Manchester City put up a scintillating performance against Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League, earning a comfortable 3-0 victory. With their recent form, City looks like a formidable force that can go all the way and lift the trophy that has eluded them for so long.
Could this be the year, at long last, for Manchester City and Pep Guardiola? The evidence is mounting, the latest exhibit from a team hitting form at just the right time unfolding in front of shocked German eyes. And those of the rest of Europe.
It is City’s 12th consecutive season in the Champions League and, under Guardiola in particular, they seem to have found new and increasingly painful ways to fall short of the ultimate prize.
City makes a statement against Bayern Munich
But as they subjected Bayern Munich to a hugely uncomfortable experience towards the end of this quarter-final, first leg, it was easy for the club’s fans to dream. This was Bayern, the six-times winners, the perennial Bundesliga champions, reduced to a wreck.
The scenes after the third goal – scored, inevitably, by Erling Haaland; his 45th of a ludicrous debut season in sky blue – summed it up. Thomas Tuchel, the new Bayern manager, stared into his screen, trying to make sense of it all while his players sloped back for the restart; dejected, looking like they knew it was over. Bayern will fight until the last breath of next Wednesday’s return. City appears unassailable.
John Stones had headed square for Haaland, stretching every sinew to make the assist after City had recycled a corner. It was the gloss on an excellent Stones performance from central defence stepping into midfield – and, at that point, the Etihad was still rocking after City’s second goal.
It was a personal disaster for the unconvincing Dayot Upamecano, who tried to venture out of defence only to be caught in two minds and robbed by Jack Grealish. Where were his escape routes? City had shut them down. Grealish got Haaland away with a backheel, and that was when the striker showed he can create a bit as well, his lovely floated cross picking out Bernardo Silva’s run from a deep position.
Guardiola’s side eyes the treble
City’s recent form suggests that they are not only eyeing the Champions League trophy but are also contenders for the Premier League and the FA Cup. With nine consecutive wins in all competitions, City seems unstoppable. They have a chance to take control of their destiny in the Premier League title race, and a victory in the FA Cup semifinals against Sheffield United will put them one step closer to a domestic cup. With such form, City’s chances of winning the treble are looking good.