Ein zwei drei – here we go again – Bayern Munich v Man City

Be the best team in England they said, qualify for the Champions League they said, explore Europe and broaden your horizons they said…they didn’t say it would be back to Bayern Munich for the third time in four seasons.

Nonetheless, it would be wrong to say the thrill of a trip to the magnificent spectacle of the Allianz Arena has worn thin. It’s more a barometer of how far City have progressed that there is more than a hint of deja vu.

Iconic image - James Milner salutes the City fans at the Allianz Arena last December. Courtesy @MCFC

Iconic image – James Milner salutes the City fans at the Allianz Arena last December. Courtesy @MCFC

The first visit and the furore around TevezGate – or more appropriately TevezBench – is etched indelibly into the City fans’ psyche from September 27th 2011, as Roberto Mancini’s men were unlucky to lose 2-0 to their Bavarian hosts.

Stonewall penalty shouts for Micah Richards and David Silva were ignored before Bayern scored and Carlito went on to grab the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Bad blood - Tevez & Mancini.

Bad blood – Tevez & Mancini.

With senses dulled – partly by the Oktoberfest and the occasional stein of the local brew – City supporters were blissfully unaware of the antics of the stroppy Argentine striker, as he refused to warm up before being due to enter the fray.

It seems a long time ago.

Benchmark - Tevez's backside never left the bench in Bayern Munich in 2011.

Benchmark – Tevez’s backside never left the bench in Bayern Munich in 2011.

Yes, it was a disappointing result, but the novelty and the experience of competing at Europe’s top table more than made up for it.

Three calendar years on it’s different, very different.

We’ve been back once already and, beer or no beer, the 3,414 City fans who witnessed that magnificent 3-2 come-from-behind victory last December, will never forget the unbridled joy and exhilaration of silencing 65,000 rather expectant and arrogant Germans.

Defenders of the faith - Joe Hart and Martin Demichelis helped deliver a glorious night for City beating Bayern in Munich. Courtesy @MCFC

Defenders of the faith – Joe Hart and Martin Demichelis helped deliver a glorious night for City beating Bayern in Munich. Courtesy @MCFC

It would have been just that little more joyous if someone in the City entourage had informed our trusted, but momentarily befuddled, MP, that one more goal would have made a world of difference, making City Group D winners and setting up an easier passage in the knockout stages.

City’s relatively poor showing in their first three Champions League campaigns makes it easy to overlook their head-to-head record with Bayern which reads, won 2 lost 2, goals scored 6, goals conceded 7.

Bayern bashers - can City pull off another win in the Allianz Arena? Courtesy @MCFC

Bayern bashers – can City pull off another win in the Allianz Arena? Courtesy @MCFC

Like virtually every visiting team, City go to Munich tonight as underdogs, but they’ll be facing a Bayern side missing a host of household names.

Ribery, Robben, Schweinsteiger, Martinez, Thiago, Badstuber and Rafinho are all out, and ex-City centre back Van Buyten retired after the World Cup.

City will still face a stern test as Pep Guardiola will still be fielding the likes of Neuer, Muller, Lahm, Boateng, Gotze and Lewandowski. You only have to look how Arsenal fared against Borussia Dortmund’s reserves last night to know that there can be no room for complacency.

Belated birthday present - can Manuel Pellegrini's playerS deliver the boss a gift for his 61st birthday, albeit a day late? Courtesy@MCFC

Belated birthday present – can Manuel Pellegrini’s playerS deliver the boss a gift for his 61st birthday, albeit a day late? Courtesy@MCFC

The 3-2 win was Manuel Pellegrini’s one and only success over Guardiola, having previously had an 8-0 losing record at the hands of the ex-Barcelona coach.

He’d so dearly like to make it two and get City’s quest for European football’s ultimate prize off to a flyer.

The Chilean will be without the inspirational and indefatigable Pablo Zabaleta who is suspended after his preposterous sending off at the Nou Camp in March.

