Manchester City make easy work of Bayern Munich in first-leg win
Manchester City took a commanding lead in their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal tie against Bayern Munich, as they thrashed the 10-time defending Bundesliga champions 3-0 at Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.
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Heavy rain and strong winds threatened to depress the quarterfinal rounds crown jewel of a tie, but the technical quality of each side was such that it was hardly noticeable to anyone not watching from inside the ground.
Manchester City’s first goal came in the 27th minute, when Bernardo Silva found Rodri with a cutting pass to top of the Bayern’s penalty area, and Rodri played his way around one defender before uncorking a left-footed curler just inside the far post from 24 yards out.
Typically the goal-scorer, Erling Haaland turned the provider for goal. no 2, as he surged into space down the left flank and floated an unseen cross to a late-arriving Bernardo Silva at the back post. Silva lined up his header and powered it past Yann Sommer for a 2-0 advantage.
Six minutes later, Haaland returned to center stage as he tucked away the third goal and sent the Etihad into rapturous celebrations once again, for the 45th time this season (all competitions). John Stones headed a hopeful cross down and back across the face of goal for Haaland to run onto and hook home as if they were working on the training field this Tuesday evening.
Man City chasing treble, three-peat
If Manchester City are to
finally finally win the UEFA Champions League this season, they will have done so by knocking off Bayern Munich and (likely) Real Madrid — pretty clearly the other two best teams in the world this season, ranked in any order you like — before even contesting the final. Impressive.
With the FA Cup and Premier League title also still to play for, Pep Guardiola’s side is 90 minutes closer to match Manchester United’s famous treble-winning season of 1998-99. They would also be the first club to win three straight PL titles since — you guessed it — Man United, from 2006 to 2009.
With nine games left to play in the Premier League, Manchester City trail Arsenal by six points but have not only a game in hand, but a head-to-head matchup still to come as well.
Stars of the show
Manchester City vs Bayern Munich reaction
Pep Guardiola, on the performance and result…
“It really was a good Champions League game, and top teams. During 55, 60 minutes it was a tight game.”
“It’s an incredible result, but I know what it means to go to Munich and we have to do something new to not suffer so much the quality they have and we will try and do it.”
Rodri, on the result and his goal…
“It is a great result for us, but also the way the team played. The key for me today was the defensive side, it was great, and we understood how to punish them.
“It was very special for me to score my first goal in the Champions League. At that moment we were struggling because they are a great, great team. Sometimes we understand we cannot have 80 percent possession. They play, too. We scored three and could score four, but it is a great result.
Rodri, on the tie not being done…
Manchester City will be back at the Etihad on Saturday (12:30 pm ET) to host 19th-place Leicester in Premier League action, before heading to Germany for the second leg vs Bayern Munich next Wednesday (3 pm ET). Before Man City visit the Allianz Arena, Bayern will host Hoffenheim on Saturday (9:30 am ET).
Manchester City vs Bayern Munich, first leg final score: 3-0
27th minute - Rodri bags the opening goal with a sensational curler
70th minute - Erling Haaland floats a cross to Bernardo Silva for goal no. 2
76th minute - Erling Haaland makes it 3-0 with back-post finish, assisted by John Stones
How to watch Manchester City vs Bayern Munich live, stream link, updates and start time
Key storylines & in-form players to watch
City’s entire team is in superb form with Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake dominating in defense, Kevin de Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan running things from midfield and Jack Grealish has been in stunning form too. With Erling Haaland scoring twice at Southampton (City ran riot in a 4-1 win) on his return from a groin injury, Pep Guardiola’s side look hungry to surge towards the end of the season as they hunt down Arsenal for the Premier League title, are heavy favorites to reach the FA Cup final and are the favorites to win the Champions League too. Also, Phil Foden is City’s only injury absentee right now which has allowed Guardiola to rotate his squad masterfully.
Bayern have gone back to basics under Thomas Tuchel as they currently sit two points clear of second-place Borussia Dortmund with seven games to go. They haven’t been at their fluid best for most of this campaign but now Mane is back for the run-in they should have an extra dimension to their play in attack. Tuchel led Chelsea to victory against Man City in the 2019-20 Champions League final and whoever advances in this quarterfinal will face the winner of Real Madrid vs Chelsea in the semifinals. It’s safe to say whoever advances from City vs Bayern will be favorites to become European champs.
Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Phil Foden (appendix)
Bayern Munich team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Manuel Neuer (broken leg), Lucas Hernandez (knee), Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (knee), Mathys Tel (adductor)