Manchester City 3 Bayern Munich 0 – Was that the moment City grew up in Europe?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 11: Bernardo Silva of Manchester City celebrates scoring a goal to make the score 2-0 during the UEFA Champions League Quarterfinal first leg match between Manchester City and FC Bayern Munich at Etihad Stadium on April 11, 2023 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 11: Bernardo Silva of Manchester City celebrates scoring a goal to make the score 2-0 during the UEFA Champions League Quarterfinal first leg match between Manchester City and FC Bayern Munich at Etihad Stadium on April 11, 2023 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images) /

Well the dust has well and truly settled on a famous Manchester City win at the Etihad, a 3 nil win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League Quarter Final first leg.

The day after the night before and it does feel like a massive moment in the club’s development in this competition.

Coming into the game it did feel that Manchester City were in peak form, with 8 consecutive wins leading into this clash with Bayern Munich, who themselves were coming into the game on the back of sacking their manager in Nagelsmann and replacing him with Thomas Tuchel, and they weren’t in the best form of late.

But they are still Bayern Munich and their pedigree in this competition is without question. The lead into the game for me was is this the moment Pep Guardiola’s men finally take hold of one of the so called European “Royalty” and show the rest of Europe Manchester City have grown up in this competition.

The answer after a pulsating 90 minutes was yes, and it has spawned all sorts of possibilities for the rest of the season.

The game itself was a tight contest, and a gripping game for the first hour. The two teams showed how good they are in patches, and the pressing by both teams at times was a sight to behold.

City took the lead through a magical left footed rocket from Rodri. The goal itself was one of the finest seen at the Etihad in this competition considering the context of it, and the magnitude of the game at hand.

The game continued in the manner of both sides having moments after the goal into half time, and at the half, City went in 1 nil to the good, with another gripping 45 minutes awaiting.

After half time Bayern came out on the front foot, with former City player Leroy Sane having two chances well saved by the in form Ederson (surely his performance silenced some of the nonsensical criticism City’s number 1 gets).

The game continued in this manner after Bayern’s start to the second half, with both sides throwing jabs at each other. It did feel like the game would break one way or the other, it was just a matter of which side it would break for. The answer came after the 65th minute when Manchester City took a strangle hold of the tie.

City added a second in the 70th minute through a outstanding Bernardo Silva header. Jack Grealish pressed Dayot Upamecano into a mistake, and then fed Erling Haaland with a sumptuous back heel, Haaland then through played a cross Kevin De Bruyne would’ve been proud of for Bernardo to head home to make it 2 nil.

It felt like a big moment when the goal went in, and City added a third in the 76th minute to seize control of the tie through Erling Haaland (of course it would be him).

Haaland tapping in at the far post off a great John Stones header back across goal from a Julian Alvarez cross. The third goal felt like a huge moment in this European campaign, and for Manchester City in this competition as a team.

City had more chances up until full time to further punish Bayern but the Bayern keeper Sommer made a fantastic save from a Rodri header, and Alvarez put a bullet shot inches wide.

At full time from my point of view this game felt like a huge moment in Manchester City’s development in this competition.

In years past City have gone toe to toe with other European heavyweights, last year’s Semi Final first leg against Real Madrid comes to mind when City dominated the game and only left with a 4-3 win instead of a dominant position leading into the second leg, where that famous Bernabeu comeback from Madrid occurred.

We’ve also felt pain in this competition against lower quality opposition especially against Spurs with a famous 4-3 home win not enough to go through after losing the first leg 1 nil to go out on away goals.

Again to Monaco with a famous 5-3 home win leading to another crash out of the competition on away goals. They were chances to go through but lapses and mistakes and not putting the opposition away lead to City’s demise in this competition.

This time it feels different. Manchester City went toe to toe with Bayern, of course Bayern had their moments, they’re to good not to.

This time City held firm with the entire back 4 and Ederson standing up when required; Ruben Dias especially was imperious at the back providing vital blocks and tackles.

Akanji & Nathan Ake were fantastic as full backs and were both outstanding. John Stones continued his fantastic, arguably career best form in his hybrid central midfield/centre back role and looks to have added a steely dynamic Manchester City have sorely lacked in crucial moments in this competition.

In midfield Rodri was again superb, dictating the game at times and again always being in the right spot when City needed him most.

Gundogan continued his great form, he is a fantastic leader through his performance. De Bruyne showed flashes of his brilliance until being substituted for Julian Alvarez who caused Bayern all sorts of problems when he came on the pitch.

Up front Jack Grealish was again outstanding, continuing his fantastic form post the World Cup. Jack has now taken his spot as one of City’s most important players, and he deserves all the praise that’s come his way of late.

Bernardo Silva was fantastic, his workrate is second to none, his dribbling is on another level and he fully deserved his goal. Erling Haaland was his usual self again.

Even when it seems he is just on the periphery of the game with not many chances being created for him, he is always dangerous and you can see the fear he strikes into the opponent.

He is always menacing and his assist for Bernardo’s goal was world class, and you knew he’d add himself to the scoresheet which he did, thus breaking yet another record with his 45 goals so far this season the most by a player from the Premier League breaking the record set by Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Mo Salah.

This feels like the best squad Manchester City have had in this competition, that’s not knocking squads past at City who have been fantastic. But this one feels different, with Pep Guardiola having this squad in peak form, and looking fresh for what lies ahead in this competition.

A massive test away at the Allianz Arena awaits in the second leg against Bayern Munich. This time Manchester City head to Germany with a stranglehold over the tie up 3 nil, instead of being the better team and heading away with the tie on a knives edge.

The game will be a massive test, and another great game awaits. It comes after a crunch Premier League game at home to Leicester but this Champions League campaign feels different to years past, so I eagerly await next week’s clash to see if I’m proven correct.

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