Tomorrow’s Champion’s League clash with Bayern Munich is very much a make or break game for City. Less so for Bayern Munich, however. The German giants are on course to qualify top of the group with ease and can be expected to put up firm opposition at the Etihad. Both teams are depleted through injury/suspension and this game may well come down to who can hold out the longest.
We spoke to Michel Munger of Bayern Central for the low down on our opponents. Bayern Central is a new member of the Football Collective (signup for the newsletter here) just like Typical City so hopefully we will be seeing more from Michel in the future.
Hello Michel, thanks a lot for coming on. City and Bayern have a lot of recent history in the Champion’s League; What is the perception of City like amongst the Bayern fanbase both on and off the pitch?
On the pitch, Manchester City earned our respect. Although we “had” them in the first Champions League fixture in 2013, our favourite team had its hands full in the second fixture. Man City played free-flowing, attractive football to take the game to Bayern. Not many opponents do that.
Off the pitch is another matter. You may be aware that Bayern is one of the best managed clubs, fan-owned, that earned all its money through its footballing activities. Just as most Bundesliga fans, Bayern fans openly dislike foreign owners who pump money into a team for transfers.
You have one of the best managers in world football – the best in my opinion – in Guardiola but it looked like he had a rocky start to life in Germany. Is this the case? And how do you think he’s doing after having had a season to bed in?
The fans’ relationship with Pep Guardiola is by no means simple. There are two camps. The first greatly admires Pep for his achievements at Barcelona and his tactical genius. Without a doubt, everybody likes having a fine tactician on board. However, the second camp could be nicknamed the “doubters”. While many love the character and how Guardiola is a “revolutionary” coach, many doubt that he is the right fit at Bayern.
The rocky start can be explained by the change in philosophy, right after Bayern won a treble with former coach Jupp Heynckes. Pep brought Thiago Alcantara and other short players, marking a major change in the team’s strengths. He rarely used Javi Martinez in central midfield, although he was hugely successful there. He favoured short lateral passes, less direct play. Many of the elements that made Bayern unbeatable in 2013 were seemingly discarded.
Expectations were super high while many thought, unfairly, “anything but a treble is unacceptable”. Combine this with a tactical mistake – using 4-2-4 – in the disastrous 0:4 defeat in the second leg against Real Madrid and many fans were unhappy.
To be fair, Guardiola is a great football coach. The timing of his arrival probably was the worst
What do you think Bayern’s chances of winning the Champion’s League this season are?
I am very confident about reaching the semi-finals. I think that Bayern can beat almost anyone but Chelsea worries me. I think that Mourinho’s team is more complete and much more physical. Very similar to Bayern in 2013. If anyone can take us out, it’s the Blues. If we beat them and avoid predictable mistakes against Madrid, we can go all the way.
City have won twice against Bayern in recent years, almost pipping you to top spot in the group last season. What’s your prediction for the game this time around? Will Bayern be relying on a Jerome Boateng fluke again?
We could also say that about other English clubs. Bayern has a pattern of winning (rather easily) on English soil, to lose the second game at the Allianz Arena. I reckon that teams adapt well to the Bavarian style of play during the second game, while FCB gets a little complacent.
And finally, which (if any) City players would you have at Bayern and why?
Yaya Touré, obviously. He is huge, powerful, smart, a good passer with a powerful long shot. Our midfield is croweded, but if we were to lose anyone in the next transfer window, Touré would be very useful.
Thanks again, Michel.
Our return interview with Bayern Central putting across the Typical City view on the game can be found here.
Written by Alex Timperley who is on Twitter