Missing from action - Zaba serves a one match ban after seeing red from annoying French ref Stephen Lannoy in the Nou Camp. Courtesy @MCFC

Missing from action – Zaba serves a one match ban after seeing red from annoying French ref Stephen Lannoy in the Nou Camp. Courtesy @MCFC

Pellegrini himself will be serving the second of a two-game touchline ban, following his comments on referee Jonas Eriksson, the Swedish turnip, who facilitated Barcelona’s 2-0 win at the Etihad, in the first leg of the Round of 16.

Also missing will be Fernando – a very big loss – who was bought for £12m, not least to make a difference on these big occasions.

Stevan Jovetic remains a major doubt, but expect a high profile debut for City’s new £32m signing Eliaquim Mangala.

Debut time - Eliaquim Mangala should make his first appearance for City tonight. Courtesy@MCFC

Debut time – Eliaquim Mangala should make his first appearance for City tonight. Courtesy@MCFC

The much vaunted 23-year old defender, should make his debut alongside Vincent Kompany, as Pellegrini opts for the Frenchman’s speed and athleticism over the now dependable, ever popular, but less sprightly Martin Demichelis.

Bacary Sagna will replace Zaba and Aleksander Kolarov could get the nod over Gael Clichy, as Pellegrini optimises his options after the Arsenal game and with Chelsea on the domestic horizon.

AK47 - last time out in Germany Aleksander Kolarov struck from the penalty spot  Courtesy @MCFC

AK47 – last time out in Germany Aleksander Kolarov struck from the penalty spot Courtesy @MCFC

City are renowned for their attacking prowess, but clean sheets are everything in European competition, and a pragmatic Pellegrini wouldn’t be slow to say ‘nein’ to a nil-nil stalemate.

With Bayern’s treatment room crammed to its teutonic rafters, he may feel there’s never been a better time to attack, with an Aguero led Blitzkreig supported by Silva and the lightning fast, holy smokin’ Jesus Navas.

Yaya Toure’s return could be pivotal and a marauding Ivorian would be the last thing a weakened Munich would want to see.

Three out of four - Sagna, Kolarov & Mangala should start with Kompany in City's defence. Courtesy@MCFC

Three out of four – Sagna, Kolarov & Mangala should start with Kompany in City’s defence. Courtesy@MCFC

Irony of ironies, when City won 3-2 on that glorious Tuesday last December, Pellegrini fielded what many observers thought was a weakened side, as they had to play Premier League leading Arsenal four days later.

City take on Mourinho’s present table toppers this Sunday, knowing that a loss would leave them trailing Chelsea by eight points – not a healthy scenario, even at such an early stage of the season.

If it’s a case of priorities, it’s safe to say the Manchester City powers-that-be covet the Champions League and the global exposure and recognition that accompanies it, above all else.

Purple patch - Will City's performance in Munich match their snazzy new Cup kit? Courtesy@MCFC

Purple patch – Will City’s performance in Munich match their snazzy new Cup kit? Courtesy@MCFC

The majority of fans would more than likely disagree and cite ongoing domestic domination as their preferred option.

Pellegrini is on record as once again, saying City want to win every competition they enter.

Fair enough and encouraging to hear – but a narrow loss in Germany could be more easily rectified than a home defeat against Maureen’s men.

Don't let go Vinny - Yes, we want to win the Champions League, but let's have a third Premier League title in four years as well. Courtesy @MCFC

Don’t let go Vinny – Yes, we want to win the Champions League, but let’s have a third Premier League title in four years as well. Courtesy @MCFC

Broadening your horizons is one thing, but not if it means a lack of focus back home.

Let’s hope these Bavarian encounters are as easy as 1,2,3.

#TrustOurMP

 

By David Walker

Dedicated to my dear friend David Kelly, who drove us to Munich and back in September 2011, on a whirlwind 56-hour road trip…and only had a single pint. Cheers Guvnor – great days & happy memories. CTWD

 www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

30 Comments

  1. September 17, 2014  3:28 am by GeorgeInIsrael Reply

    Great read, as always, and a great way to start Match Day 1. I'm impressed by the hour you posted this - pre-match nerves?

