From muppets to marauders – Manuel Pellegrini’s much maligned marvels produced a memorable night of Champions League magnificence… and yet it was marred by a mystifying miscalculation that Manchester City may live to regret!

As the whole of Europe took stock of City’s shock 3-2 win over the seemingly indestructible Bavarians, the Sky Blue’s manager was engulfed in controversy over what looks like a mathematical muddle in Munich.

Miscalculation - Did Manuel get his sums wrong in Munich? Courtesy @MCFC

Miscalculation – Did Manuel get his sums wrong in Munich? Courtesy @MCFC

On the face of it Pellegrini – ‘The Engineer’ – appears to have come up short in his sums, not realising that one more goal and a 4-2 victory, would have seen his brave blues overtake Bayern and beat the previously all-conquering Germans to top spot in Group D.

Not proven, but sounding suspiciously possible, the potential error would explain why City’s red hot striker Sergio Aguero stayed on the sub’s bench as defensive midfielder Jack Rodwell was introduced to replace Edin Dzeko in the final few minutes of this mesmerising match up.

Never on the same scale as Alan Ball’s catastrophic cock-up way back in 1996, when the flame-haired Manchester City manager told his team to play out for a 2-2 draw when actually needing to beat Liverpool to avoid relegation, it could, nonetheless be used as ammunition that, 17 years on, here was yet another example of ‘Typical City’.

Night to remember - Nelson Mandela never forgotten, just like City's win in Munich Courtesy @MCFC

Night to remember – Nelson Mandela never forgotten, just like City’s win in Munich Courtesy @MCFC

Irrespective of whether or not those in power at City did, or did not, have the gumption to realise that under UEFA’s complicated rules a 4-2 margin of victory would suffice, not three clear goals, this was a night to savour…like chomping on a big German sausage and downing a warming mug of glűhwein!

A Manchester City team shorn of vital vertebrae Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero as well as star performers, Samir Nasri and Matija Nastasic beat a full-strength Bayern, bar the injured Arjen Robben.

In the daunting surroundings of the Allianz Arena, complete with meticulously choreographed crowd participation, as befits typical German efficiency, City achieved the unthinkable as their ‘mission’ went from improbable, to impossible to nigh on unbloodybelievable!

At 2-0 down inside 12 minutes (albeit to two suspiciously offside goals), defending with all the structure of an Eton Mess dessert and having seen the infuriatingly ‘fragile’ Micah Richards hobble off with yet another injury, City were teetering on the edge of a spanking promising more slaps than any local lederhosen dance troupe could ever muster!

Sehr Glucklisch - Very Happy - City celebrate Courtesy @MCFC

Sehr Glucklisch – Very Happy – City celebrate Courtesy @MCFC

In a turnaround of titanic proportions, City tore away at the smug serenity of their teutonic hosts, halting the beat of the annoying Munich drums and silencing the well practiced booming chants of the insufferably arrogant home fans.

Bayern’s hypocritical hierarchy, typified by Uli Hoeness – the man who pours scorn on City’s Arabic wealth, whilst allegedly hiding his from the German tax authorities – was apparently conspicuous by his absence when the time came to congratulating the City delegation on their hard fought win.

In stark contrast, Munich coach, Pep Guardiola was magnanimous and respectful as Bayern’s record-breaking run of 10 consecutive CL wins ground to a shuddering halt.

It also marked a personal milestone for Pellegrini who, at the 10th attempt, finally managed a victory over Guardiola, having lost eight of the previous nine match ups during his years at Villarreal, Real Madrid and Malaga, not forgetting City’s 2-1 loss in the pre-season Audi Cup ‘friendly’ at the Allianz this summer.

With seven changes to the side that had drawn at Southampton, Pellegrini made no secret of the fact that Saturday’s Premier League match-up with Arsenal was a priority before Bayern.

Man of the Match in Munich - James Milner was magnificent for Man City Courtesy @MCFC

Man of the Match in Munich – James Milner was magnificent for Man City Courtesy @MCFC

Having been so comprehensively outclassed at the Etihad in early October, when the 3-1 reversal flattered City, few, if anybody, would have backed them against the reigning European champions.

