Manchester City overcame a mistake-ridden Bayern Munich side 3-0 to take full control of this Champions League Quarter-Final. Despite the wind and rain howling through the Etihad Stadium, both Manchester City and Bayern Munich offered 90 minutes of remarkable European football. The Citizens would, however, take the lead just before the half an hour mark. With Rodri finding himself in acres of space just outside the Bayern box he was left with no choice but to curl a sumptuous left-footed strike into Bayern’s top right corner.
Yann Sommer was left helpless, while Bayern looked stunned as to how Rodri was allowed so much space. The second half would see Bayern come back strong, however, Dayot Upamecano would experience a nightmarish performance. He would lose the ball just outside the box and the ball would find Bernardo Silva as he headed home to put City 2-0 up. The pressure would then just increase for Bayern as Erling Haaland found himself unmarked at the back post to make it 3-0 and all but round the tie up for Pep Guardiola’s side.
Bayern desperately missed Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting
Usually, the tale reads that all Bayern require is a world-class striker to replace the irreplaceable; Robert Lewandowski. However, for once it appears that Choupo-Moting is the player Bayern are yearning for. With Manchester City forcing Bayern’s back firmly up against the wall with the pressure they were applying for significant portions of this match, an out ball was all the Rekordmeister needed. However, with the Cameroonian international sidelined with a knee injury, Tuchel had no choice but to inject sheer pace into the Bayern front line. At times they looked to threaten the City defence with their trickery and fleet of foot.
However, Choupo-Moting can receive the long balls that are intended to relieve pressure and turn it into a Bayern attack with his hold-up play. This was not an option for Tuchel’s side tonight and they certainly felt his absence. As well as this, he has this uncanny knack for finding himself in the right position at the right time. He has four goals in the Champions League and 10 in the Bundesliga so far this season, and while it does not compare to Lewandowski, it does show how he can positively affect this side. Whether the approach taken by Tuchel would have been different had he been fit, one will never know. Nevertheless, what he offers this Bayern side can not go unnoticed and he was undoubtedly missed tonight.
Yann Sommer was Bayern’s shining light
Despite the result tonight there were some positive Bayern displays that will offer a degree of hope to all those in Bavaria. Jamal Musiala proved why he is one of Europe’s most exciting young players, while Leroy Sané was on a one-man mission to beat Ederson in the Manchester City goal. However, it is only the Bayern Goalkeeper that can walk away with his head held high tonight. When Yann Sommer was signed by Bayern Munich in January, the idea he would truly be able to replace Manuel Neuer in between the sticks for the record champions was heavily debated. He was and still is unsurprisingly going to face ridicule no matter how he performs.
Nevertheless, with the saves Sommer made tonight, he undoubtedly earned the respect of those associated with Die Rekordmeister who were sceptical of his signature. Despite, the Bayern backline being defiant in their mission to enforce mistakes upon the Swiss international, his reactions and shot-stopping ability may be the reason Thomas Tuchel’s side are still in the Champions League. It was a performance reminiscent of Manuel Neuer in his prime. The way he was able to save point-blank shots whilst lying on the floor would have even left a smile on the face of Neuer himself. He has gone some way to prove why he was given the faith of the Bayern board, despite those in front of him offering Sommer no favours.
Did Bayern panic by parting ways with Julian Nagelsmann
The night the world realised Bayern Munich were set to part ways with Julian Nagelsmann, pure bedlam ensued. However, the Bayern board were clear on the decision-making. They believed the performances under the controversial head coach were deteriorating, while relationships behind the scenes were only getting worse. Plans were in place to hire Tuchel as their manager at the end of the season, however, the Rekordmeister were forced into an early call due to many clubs showing interest in the ex-Chelsea head coach. Bayern’s hierarchy were hoping to see a new impetus within the squad after the changes in the dugout. Nevertheless, one could argue, it has only become worse.
Tuchel’s first game in charge oversaw a famous Klassiker win, as Borussia Dortmund were put to the sword at the Allianz Arena. However, since then they have been dumped out of the DFB-Pokal at the hands of Freiburg on home soil. The first time a Freiburg side had ever won at the Allianz Arena and now they face elimination from the Champions League. These were two cup competitions the Bayern board would have been expecting to win. It was even viewed that Nagelsmann was relieved of his duties as there was severe doubt he would be able to match up with Pep Guardiola. However, a 3-0 defeat at the Etihad highlights Bayern’s worst defeat in the Champions League since they lost 3-0 to PSG in September 2017. Thomas Tuchel may not have had the time to apply his own methods on this squad, which would bring into question the decision made to replace Nagelsmann. Especially considering that Bayern had won eight games out of eight in this year’s Champions League.
GGFN | Will Shopland