    • September 17, 2014  7:57 am by David Walker Reply

      I wish! Long busy work day and, as we hit midnight, I thought should I or shouldn't I BUT Bayern away in 2011 was a special trip, one I didn't think I'd get to make after major surgery. I wanted to record my thoughts and pay a tribute to my mate Dave Kelly who drove relentlessly across Europe to get us there in amazing fashion down the autobahns etc with hardly any sleep. Thanks George.

  2. September 17, 2014  4:02 am by city in the middle east Reply

    Could not agree more, Thank you for putting every thing I was thinking into sentences, Thanks,

    • September 17, 2014  7:57 am by David Walker Reply

      Thank you for your kind feedback.

  3. September 17, 2014  5:04 am by Wigan Blue Reply

    Our greatest successes in Europe (as at home) have been whenever we've thrown caution to the winds and gone for it. Just look at the two home games against Chelsea last season - pussyfooting around in the first we got taken to the cleaners by Chelsea's packed midfield. What the hell two weeks later, we beat them at their own game and won the League Cup on the back of it. We can stuff anybody - home or away, as we have the best attack in the world. Just unleash hell MP - please!!

      • September 17, 2014  8:26 am by Toby Teasdale Reply

        A cunning plan.

        • September 17, 2014  8:30 am by David Walker Reply

          Let's hope for some cunning stunts from the 'Purple Haze'!

  4. September 17, 2014  7:08 am by DOUGLAS HENSHAW Reply

    Great read Dave, let's hope we canget a result Iin Munich & then 3pts of Chelsea would be brilliant. Fingers & everything else crossed. Supporting City is not good for your health but you can't stop it's in the blood. #citdddddddd

    • September 17, 2014  8:03 am by David Walker Reply

      Who'd ever believe it eh, back in the days of Lincoln, Wycombe and York away...?

  5. September 17, 2014  7:29 am by James HouseOlogy Reply

    Great read, and wetting the appetite indeed. Agreed Fernando is a big loss, will he be fit for Chelsea? Also no Zab worries me for this, but EM debut could prove to be what we need! I'd like to think we can get a well fought out draw without sustaining anymore injuries and be the first team to beat Chelsea on Sunday. Weeks don't get bigger than this but this where we need prove our metal.

    • September 17, 2014  8:05 am by David Walker Reply

      Absolutely. Sadly no Fernando on Sunday either.Zaba will be a miss, I'd almost forgotten about his red card in Barcelona. Hope we don't get punished again for the errors of dodgy referees in both Barca ties last season.

  6. September 17, 2014  7:45 am by stuart higham Reply

    I agree with James we need to step up to the plate, we cant afford a stoke performance again all season!

    • September 17, 2014  8:06 am by David Walker Reply

      Too right! Many more of those and we can kiss major glories goodbye and auf wiedersehen...but we won't.

  7. September 17, 2014  8:20 am by Fifthcolumnblue Reply

    Highly relieved to see the divers-in-chief Robben and Riberry missing tonight.

    I always feel that the differences between the top 8-10 teams in Europe are marginal at best, and that City have more than enough talent, tactical nous and ability to beat anyone. The only thing letting us down has been our lack of experience in dealing with the fiddly, over-fussy officials in Europe (Erikson aside, he's just bent!) who seem to buy every bit of play acting from accomplished thespians like Bayern. Without the Luganis twins, Bayern have lost the source of at least half their soft free kicks.

    Really looking forward to this one!

    • September 17, 2014  8:43 am by David Walker Reply

      Very nicely put No 5 - yes, definitely reasons to be optimistic.

  8. September 17, 2014  8:26 am by Toby Teasdale Reply

    I hope MP packs our midfield and chokes the life out of Xabi and then Aguero nicks a goal.

    Spanish card flasher 'Alberto Mallenco' will be in charge. Hopefully we will finish with eleven men, but don't bet your mortgage on it.