It was all going frighteningly to the envisaged script as first, Thomas Muller, looking fractionally offside scored in the fifth minute and then Mario Goetze, returning from an offside position, dumped the ball past Joe Hart from close range in the 12th minute.

City were in hopeless disarray, all at sixes and sevens – numbers that City fans were fearing Bayern would run up in terms of goals scored in a night of utter humiliation.

Franck Ribery was looking unplayable on the left and Muller toying with City on the right – it had all the portents of a terrifyingly bad night, one that would give Joe Hart no chance of redemption in City’s goal.

Nervous Joleon Lescott was having a nightmare almost scoring an own goal in a back pass mix-up with Hart before Bayern’s opener, while Martin Demichelis looked incapable of passing either wind or the gravy, let alone the ball, to a man in City’s snazzy white and blue-striped CL change strip.

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

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

After 16 minutes the luckless Richards hobbled off with what looked like a hamstring injury to be replaced by the warrior-like Zabaleta. It wasn’t planned but, on reflection, it was a significant change with the gritty Argentine skipper bringing much needed attitude to the flimsy back line.

It coincided with a swaggering Bayern letting their guard down enabling City to grab a foothold and stem the wave after wave of Munich attacks.

The despicable Dante personified his side’s conceited and contemptuous approach throughout the night, constantly pleading his innocence as he committed foul after foul after foul.

Having been booked in the first half he should have been sent off long before the end. As it was he was the only Bayern player booked, whereas City ridiculously had four yellow cards to Zabaleta, Fernandinho, Dzeko and man-of-the-match James Milner.

Milner – coming off the back of a poor performance at Southampton – was at the hub of everything positive in City’s game.

Silva strike - Merlin conjures up City's first goal Courtesy @MCFC

Silva strike – Merlin conjures up City’s first goal Courtesy @MCFC

Likewise, David Silva, returning after limping out of City’s Bonfire Night CL win over CSKA Moscow, was the instigator of much of his side’s creative play. The Spanish magician conjured up City’s first response in the 27th minute, hooking home Milner’s deft header past Neuer in Bayern’s goal.

At the other end, the resolute and steady Hart – totally blameless for Bayern –goals, produced vital saves from both Ribery and Goetze.

Demichelis’ last second block on a Muller on the stroke of half time, kept City in contention at the break.

The jitters that had afflicted the defence and rendered City’s midfield almost invisible in the opening quarter of the match had now disappeared.

Good link up play from Milner and Silva saw Dzeko test Neuer in the 51st minute with a stinging shot. Seven minutes later Dirty Dante sent Milner tumbling in the box for a penalty.

Man down - Milner is sent sprawling for City's penalty Courtesy @MCFC

Man down – Milner is sent sprawling for City’s penalty Courtesy @MCFC

Stand in skipper Aleksander Kolarov stepped up with his AK47-like sniper left foot and whizzed the spot kick past Neuer.

Visibly heartened by their unlikely comeback, City’s triumphant triumvirate on the night of Silva, Navas and Milner combined to enable the see the gutsy Englishman craft a beautiful curving finish beyond Neuer’s grasp just after the hour.

3-2 and amazingly, Milner became the first man from home soil to ever score for City in the Champions League. Substitute Negredo was denied by Neuer’s trailing right boot when he seemed certain to send City into ‘La La Land’ and make it 4-2 in the 82nd minute.

AK47 - Kolarov strikes from the penalty spot  Courtesy @MCFC

AK47 – Kolarov strikes from the penalty spot Courtesy @MCFC

By now the previously imperious Germans were reduced to huff and puffing, fouling and diving, but all to no effect as City’s overall performance merited this most auspicious of wins.

Who’s to say that the introduction of Sergio Aguero would have yielded the goal that could have seen City win Group D and avoid the likes of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona or PSG in the last 16 knockout stage?

