Manchester City came back from 2-0 down to pull off a remarkable 3-2 victory at Bayern Munich, but it was not quite enough for the Blues to leapfrog their hosts into top spot in Champions League Group D.
Scorers: Bayern Munich: Müller (5), Götze (12); Manchester City: Silva (28), Kolarov (59 pen), Milner (62)
Both sides had already qualified for the knockout stage before this match, which was their concluding Group D fixture and, for second-placed City to overhaul defending champions Bayern and secure first position, it required them to win here with a better scoreline than 3-1 – that by which the German outfit beat them at the Etihad Stadium.
But, afterwards, City manager Manuel Pellegrini appeared to suggest he had not realised City needed only a further goal to go through as group winners, which would – theoretically at least – have ensured them an easier last-16 draw.
When asked if he had not been tempted to bring striker Sergio Aguero off the bench with the score at 3-2, Pellegrini said: ‘’I was tempted if we scored the fourth goal. It was important to be first in the group but not the most important. It was
difficult to score two goals.”
A win by any margin appeared an unlikely prospect before and a virtual impossibility soon after kick-off as Bayern ripped through a helpless-looking City defence and raced into a 2-0 lead, with Thomas Muller striking in the fifth minute and Mario Gotze in the 12th.
Three minutes later the visitors had to substitute Micah Richards for Pablo Zabaleta, but their fortunes improved considerably from there as the game went on. Having steadied the ship, City hit back through David Silva’s close-range finish in the 28th minute and they then scored two second-half goals in quick succession to complete an incredible turnaround, with Aleksandar Kolarov converting a 59th-minute penalty before James Milner’s cool finish three minutes later. While it was ultimately not sufficient for the Blues to take top spot, they have certainly made a statement about their credentials ahead of the next phase.
It looked in the early stages as if the Blues were set for an even more chastening experience as Bayern’s potency was soon evident. Muller chested down a lofted delivery by Dante, got the better of City’s skipper-for-the-night Kolarov and fired past Joe Hart. City then made a hash of trying to deal with a corner and the ball ricocheted via Mario Mandzukic’s shot to the feet of Gotze, who converted from six yards out. With City having settled down, Silva hooked in to make it 2-1 before Kolarov equalised after Dante brought down Milner in the area. City were then in front as Milner swept in a Navas cross which Jerome Boateng attempted to hack away but completely missed.
Bayern Munich: Neuer, Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Alaba, Thiago, Muller, Gotze (Javi Martinez 55), Kroos, Ribery, Mandzukic (Shaqiri 68). Subs not used: Starke, Van Buyten, Rafinha, Pizarro, Contento.
Manchester City: Hart, Richards (Zabaleta 15), Demichelis, Lescott, Kolarov, Javi Garcia, Fernandinho, Jesus Navas, Silva (Negredo 73), Milner, Dzeko (Rodwell 88). Subs not used: Pantilimon, Kompany, Aguero, Boyata.