Having cemented a comfortable lead in the first leg of this tie last week, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side travelled to Munich – where they’d face Thomas Tuchel’s team at the Allianz Arena. City showed that they were a class above Bayern last time out, but we’ve seen some unbelievable comebacks in the Champions League before; would this be another?
FCB: Sommer; Cancelo, De Ligt, Upamecano, Pavard; Goretzka, Kimmich; Sané, Musiala, Coman; Choupo-Moting
MCI: Ederson; Aké, Akanji, Dias; Rodri, Stones; Grealish, Gundogan, De Bruyne, B. Silva; Haaland
City were the only unbeaten team left in the tournament ahead of kick-off, and that’s a record that Pep Guardiola will have sought to hold on to – so when it was Bayern that had the first chance through Kingsley Coman on the right flank, the Spaniard’s heart was likely in his mouth until John Stones arrived to head the ball away from danger.
Bayern had certainly started as the stronger of the two sides, and it was Coman once again that looked to split the City defence with a cross into the area – though the delivery had just a little too much on it, and sailed past Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting who couldn’t quite stretch to divert it home.
It took fifteen minutes or so for City to grow into the game, as Kevin De Bruyne surged into the penalty area before playing a pass towards Ilkay Gundogan. Yann Sommer was alert and rushed out to smother the ball before the German midfielder could fire it into the back netting.
City’s first foray forward seemed to be a one-off, and it was Bayern with the next chance as Leroy Sané was released on the left flank. He knocked the ball past John Stones, but his curling strike was sent wide of the post – failing to really threaten Ederson between the sticks.
Upamecano was widely criticised for his defensive ‘disasterclass’ in the first leg, and he looked sure to receive more of the same as he was shown a straight red card with less than twenty minutes played! Kevin De Bruyne looked to play in Erling Haaland, but the Frenchman’s tackle was poorly timed and Clement Turpin was quick to send the defender off. However, Bayern were saved by the linesman – as Haaland was offside, so the red card was rescinded and Tuchel’s side would continue with eleven men.
A few minutes later, Bayern were awarded a free-kick from long-range, and Leroy Sané stepped up to strike against his former club. The German’s effort was close to nestling in the bottom corner, but Ederson was able to push it wide and maintain City’s clean sheet.
Bayern continued to create chances, but lacked that final finishing touch – as Leon Goretzka and Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting both sent efforts well over the crossbar. This performance at the Allianz had been much improved on last week’s showing at the Etihad, though Thomas Tuchel’s side still had nothing to show for their performance.
City were awarded a penalty in the 35th minute, and it was none other than Dayot Upamecano at fault – the Frenchman has had an absolute nightmare across both legs. Ilkay Gundogan’s effort appeared to collide with the defender’s arm, and the spot-kick was awarded with Haaland stepping up to strike. In yet another moment of relief for Upamecano, the Norwegian striker placed his penalty over the crossbar – it was somehow still 0-0 under the lights in Munich!
Neither side created any further standout chances before the break, and the sides headed down the tunnel with nothing to separate them on the night – though Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City held that all important three-goal advantage from the first leg.
Matthijs De Ligt looked to spark an attack as he played a long ball over the top to Kingsley Coman, but Manuel Akanji did well to recover and calmly cushion the ball back to Ederson. Bayern had certainly come out with the same intensity that they had in the first half, with the next chance coming courtesy of Benjamin Pavard – his cross for the right was cleared well by the City defence.
Yet against the run of play, it was Manchester City that took the lead with 57 minutes on the clock. John Stones – operating in his new hybrid CDM role – did well to clear Kingsley Coman’s cross and initiate a swift counterattack, eventually playing in Kevin De Bruyne. In turn, the Belgian fed Erling Haaland who made amends for his earlier penalty miss by slotting the ball past Sommer into the roof of the net. The Norwegian’s task was made a little easier by yet another mistake from Upamecano, who is likely to be viewed harshly in Munich after his performances across this two-legged tie.
Mathys Tel was introduced with twenty minutes left to play, and the 17-year-old Frenchman looked sure to make an impact – though Ruben Dias was able to bring a stop to his attack. That didn’t deter the youngster, who found the back of the net just four minutes after replacing Choupo-Moting – but Kingsley Coman was offside in the buildup and the goal was chalked off.
The ball almost made its way past Ederson once more under bizarre circumstances that would have seen Guardiola’s side concede an own goal, but Ruben Dias was able to recover and clear the ball off the line in time.
Bayern were awarded a penalty with less than ten minutes left to play, as Sadie Mané’s cross struck the arm of Akanji inside the box. Joshua Kimmich stepped up to strike, placing his effort down the middle of the goal to give the hosts a well-deserved consolation goal.
Four minutes later though, Thomas Tuchel received a second yellow card for his touchline frustrations – and was forced to retreat to the stands for the final few minutes of this encounter. His side looked to bag another goal in injury time as Alphonso Davies’ cross looked to find Sadie Mané; the Senegalese winger placed his effort wide under pressure from Akanji.
Ultimately, it’s Manchester City that progress to the semifinals of the Champions League – where a mouthwatering tie against Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid awaits. Domestically, Pep Guardiola’s side are still in a fierce title battle with Arsenal – while los Blancos are eleven points behind table-topping Barcelona in LaLiga.
For Bayern Munich, the decision to sack Julian Nagelsmann will be under further scrutiny after this performance. Their attention now turns back to the Bundesliga, where they will face Mainz 05 on Saturday afternoon as they look to maintain their lead over Borussia Dortmund.