If an under strength City can go and beat Bayern in Bavaria, achieve the highest ever CL points haul of 15 – and still not win a group – then I would suggest Europe’s elite will not exactly be relishing playing the men from the Etihad.

Bombed out  - City players applaud the City fans who sang loud and proud in the Allianz Arena  Courtesy @MCFC

Bombed out – City players applaud the City fans who sang loud and proud in the Allianz Arena Courtesy @MCFC

It was a brilliant achievement by Pellegrini and his team, arguably the club’s greatest ever night in Europe, bar the lifting of the European Cup Winners Cup in 1970.The best could yet be to come in 2014.

Let’s hope so because then, the pernicious media who are revelling in Pellegrini’s apparent inability to grasp the CL goals criteria, can then go and ‘get netted’ as City progress to bigger and better things.




By David Walker




  1. December 11, 2013  9:48 am by Graham Ward Reply

    At 2 down after 12 minutes, I honestly didn't see that coming! What a magnificent performance and result, especially after chasing shadows in that first 25 minutes or so.
    If I'm being ultra critical, there were still times when we gave the ball away very cheaply in dangerous areas, but it's best to concentrate on defeating the European champions, in the end comfortably, on their own patch. James Milner, in particular, was immense, and it was good to see 70+ minutes from David Silva.
    You know all this 'fuss' about not going for a fourth? Frankly, I don't care, and Negredo was Neuer's legs away from achieving it!
    Of course, if this had been United playing...

    • December 11, 2013  10:01 am by David Walker Reply

      My thoughts entirely. If it had been Manure it would have 'never say die United' 'glorious comeback' 'The United Way' blah de bloody blah. No, because this was Citeh we get Glenn 'Faith Healer' Hoddle saying 'City got lucky for 3 goals' Jamie 'Testicles in a Vice' Carragher telling the nation that it owed everything to Bayern's under performance and them not really being bothered. Sky also treated us to Tyler & Quinn - who have long since lost their lustre after the Agueerrroooo commentary - and seem to delight in any MCFC adversity. I have no doubt Quinn is decent bloke, but has he a job description from Sky that says be snide and undermine MCFC at every opportunity?

  2. December 11, 2013  10:33 am by Alan Baxter Reply

    For the first 15 mins I was transported back to my childhood watching Doctor Who from behind the sofa, then..... Wow! Spot on with your observations about Zaba and Milner. Also on the ball regarding the media, Bile Quinn and his Ilk will be eating some humble pie come the season end. Cheers David and see you Saturday.

    • December 11, 2013  10:49 am by David Walker Reply

      Cheers AB - let's make it happen - against the Arse on Saturday!

  3. December 11, 2013  11:02 am by Andy Devereux Reply

    Maybe a bit of a cock-up on the goals thing but so what.Even the most ardent of blue would have looked at the team's before the game and thought "I'd be happy with a draw".After 12 mins those same people were probably saying"hope we can keep it under 5"so to do what we did was simply gobsmackingly good.Milner was awesome closely followed by Zaba and Merlin.So we play Barca or one of the other big shots then so be it any nerves the staff, players or fans of City have of facing one of these sides I'll wager whoever we play won't be looking forward to facing Manchester City either. #TrustOurMP

    • December 11, 2013  12:14 pm by David Walker Reply

      I think we would raise our game as befits the occasion. If we played a 'lesser' team the pressure is on us. Being underdogs - with bite - could suit us. If we progress to QF they'll hold no fear for us!

  4. December 11, 2013  11:07 am by ant walton Reply

    some big performances out there last night. Milner was excellent. After the first 20 minutes I thought Lescott and Demichelis both had solid games. Co-insides with Zabba coming on or just a coincedence. I had to keep pinching myself because i thought Dzecko had 1 of his best games in a City shirt last night. Didnt score but his hold up play and link up where as good as ive seen him do since we signed him. We need all our squad to go where we want to go, not just the 11 regulars. Its up to those squad players to force themselves into the 11 and last night i think a few of them did themselves no harm at all. This wasnt the capital one cup, this was Bayerns strongest 11 that they could call upon, and City turned them over. Brilliant. just brilliant

    • December 11, 2013  12:17 pm by David Walker Reply

      With you all the way on your comments. An unexpected joy - which made it all the more enjoyable WUNDERBAR!

