck Ribery. Richards’ dominance did not last, however, as by full-time Ribery was the game’s standout player.
Bayern withstood City’s early threat and eventually punished the visitors for not taking the lead when the opportunity arose. Neither goalkeeper was troubled early but from the half-hour mark the chances – and the initiative – were with the home side, and City failed to assert themselves for the rest of the match.
Joe Hart made two diving saves from Ribery and Bastian Schweinsteiger while the latter scooped over from close range, but City were two goals down before half-time. Gomez twice reacted quickest to a loose ball in the penalty area, the first after two Hart saves, the second from a flicked-on free-kick with the City defence motionless each time.
Bayern’s movement and interchanging passing evaded the City pressing after the interval, and the two-goal advantage accrued in the first 45 minutes allowed the German side’s defence to drop deep when necessary, depriving City of space in which to get behind the back line. A highly-mobile unit, Bayern were still able to push forward when the opportunity presented itself, and City were in danger of the two-goal deficit increasing rather than diminishing.
10 minutes into the half, with City no closer to breaching Neuer’s goal, Mancini responded with a substitution, although perhaps not the one that would have been expected. Dzeko was withdrawn, predictable enough, but in his place came defensive midfielder Nigel de Jong. The change did little to stem the Bayern tide as City struggled to retain possession.
By the 73rd minute Mancini had made all three changes available and there was not an attacking player amongst them – James Milner would be the most deserving of the tag, but the midfielder has developed into more of a water carrier than a winger. Whether Mancini’s lack of attacking changes was down to the manager throwing up his hands and accepting the defeat or the more contentious reason that a spat on the bench with Carlos Tevez hinted at, City remained toothless, the impetus of the first-half long since lost, as Bayern cruised to a comfortable victory.
Bayern Munich (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Rafinha, van Buyten, Boateng, Lahm; Gustavo, Schweinsteiger; Muller, Kroos (Tymoschuk 82), Ribery (Robben 90); Gomez (Petersen 90+2)
Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Hart; Richards, Kolo Toure, Kompany, Clichy; Yaya Toure, Barry (Kolarov 73); Silva, Aguero, Nasri (Milner 69); Dzeko (de Jong 55)
Did you know… No English team has kept a clean sheet away to Bayern Munich since Everton in 1985, a 0-0 draw in the European Cup Winners’ Cup. The Toffees went on to win the return leg 3-1 on route to winning the trophy.
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