A month of unrest at Bayern Munich looks set to get even worse with the team’s elimination from the UEFA Champions League (UCL) looking highly likely after a crushing 3-0 loss to Manchester City in the first leg of this quarterfinal match. This comes after a 1-1 draw against Hoffenheim at the weekend that saw them miss the chance to extend their Bundesliga lead. Despite such a disadvantage, manager Thomas Tuchel insisted his team “won’t give up” as they strive to advance from a UCL quarterfinal match despite losing the first leg by a score of three or more goals.
Bayern now seeks to avoid losing both legs of a UCL knockout match for just the third time in club history the other two losses came against Real Madrid a feat no German team has ever accomplished. The chances of avoiding that feat don’t seem promising given that Bayern has only scored more than once in one of their past six games and that Tuchel has lost his last three meetings with City manager Pep Guardiola’s team without scoring a single goal.
Manchester City enters their trip to Germany riding a ten-match winning streak across all competitions, having last suffered a loss in early February (W12, D2). Guardiola is now totally focused on winning the club’s first-ever UCL championship, and he is just one victory away from reaching the milestone of 100 victories in this competition, which has only been attained by Sir Alex Ferguson and Carlo Ancelotti before him.
That milestone is within reach for Guardiola with just one loss in 20 games against German opposition in the UCL (W16, D3). It won’t be easy, though, as the Cityzens have only won one of their last six European road trips (D4, L1), which clouds the picture and may plant a seed of skepticism in a group that has thus far failed to deliver the much anticipated first UCL trophy.
Sadio Mané has scored 10 goals against Man City in his career, with only Crystal Palace (13 times) having scored more. If Tuchel is looking for players who can score against Man City, it may be time to remove him from the naughty step. Erling Haaland, the City striker who now has 12 goals in the UCL, is closing in on tying Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of 12 goals in a single Premier League season.
Attacking partners Mane and Sane got into a fight in the dressing room after an argument on the field at the Etihad, and the former is said to have punched his teammate in the lip, causing him to miss the match against Hoffenheim.
The Senegal international will rejoin the team for the second leg, according to Tuchel, which is more than can be said for long-term absentees Lucas Hernandez and Manuel Neuer, who both sustained ACL injuries, and young players Paul Wanner and Gabriel Marusic, who both suffered jaw injuries, who are also ineligible.
On a more encouraging note, striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, who has scored 17 goals this season despite unlikely odds, is back in training after suffering a knee injury. However, it is unclear at this time whether he will be permitted to start the second leg.
Regarding the traveling group, it is amazing that Guardiola was able to welcome Phil Foden back from appendix surgery for the trip to the Allianz Arena, where he will sit on the bench.
Guardiola again denied Haaland a hat-trick by taking him out at halftime. He also took Kevin De Bruyne, Stones, and Rodri off early in preparation for the second leg after watching his team destroy Leicester before the halftime whistle rang.
With 11 goals throughout the globe to date, Haaland is tied with Ruud van Nistelrooy for the most Champions League goals by a Premier League player in a single season (12 goals for Manchester United in 2002–03) if he scores one more goal on Wednesday.
Possible starting lineup for Bayern Munich
Choupo-Moting, Sane, Musiala, Coman, Kimmich, Pavard, Upamecano, Davies, and Sommer.
Possible starting lineup for Manchester City
Ederson, Akanji, Dias, Ake, Stones, Rodri, Silva, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Grealish, and Haaland.
Bayern Munich loses against Manchester City 1-2 (Man City triumphs 5-1 overall)
In the group stages, rival territory was not kind to Man City, and Bayern’s penchant for scoring at the Allianz Arena ought to at least give Tuchel’s team a glimmer of optimism, which may be quickly extinguished.
Bayern’s Champions League winning experience didn’t matter at the Etihad, and it should be the same story against Man City’s refreshed and aggressive squad as they cruise into the final four with a convincing victory against the Bavarians.