After falling behind by two goals within the first twelve minutes of the match, Manchester City mounted a remarkable comeback against the reigning Champions League trophy holders, Bayern Munich. The loss came as the end of a ten-match win streak in the Champions League for the German side.
Manchester City were stunned after conceding an early goal when Thomas Muller struck quickly off of a pass from Dante. Before Man City were able to gather themselves, Mario Gotze scored a second goal for Bayern following a corner.
David Silva brought City back a goal in the 28th minute via a Jesus Navas cross. The two sides went into halftime with Bayern leading 2-1. The second half, however, would be a much different story than the first.
In the 59th minute, James Milner was taken down in the box and Aleksander Kolarov converted the ensuing penalty to put City back level. Only four minutes later, Milner was involved in another goal for City. This time he was responsible for a fine finishing strike, putting his side ahead. Bayern attempted to rally, but City were resistant and held their lead until the final whistle.
Even with the loss, Bayern still managed to finish at the top of Group D. Although the victory brought Manchester City even with Munich on points, Bayern’s superior goal differential gave them the advantage. Therefore, it will be Manchester City who will be facing a seeded time in the first round of knockout matches.
Although the loss has done no real harm to Bayern’s Champions League campaign, the match may have validated a concern that is becoming more and more substantially relevant. Each of Bayern’s last three defeats at the Allianz Arena have come to English opposition (Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea). While England has been abuzz with praise of Germany’s national football development system lately, it is the English who have had the upper hand in terms of Champions League action this season.
Possibly, Germany is not actually that far ahead of England. In terms of the quality of their league overall, the Bundesliga lacks heavily in consistency. Although sides the likes of Bayern Munich and Bayern Dortmund have the capacity to take on powerhouse clubs from around the world, the quality of opponents they face within their own league is rather sub-par.
In contrast, the Premier League offers a heavy level of quality opposition, week in and week out. Although the German way has proven to have positive benefits on their national team, the Bundesliga’s centralization of talent within a few squads has weakened the competitiveness of the league. Bayern’s league dominance is misleading, as their transfer policy is to suck up every talented player from the competing teams in the Bundesliga. No only does this limit the progression of the Bundesliga by cutting the legs out from underneath rising clubs. It also creates a situation in which Bayern is crippled due to the lack of worthy opposition.
Unfortunately for Bayern, their dominance in the Bundesliga may be their greatest weakness. By stealing the best players from competing teams within their league, they are ensuring the lack of challenging opposition. This deficiency of worthy opposition, in turn, allows Bayern to become complacent.
Meanwhile, English clubs are battling every week. The Premier League is so competitive that no team has the opportunity to take a match off. It is this type of pressure that has Manchester City in their current form. Perhaps in this instance, it is the Germans who should be taking a notes from the English.