This was the nights that City fans have been dreaming of and the nights that if I'm honest, 10 years ago, i never thought I'd see. September 27th 2011 and City go to German Giants Bayern Munich. A team that have been involved in 8 finals and won it 4 times. No doubt about it, this was going to be a test. I was having a week off work and decided that i wasn't going to sit and watch the build up all day as it would only make me nervous for the match, so i chose to watch a couple of films and avoid sky sports in any form all day, until 7 o'clock. I turned on Sky sports 2 to see a brilliant little Montage of Noel Gallagher talking about us and our history and what the club has grown into since the relegation 13 years ago. It almost moved me to tears and now the nerves began. The team news was Kolo Toure coming in for Lescott and the rest of the team pretty much picked its self. The fact that Mancini had dropped Lescott, who had looked better and better the more games he played and changed the central defencive pairing for such a big game was also worrying. When the Champions League Music kicked in and the whistle sounded the start of the match my heart was pounding.
City actually started very well, passing the ball around well and keeping possession. We should have had a nailed on penalty early on to when David Silva was taken out in the penalty but we got nothing. Bayern began to settle into the game now though and the game became very open. We looked comfortable though and this worried me. I even said to my son, "we've looked ok here, probably the better team, that means they will probably score first". I hate it when I'm right. On 35 minutes Bayern took the lead. We'd just had one warning when Bayern should have scored but it was scooped over the bar, and we didn't learn from it because straight after the breakthrough came. Hart made a fantastic double save but couldn't stop the 3rd as Gomez scores as our defence falls asleep. We had to regroup and keep it to 1-0 or even equalize before the break. It looked like we could do to, Until the 45th minute, and with the last kick of the half Gomez made it 2-0, Hart again making a good save but as the defence watched on he couldn't stop the follow up. So the half time whistle goes and we are 2-0 down with a mountain to climb. I dreamt that we'd lose 3-0. Maybe dreams come true. Or did it qualify as a nightmare ?
Second half starts and we didn't look confident, giving away unnecessary free kicks in the first 10 minutes, Ribery coming more and more into the game. On 55 minutes needing 2 goals Mancini decides to bring off Dzeko and replace him with De jong, Meaning that Yaya would play further up the field, Platt saying at half time we hadn't defending far enough up the pitch. Dzeko was not happy about coming off at all. The change didn't seem to help as straight away we were on the back foot and Bayern should have scored again. 60 minutes gone and we just couldn't get hold of the ball and when we did we couldn't keep it. It looked bad now. Surely needing 2 goals, seeing the manager take Dzeko off who can get you goals must surely have a negative affect on the team. German crowd were lapping it up and enjoying their Octoberfest now. 69th minute and Milner replaced Nasri. Bayern were just passing the ball around for fun now because time was on their side and frankly, we didn't look like we even wanted the ball. 72nd Minute and our final su comes on, Kolarov for Barry, so needing 2 goals, Dzeko was off and Tevez was still on the bench. I don't like to knock our manager after all he's done for the club, but sometimes his substitutions leave me baffled. Joe hart pulled of a fantastic save from a free kick to keep us in touch with 10 minutes to go, Joe hart being the player who could hold his head up highest tonight.
The final whistle sounded and we'd suffered our first defeat of the season and failed our first Champions league test. Bayern had looked like a quality team but hadn't looked like they had needed to play at their very best to beat us. Ultimately this was disappointing and maybe just highlighted the difference between us and the experienced teams in this competition. It looks like Bayern will be strong favourites to win our group, but its not over, we have 4 more games to play, 2 of them against Villareal, who had lost their opening 2 fixtures and looked like the weakest team in our group. So as long as Bayern take points against Napoli and we can win our back to back games against Villareal, there is still a long way to go in this group. Still not looking for any bridges to jump off, still not going to slate anyone or rant and rave, but the choice of subs tonight was puzzling and it also looked like it puzzled the subs bench also. Guess this one has to be chalked up as experience. We live and we learn. Not such a happy blue tonight, but we've come a long way and we still have a long way to go. Thanks for reading. CTID !