Manchester City delivered a commanding 3-0 victory against Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals at Etihad Stadium. The win, which puts City one step closer to the semi-finals, was masterminded by manager Pep Guardiola’s tactical prowess. Despite his previous struggles in Europe, Guardiola’s brilliant performance reminded everyone of his genius, with a series of big calls that all paid off.
Guardiola’s decision to field a defence entirely made up of natural centre-backs proved crucial, with Nathan Ake, Ruben Dias, John Stones, and Manuel Akanji doing an excellent job in handling the pace of Leroy Sane and Kingsley Coman. This strategy meant that Joao Cancelo was relegated to the bench, despite his impressive performances.
City’s clinical edge was also on display, with Rodri’s stunning first-half strike giving them the lead, and they ruthlessly capitalized on Bayern’s errors in the final 20 minutes. Guardiola’s decision to bring Bernardo Silva back at the expense of Riyad Mahrez paid off, as the Portugal midfielder scored the second goal with a brilliant header. Kevin De Bruyne was later substituted for Julian Alvarez, who nearly scored twice himself and set up Haaland’s goal.
Despite City ending the game with less possession than Bayern, they made the most of their opportunities. The result leaves Bayern with a mountain to climb in the second leg at the Allianz Arena.
Guardiola, who managed Bayern Munich from 2013 until 2016, winning three league titles and two domestic doubles, was emotionally drained after the game. “I have aged 10 more years. It was so demanding a game. It was not comfortable,” he said. However, he remains cautious ahead of the second leg, knowing that anything can happen in football.
City’s owners have been waiting for their moment of Champions League glory, and Guardiola’s men are getting closer to it. With a commanding victory under their belt, only a remarkable Bayern comeback can deny them a third consecutive semi-final. City will now prepare for their upcoming Premier League fixture against Leicester City.