The first leg and first blood is drawn. A dominant 3-0 win for Manchester City at home to Bayern Munich puts one foot in the semi-final of this year’s Champions League. However, as Pep indicated the tie is not over and there is still 90 minutes plus to play at the Allianz Arena. Pep Guardiola got one over his former side in a game that was a tactical masterclass from both sides. On Wednesday night, both teams go again with a place in the semi-final still on the line.
Sadio Mane is expected to return to the squad for Wednesday after serving a one-match internal suspension for punching teammate, Leroy Sane on the lip after the first leg concluded at the Etihad. Eric Maxim Chuopo-Moting has also resumed training but it remains to be seen if the 17-goal striker will feature from the start. Manuel Neuer and Lucas Hernandez remain out injured and are the only senior players expected to miss this crucial tie.
For Pep Guardiola, he still has a relatively healthy travelling contingent with only Phil Foden out after his appendix surgery. Guardiola did say that the Englishman could be back by the end of the month.
Bayern’s season has been a topsy-turvy one with a lot of underperformance across the club. Some of the decisions made on and off-field have been extremely questionable. The Bavarians however remain an incredibly potent side at home and have not failed to score at home since 2020. This means that the tie could see goals and the atmosphere in the Allianz Arena will be key in spurring the players on. Last week, Bayern did what no team in Europe dared to do against City and it showed signs of success. Bayern matched City’s high-line, pressing them up and down the field in a bold manner. A similar approach is expected on Wednesday night even with the tie at 3-0. An early goal for the Bavarians could change the whole complexion of the tie and make the match even more interesting.
Pep Guardiola’s posture has been one of optimism yet caution despite having his team-leading 3-0. He has said that although Bayern seem disjointed, the tie is far from over but City need to score a goal to effectively put the tie to bed. Over the weekend, City put Leicester to bed before half-time, affording Guardiola the opportunity to rest key players like Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri and John Stones. There is barely any room for error because Bayern at home are a tough opponent and can punish mistakes. Ederson will need to be on top of his game for the duration of the game, if City are to come away unscathed. Erling Haaland will hope to win his first-ever game at the Allianz Arena but City will be wary of the fact that they have failed to win on their last two visits to Germany drawing with both Leipzig & Dortmund. A draw on the night would be satisfactory for Guardiola but that won’t be his message to City’s players.
Bayern Munich possible starting lineup vs Manchester City:
Sommer; Pavard, Upamecano, De Ligt, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka; Sane, Musiala, Coman; Choupo-Moting.
Manchester City possible starting lineup vs Bayern Munich:
Ederson; Akanji, Dias, Ake; Stones, Rodri; Silva, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Grealish; Haaland.