I wrote in my preview of tonight's game for The Metro that hope is an emotion that can have a funny effect in sport given that sound and reasoned logic is often easily disregarded in favour of little more than blind faith. And so it is with the visit of Bayern Munich, already qualified and set to march on as group winners whilst City currently reside at the foot of the group, without a win and little of that emotion that sustains in such desperate times.
Yet of such moments can strength be drawn. I also discussed in the piece that maybe, just maybe, such a backs-to-the-wall position that City find themselves can provide the spark that springs the club's relationship with the competition to life. To date, we know there has been a disconnect with the Champions League; that it is has failed to ignite the imagination in the way that domestic competitions have. But with little option but to win out in the final two games against Bayern and then away to Roma (which would likely see them qualify) there will be the 'tension' to their play that Pep Guardiola talked about:
"To play football we need tension, we need something to fight for. You have to be a little bit afraid to play football, so in that point of view Man City have an advantage.
"The game for them is more important than our game, but we always find the right way, something to be motivated, to be a competitive team."
Whether this tension manifests itself in positive form is another matter, and Samir Nasri ratcheted up their pressure with his own take on the situation by suggesting that failure would result in a culling of the current squad. Most interesting heading into the game though were comments from Manuel Pellegrini:
"We know we must win against Bayern and must have the personality to go and be aggressive from the beginning. This is our last chance to progress."
So what does Pellegrini mean by an aggressive approach? He has on previous occasion been criticised for being too aggressive, too slavish in his sticking to a 4-4-2 against opponents such as Bayern, when this has proven to be their downfall.
Pellegrini has also to contend with the fact that his aggressive approach will have to be deployed without the services of the injured David Silva and Edin Dzeko and the suspended Yaya Toure and Fernandinho. When coming to pencil in his starting XI he will find his options restricted.
But Pellegrini in many ways has little option. Start cautiously and you may play into Bayern's hands, with the crowd's patience unlikely to be finite given so much is on the line. Contrastingly though, a bad start and the best laid plans will be nothing more than dust. At the very least though Pellegrini was remaining positive, talking up the confidence he has in his side and citing examples of past winners who started badly but went on to the lift the trophy.
None though found themselves in a position quite as precarious as his side currently find themselves in. As I wrote in The Metro, hope can do funny things.