Manchester City were played off their own park for 80 minutes by Bayern Munich as a third successive Champions League campaign hit the rocks.
Franck Ribery, Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben all scored for Bayern on a torrid night for Joe Hart. Alvaro Negredo came off the bench to pull one back late on for the hosts whilst Munich saw Jerome Boateng sent off for a professional foul.
City coach Manuel Pellegrini reacted to the weekend Premier League defeat at Aston Villa by making four changes. Fullbacks Aleksandar Kolarov and Pablo Zabaleta joined James Milner in dropping out.
Micah Richards made a rare start after struggling with injury for much of 2013. Gael Clichy and Jesus Navas also came in. Sergio Aguero returned, replacing Alvaro Negredo in attack.
Bayern boss Pep Guardiola continued to use skipper Philipp Lahm as a midfield anchor in the absence of injured pair Javi Martinez and Thiago Alcantara. Muller nominally played up front as natural option Mario Mandzukic warmed the bench.
Visitors Munich took an early lead thanks to defensive and goalkeeping errors which belied a composed start from City. Richards stood off Ribery and the French winger came inside before unleashing a speculative strike that went through Hart on the near post.
England number one Hart continued to be shaky when he elected to punch a David Alaba centre. The loose ball dropped Toni Kroos and Ribery almost diverted his effort in. Robben’s cross-shot then just evaded Muller. Hart later kept out another attempt from Austrian wingback Alaba.
Guardiola’s Germans were firmly on top, but had nothing more to show for their tactical superiority and domination of possession at the break than one goal. That would change. City only had a solitary glimpse themselves when Aguero curled wide from a quickly-taken Yaya Toure free kick.
If Manuel Neuer got through the first half unscathed the same could not be said of Bayen fullback Rafinha, who received what looked like a stamp down the shin from Aguero. Midfielder Kroos was later booked as tetchy fouls crept into the closing stages before the break.
Danger signs for City remained and worsened in the second half. They failed to clear a corner and Robben unleashed a deflected strike that crept just wide. Munich then doubled their lead when Clichy played Muller onside as Dante launched a long crossfield ball that got taken down and Hart was rounded.
European champions Bayern made it two goals in three minutes on the hour to seal all three points. Kroos robbed Fernandinho of possession and slipped in Robben on the counter. The Dutch winger, once of Chelsea, came inside and Hart could only tip his shot onto the post and in.
City’s defence were all over the place, though Hart to his credit kept the score down with low, parrying stops from Robben and Kroos. The extra body in midfield for Bayern with Lahm creating and destroying at the base in equal measure proved fruitful.
Muller saw a combination of Hart and the woodwork prevent a fourth Munich goal. Sub James Milner then worked Neuer, forcing the German goalie to tip over when he drifted in from the left. City went on to score a classy consolation ten minutes from time.
Negredo swivelled with his back to goal, Boateng of the Bayern backline stood off him, and on the turn arced one in off the post. Neuer had no chance, but it was too little too late from Pellegrini’s team.
There was still time for former City player Boateng to see red when he, the last man, brought down Yaya Toure outside the area. Sub David Silva curled the resultant free kick against the bar, so Munich survived.
Successive defeats may sap confidence at the Etihad. City’s European credentials remain in doubt and those seeking a response against Roberto Martinez’s Everton should know that will be no easy feat.
- Man City: 1 Joe Hart, 2 Micah Richards, 4 Vincent Kompany (c), 33 Matija Nastasic, 22 Gael Clichy, 25 Fernandinho, 42 Yaya Toure, 15 Jesus Navas, 16 Sergio Aguero (21 David Silva 70’), 8 Samir Nasri (7 James Milner 70’), 10 Edin Dzeko (9 Alvaro Negredo 57’) 4-2-3-1
- Goals: Alvaro Negredo 80’
- Bayern: 1 Manuel Neuer, 13 Rafinha, 17 Jerome Boateng, 4 Dante, 27 David Alaba, 21 Philipp Lahm (c), 10 Arjen Robben (11 Xherdan Shaqiri 78’), 31 Bastian Schweinsteiger (15 Jan Kirchoff 76’), 39 Toni Kroos, 7 Franck Ribery (19 Mario Gotze 85’), 25 Thomas Muller 4-1-4-1
- Goals: Franck Ribery 7’, Thomas Muller 56’, Arjen Robben 59’