Manchester City pulled off a famous win over European champions Bayern Munich last night, recording a plucky 3-2 victory in an entertaining encounter at the Allianz Arena.
The game was billed as something of a dead rubber given that both sides had already qualified for the knockout rounds of the Champions League, but for City victory has a number of significant and positive factors.
Firstly, the English side have had a distinctly average away record this season given their high standards, with their form away from the Etihad Stadium holding them back domestically.
To record a victory in as hostile an environment as the Allianz Arena, especially given that the side went 2-0 down in the first-half, shows determined resolve and a will to win that will go a long way.
With a home clash with Arsenal this Saturday sure to have an impact on the Premier League title race, Manuel Pellegrini’s men will go into the game full of confidence and eager to make a statement domestically.
The victory also dispels a common rumour that the Etihad stadium outfit are over-reliant on their key players. City’s starting XI was without Vincent Kompany, Yaya Touré, Sergio Agüero, Pablo Zabaleta and Álvaro Negredo – the usual lifeblood of the team.
Plenty of the fringe players that were given their opportunity impressed against a virtually full-strength Bayern side, and this makes Pellegrini’s squad all the more competitive.
For City, a win over Bayern was long overdue, with reason for revenge on the cards. The Bavarian powerhouses outplayed City in the first fixture between the sides in England, beating the hosts 3-1 in a one-sided affair and bringing Pellegrini’s men back down to earth.
Bayern were also largely responsible for City’s elimination from the Champions League in 2011-12, with the German side beating the English team in Germany 2-0. This game was where Carlos Tévez refused to come off the bench at Roberto Mancini’s request, and sent shockwaves through the Manchester club.
Bayern’s record this season in the build-up to the clash had been nothing short of incredible, with Die Roten winning all previous five fixtures in Europe and 13 of their 15 Bundesliga games. The defeat to City was Pep Guardiola’s first as the club’s manager.
For City, the win will certainly have positive repercussions, but the negative effects for Bayern should be relatively minimal and there shouldn’t be too much read into the result.
Guardiola and his side needed to lose at some point, and the Spanish coach will be glad that it was in a match that effectively meant nothing. The Bavarians were beaten by Arsenal last season 2-0 at home in the Champions League, but this result was immaterial after they had dominated the first leg of the tie, and still progressed to the next stage on route to being crowned European champions.
The result will give City belief that they can make waves both domestically and on the continent this term, and their achievement should be greeted with acclaim. However, regardless of the defeat, Bayern are still the team to beat in this season’s tournament and should brush off the loss without too much loss of sleep.