  5. December 11, 2013  11:23 am by Mole Rocks Reply

    I had hoped for a sneaky City win, based on the incorrect assumption that Bayern would play a weakened side.

    As it turns out Bayern were nearly at full strength! That makes City's result even better, although our supposed 'B' team isn't all that shabby really.

    As our twitter blues are saying, City don't need to fear any team in the knock out stage, however we will need to be composed and ruthless for 180 minutes, not 80 minutes (over 2 legs ).

    • December 11, 2013  12:29 pm by David Walker Reply

      Encouraging stuff & if we're injury free you'd like to think we'll be a more cohesive unit by the Last 16 stages in February. However this will all pale away if we don't shoot the Gunners down on Saturday. Gone are the days when we can bask in the glory of one-off results - we're BIG TIME now!

  6. December 11, 2013  11:43 am by Philip Entwistle Reply

    Scanning through our line-up before the game was confirmation that Arsenal on Saturday was the priority for our PM. After the second goal went in it was evident the players believed this, then a stroke of goog luck which we badly needed, Richards came off injured and ZABBA the warrior was thrown into the fray.
    The transformation in the team was total, they decided to do what we do best - pass the ball to each other. With more pocession came confidence and a life line off a rare Silva goal culminating in Milners magnificent winner!

    • December 11, 2013  12:45 pm by David Walker Reply

      I feared the worst when I saw Demichelis & Lescott at the centre of defence & sadly Micah just isn't in Zaba's class anymore. It was an amazing turnaround for which we should be given credit - but of course all the pundits & press want to do is focus on how bad Bayern were & how Manuel doesn't understand the rules.

  7. December 11, 2013  12:25 pm by Doug Reply

    Finnaly i get to do what ive been trying to do all morning READBUTNEVERRED. What A night Dave after 12 mins i thought we were in for a good battering with Bayern threating to run riot. For me Zab for Richards started the change in fortunes for us what a comeback amazing. I never thought we would get anything in the Allianz how wrong was i the boys dug in & came back in style & took the game to Bayern in style. Dezko had one of his better nights Garcia was i thought quitely brilliant in fact the whole team were out of this world. I thought we had to win 3-0 to nick top spot hope it dosent come back to haunt us. Hoeness was a disgrace sat in the stands smirking but no were to be sen after. Exellent piece Dave your best to date for me.

    • December 11, 2013  12:48 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Doug. I must confess I wasn't aware that we could win 4-2 without the need for a 3 goal advantage until quite late in the day - but I did know before kick off. It's a shame it's clouded a great achievement but screw pundits & the press.

  8. December 11, 2013  3:19 pm by Eileen Fullen Reply

    Sorry lost my original in transit and haven't the time to do it all again. But a brilliant night after some nervous moments didn't think we could emulate beating QPR for the title but we did last night. Proud of all our Boys in Blue-again excellent read

    • December 11, 2013  4:42 pm by David Walker Reply

      I don't think anything City do in the future will ever emulate or top the Aguerooo moment, but last night was as enjoyable as it was unexpected, and all achieved with the whole of Europe watching.

  9. December 12, 2013  1:08 pm by bluewelder Reply

    very proud of the lads,it looked bad after the first 15 minutes but our spirit was strong,i don't care that we did'nt finish top,we did our club proud,teams will not want to play us in the next round,CTWD.

    • December 12, 2013  2:23 pm by David Walker Reply

      I think the Bayern win has instilled confidence throughout the club & a belief that we could be dark horses for CL.

  10. December 13, 2013  7:39 am by lghualways Reply

    All I wanted was a performance that had all group winners crossing their fingers and saying "please not city" and we got more than that. I do not care about the draw as bring it on after that result.

    • December 13, 2013  9:20 am by David Walker Reply


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