    • September 17, 2014  8:29 am by David Walker Reply

      Sounds ominous - you know your referees TT. It would be nice not to have to write about a referee...for a change!

  9. September 17, 2014  9:05 am by Bill Glas Reply

    David, that's what worries me about City's experience in the whole CL competition. It will be a challenge to keep eleven men on the field. The Swedish clown last year really did for me. It's bad enough having Clottnbirk for domestic games, but having CL refs who view the slightest of physical contact as a foul. They are so easily conned by opponents who fall over as though pole-axed, clutching their faces and only getting up once a card has been dished out. It's an unwanted hurdle to overcome, but, hopefully, we can do it.

    • September 17, 2014  10:12 am by David Walker Reply

      What do we do Bill, lower ourselves to the standards of the Thespians of Europe or maintain British decorum, albeit we have very few English players in the team, and refuse to descend into diving and feigning injury? Jovetic and Yaya have been guilty of diving in the past in City blue, but thankfully it's a very rare occurence.

  10. September 17, 2014  9:30 am by Guy burke Reply

    Superb as ever David, the main annoyance for me re tevezgate was the fact that City played bayern off their own park in the first half hour was totally forgotten ? I expect at least a draw tonight and the same on Sunday .

    • September 17, 2014  10:14 am by David Walker Reply

      Very true GB, two nailed on penalties in the first half hour. I think we can get a positive outcome tonight but view Sunday as the proverbial 'must win' and bridge the gap to two points.

  11. September 17, 2014  9:34 am by Guvnor Reply

    Great read as always David, It was a great trip in 2011, great company with old and new friends. It was a shame Tevez didn't turn up for the trip, that might have swayed it our way. Glued tonight, here is hoping. CTID.
    (anyone out there sniping, I will follow you and meet you one day, ask anyone, I keep my promise).
    Guvnor

    • September 17, 2014  10:16 am by David Walker Reply

      We need to do another European game in the foreseeable future together and with others. It was a truly knackering but rewarding experience, especially as that invisible footbrake on the passenger side didn't work. Top man Guvnor.

  12. September 17, 2014  11:26 am by Richard Cooper Reply

    As you say - Here we go again.
    Would love to be in Munich today strolling around the Marienplatz, but the fact we have been there twice in 3 years - we are saving our Euros for Roma with the hope we progress to the last 16
    As a Manu chum of ours wrily texted "Ah, the Eternal City for the Eternal Optimists" - cheeky sod !
    A win would be superb - but a draw at Bayern tonight and three points against Chelsea would be ideal
    To progress, I think if you win your home games and get a point away that will suffice
    Hope all Blues who are in Munich today enjoy the atmosphere and cheer us on to 3 points

    • September 17, 2014  2:12 pm by David Walker Reply

      Same here RC but we all need to be wary in that beautiful city with the not so beautiful knife wielding Italian thugs. They're very brave when it's 8 or 9 onto one! A win tonight would be great, a draw most acceptable, but a win on Sunday is imperative.

  13. September 17, 2014  2:10 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    This is the part where the Champions League starts to get laborious in my view, but still with a little bit of excitement. All the reported absences of Bayern players I'll take with a pinch of salt, and I'd also take a draw right now.
    Their home record in all competitions is still pretty formidable, but they had a disaster the last time at home in the CL. Let's hope we can add to it.

    • September 17, 2014  4:31 pm by David Walker Reply

      Like you Graham, I'd be happy with a draw - never underestimate the Germans!

  14. September 17, 2014  2:54 pm by Guy burke Reply

    Re Richard and his earlier comment , text your rag mate and ask when they are playing in Las Vegas .... Plenty of money thrown at it , yet still brash and vulgar without the slightest hint of originality !! Perfect place for the rags and their obnoxious following ?

  15. September 17, 2014  3:37 pm by richard cooper Reply

    Indeed Guy and at this moment his co conspirator is on hols in Vegas -All show and noise but no substance !!

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