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Manchester City’s Road To Istanbul Pt 2: Beating the Germans

How The Blues Eased Past German Opposition

FC Bayern München v Manchester City: Quarterfinal Second Leg - UEFA Champions League Photo by Richard Sellers/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images

After comfortably qualifying from the group stage, Manchester City’s next exploits took them to Germany for both their last 32 and last 8 matches. City are no strangers to facing sides from Germany and for their first knock-out match, they were drawn against RB Leipzig.

The blues were already familiar with Leipzig, having beaten them 6-3 in Manchester, before losing 2-1 in their final group game. By that stage, City were already through to the knock-out stage and the faithful were confident that City would progress again.

The Last 16

Leipzig finished runners-up to Real Madrid in Group F, winning four and losing two. They lost their first match in shocking style with a 4-1 home defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk, then lost 2-0 at Real in their second match. However, Leipzig beat Celtic 3-1 in Germany, then beat the same opposition in Scotland 2-0. In their fourth match, the Germans edged past Real with a 3-2 home win, before securing second place with a 4-0 win at Shakhtar.

Leipzig were hoping home advantage would work in their favour, but City dominated the first half and deservedly took the lead on 27 minutes. A poor ball out of defence was picked up by Ilkay Gundogan. he fed Mahrez and the Algerian fired low past the keeper to send City in 1-0 at the break.

The German side came out firing after the break, testing Ederson a couple of times before getting the equaliser on 70 minutes. Josko Gvardiol looked to have leaned on the shoulders of the City defender, but the goal was given and Leipzig were level.

In the second leg, City didn’t give the Germans much chance as Erling Haaland ran riot. The blues were awarded a penalty by VAR in the 22nd minute for handball, which Haaland confidently dispatched. Two minutes later, the Norwegian headed home after Kevin de Brunye’s thunderous shot had cannoned off the crossbar.

And, in first-half injury time, Haaland reacted quickest to prod home after Ruben Dias’ shot had been kept out, giving him yet another hat-trick.

Haaland continued to haunt Leipzig in the second half, hammering home at the far post on 53 minutes. That came just four minutes after Gundogan had made it 4-0, firing across the keeper into the far corner.

Haaland’s fifth and City’s sixth came after another four minutes. Again, the Norwegian reacted quickest to fire home a rebound after the initial shot was blocked. De Bruyne was also not to be denied, curling in the seventh in injury time.

The Last 8

That 9-1 aggregate win over Leipzig sent City cruising into the last 8. which would see them return to Germany and a tie with former champions Bayern Munich. The draw for the semi-final was made at the same time and the blues would face either Real Madrid or Chelsea for a place in the final.

But first came Bayern, another familiar side from the blues previous Champions League group stages. City had faced the German giants six times in four seasons in the group stages, and a trend had developed - Bayern would win the first game, while City always won the return.

Bayern had emerged victorious from their Group of Death, which contained Barcelona and Inter Milan, winning all six of their matches and faced PSG in the last 16. A 1-0 win in Paris was followed by a 2-0 victory in Munich to set up the clash with Pep Guardiola’s men, where City would take a giant stride towards the semi-final with a hugely impressive win.

Rodri’s turn and curling left foot shot into the top corner gave City the lead in the 27th minute and, although you can never write off Bayern, it was a lead that City never looked like surrendering.

The faithful had to wait until the 70th minute, but it was a move that was definitely worth the wait. Jack Grealish’s back heel released Haaland and his cross to the far post was met by the head of Bernardo Silva, who powered home the second.

The blues needed a third to make life difficult for Bayern in the second leg and Haaland duly obliged on 76 minutes. John Stones’ header across the penalty area and Haaland slotted home to make the game, and the tie, safe.

The return leg saw the blues through to face Real Madrid and an opportunity to avenge the defeat Guardiola’s men suffered at the same stage last season. Haaland missed a golden opportunity to give City the lead in the first half by firing his penalty over the bar. However, the striker made amends in the 57th minute as City showed just how dangerous they can be on the break. A Bayern attack saw the ball roll across the City goal, and the blues cleared, with de Bruyne picking up the loose ball and feeding the Norwegian.

Haaland left Dayot Upamecano on his arse and took a free run at the Bayern goal before firing City into a 4-0 aggregate lead. That effectively finished the tie and, although Bayern levelled on the night from the penalty spot, there was never any danger of a City comeback.