presented by
Menu
Masterclass in Manchester

Chorus of praise as 'super, super' Bayern shine

"Brilliant Bayern!" screamed The Guardian on Thursday morning. "Bayern Munich masterclass" declared The Times, describing the treble winners' display as "superhuman". Even the Manchester City home page joined in: "City beaten by Bayern brilliance," said the club's official match report. Bayern's 3-1 victory away to the Premier League giants drew a chorus of critical praise from all sides, including warm applause from the generous and sporting home crowd at the Etihad Stadium. FCB President Uli Hoeneß awarded his team “full marks with distinction”.

"For 80 minutes, I think we saw a brand of football I've basically never seen before in my life," Hoeneß said after the final whistle. The President believes Pep Guardiola has succeeded in taking the team up to yet another level, even after the glories of the previous treble-winning season: "We used to have a super team, and now we have a super-super team."

The triumph in Manchester was Bayern's seventh straight win in the Champions League and the fourth in a row away from home in the competition, both setting new club records. City lost at home in Europe for only the second time ever, and were beaten on their home patch in European competition for the first time in 20 games or five years. Before Wednesday, the Sky Blues had never conceded three goals at home in a UEFA competition.

The triumph in Manchester was Bayern's seventh straight win in the Champions League and the fourth in a row away from home in the competition, both setting new club records. City lost at home in Europe for only the second time ever, and were beaten on their home patch in European competition for the first time in 20 games or five years. Before Wednesday, the Sky Blues had never conceded three goals at home in a UEFA competition.

"What we saw from our team today was a real eye-opener," said Karl-Heinz Rummenigge when he took to the microphone at The Lowry Hotel to declare the post-match banquet open at around 11 pm local time. The chairman praised "this magnificent team with Pep Guardiola at the head of the coaching staff" and added words of encouragement: "Keep it up! If so, I'm sure the red and white wine we have on the tables in front of us will be replaced by something even better."

A 'great game'

Everything fell into place on the night: slick and precise passing, inventive moves, pressing, aggression and work rate. The goals were scored by Franck Ribéry (7), Thomas Müller (56) and Arjen Robben (60), and it could even have been more, with Müller hitting the post after 76 minutes in one of a number of near-misses. Guardiola described himself as "overjoyed" by the end after what he readily agreed was his team's best performance of the season. "It was a great match. The team has shown what they're capable of in the past – and they've delivered again today."

Even the frantic closing stages, in which Alvaro Negredo pulled one back with ten minutes to play, Jérôme Boateng was sent off after 85 minutes, and David Silva hit the bar from the ensuing free-kick, failed to dampen the enthusiasm in the FCB camp. "A game like that on a superb pitch, in this stadium against such big-name opponents – there's nothing better," declared Robben, who was named UEFA Man of the Match afterwards.

Focus on Leverkusen

The only factor preventing the midnight banquet turning into a full-blown party was the bald fact of a game every three days. Guardiola and his troops face their next huge challenge just three days from now when they travel to Leverkusen in the Bundesliga. For that reason, Rummenigge politely asked the fans, sponsors and VIPs at the Lowry to leave the stars in peace over dinner: "They have to come down and relax. We have an incredibly difficult game on Saturday."

In any case, the players had patently turned their focus to the next job of work, as the first of them were already on their way to their rooms a quarter of an hour after Rummenigge's short speech. "It's important we don't now start thinking it'll all happen automatically. We have to keep it up," demanded Manuel Neuer. Robben echoed the keeper's words: "Let's stay calm, with both feet on the ground. We carry on from here!" However, one particular stat stood out on an evening of the superlatives: whenever Bayern have won a European tie in England, as in 1996, 2001 and 2013, a trophy has made its way to Munich at the end of the season!

News