Reviewing Champions League | Man City vs Bayern Munich 1st Leg

Reviewing Champions League | Man City vs Bayern Munich 1st Leg
Can Bayern recover from that 3-0 defeat by Man City in the 1st Leg of Quarter Finals?

In the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, Manchester City faced off against Bayern Munich at home and won 3-0. Both teams are considered to be the biggest favorites to win the Champions League this season, with Manchester City's starting lineup valued at 720 million euros and Bayern Munich's starting lineup valued at 690 million euros.

Throughout the game, Manchester City created numerous opportunities on Sergio Agüero, and this was the first time this season that Bayern Munich had lost a game by more than one goal. This was also the second loss that Bayern Munich had suffered under the leadership of Hansi Flick.

In this game both teams had one notable point in their starting lineup. For Manchester City, Pep Guardiola arranged for João Cancelo to play at right-back and once again adopted a pre-emptive central defender approach. This tactic has become Manchester City's most important tactic recently. Stones is known as a defender, but in fact, he is a defensive midfielder, which allows Manchester City to have more attacking forces.

At the same time, to cope with the gaps in the defense, Manchester City's wing players need to run more. In recent games, such as the 7-0 win over RB Leipzig and the 4-1 win over Liverpool, Guardiola's tactics have been successful. Manchester City has increased the number of players in the midfield and front line, which makes opponents make many mistakes in counterattacks or organizing attacks. Manchester City can instead find opportunities for instant offense and defense reversal from these mistakes and beat opponents through one attack after another.

Guardiola has created a new tactic for Manchester City, which may be the fundamental reason why Manchester City can continue to dominate the English Premier League.

Pep Guardiola once again defeated Hansi Flick

For Bayern Munich, Hansi Flick had already confirmed before the game that they had lost a key player in Robert Lewandowski. Moreover, Bayern Munich did not have a regular striker and faced a very strong possession team in Manchester City. Flick chose to replace Lewandowski with Thomas Müller on the front line.

In terms of the forward line, Bayern Munich deployed four explosive players with speed and breakthrough ability in Leroy Sane, Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry, and Jamal Musiala. Perhaps at the beginning, Bayern Munich was prepared to try more counterattacks in the away game. However, in the end, Manchester City, who was playing at home, only had a possession rate of 44%, which was lower than that of Bayern Munich.

At the same time, the four forwards of Bayern Munich failed to achieve the expected results. Instead, Bayern Munich lost possession in each attempt to counterattack and breakthrough, which ultimately led to Bayern Munich's failure to create attacking data that matched Manchester City's. Bayern Munich's front line was weak, but the gap between the two teams was not reflected in the score.

For Bayern Munich's current lineup, they are undoubtedly more accustomed to playing with a center forward, whether it is Robert Lewandowski or Chupo-Moting. The ability to act as a pivot is still very important for Bayern in a strong dialogue.

After all, Bayern is not Manchester City.

Erling Haaland is not a traditional tall center forward. His style is more like a killer in the penalty area, but he also has top-notch confrontation and impact ability. After Guardiola gradually changed tactics this season, Haaland gradually integrated into the team.

In this game, Bayern Munich's starting center forward was Gnabry, and it was undoubtedly impossible for the 176cm Gnabry to stand firmly in Manchester City's penalty area. Therefore, in the game, we will find that all four Bayern forwards prefer to go to the sidelines, and if it doesn't work, they will dribble the ball inward and then shoot.

As for Manchester City, they completed a total of 17 shots in the game, with 77% of the shots taken in the penalty area. Through continuous short passes and combinations, Manchester City's players were able to break down Bayern Munich's defense, ultimately scoring three goals. In contrast, Bayern Munich's shots had 58% of them taken outside the penalty area. In this game, the single-striker Gnabry did not make a single shot, while Sane, one of the best Bayern Munich players in the game, only took shots from outside the penalty area. Compared to Manchester City's small-area combination shooting, these shots were far less threatening.

Of course, we must mention Bayern Munich's first conceded goal, which was a remarkable shot from outside the penalty area by Rodri. Although long-range shooting is a useful weapon for breaking through a dense defense, it is often a way to end an attack. Manchester City scored from long range, while Bayern Munich's long-range shots did not score. This was the difference in the game.

Despite conceding the first goal, Bayern Munich played decently until the second goal arrived. However, with too many passing mistakes by Upamecano and the serious error leading to Manchester City's second goal, Bayern Munich's defense collapsed, and they were unable to recover. Bayern Munich's chances of advancing to the next round are slim, and they will need a miracle to turn the tie around in the second leg.

But Nagelsmann didn't bring good luck to Bayern.

It remains to be seen whether Bayern Munich's change in coach in the middle of the season will have any impact on the team's performance. With their exit from the DFB-Pokal and now facing a big disadvantage in the Champions League, the timing of the coaching change might come into question. As for the second leg, to have any chance of overturning the deficit, Bayern Munich will need to produce a miracle-like performance, similar to Liverpool's 4-0 win over Barcelona, which is a tall order.