When Bayern Munich went up 2-1 in the 41st minute, it came on the back of a 20 minute performance where 10-man Bayern Munich ran circles around a Manchester City defense. It was a truly astounding display and it was probably the point where the expectations flew out the window. Bayern Munich were down to 10 men. Manchester City are a very very good team, despite their struggles. Give them an inch and they will win. And the late "lapses" from Bayern Munich were far less the team failing and more that Manchester City finally found the right combination to exploit their man advantage.
Manchester City's Equalizer
In the 82nd minute, Sergio Aguero scored Manchester City's second goal to equalize. That goal started with a sequence of attacking Bayern Munich play. Interchanges between Alons, Shaqiri, Robben, and Hojbjerg were dynamic and fast however the end left Bayern Munich isolated on one side of the field. Xabi Alonso is being pressured from behind with zero support as Manchester City closes the net. Rafinha is marked, Shaqiri is marked while Aguero and Nasri are marking the space preventing Alonso from passing to either Boateng or Robben. It's a closing net of pressure, where the extra man in midfield allows the pressure on Alonso to be immediate and intense. With the only passing option left for Alonso being Dante or a pass out of play, there's very little to be surprised about when Nasri reads the intent and intercepts the pass to Dante.
It's a sequence of clever defensive play and it's exactly what any good European team should be able to do when up a man.
Manchester City's Winner
In stoppage time, Manchester City were pushing for the late winner. Again Bayern Munich were in possession before the ball was forced to the outside. Again we see the man advantage of Manchester City in effect. A double team on the far side culminates in Bayern Munich having to pass back into the backline. With a press and man advantage up front, Manchester City cuts off the ability of Dante to play the ball back to Neuer, into the midfield, or out to Juan Bernat. This leaves him with the only option of playing long. In this instance, the ball is immediately instantly recycled by the Blues who dump the ball back into the strikers.
With City pushing into the Bayern half, it's the Bayern midfield's immediate response to step up and pressure the City midfielders.Down a man, Bayern are intent on using multiple pressers to win the ball back. While this strategy is one of the best, it leaves them with holes all over the place. Unfortunately, the man advantage of Manchester City ensures an open man so that when City recycles the ball quickly after Dante's ball out of the back, an open man is left in midfield. It's a sequence of rapid transitions, exactly when two 11-men sides see someone left open frequently. With 10 men that likelihood becomes even greater - and Manchester City exploits that advantage
A simple control, a simple pass to Aguero (Aguero takes a bad touch and the ball bounces off Boateng back to Aguero. That's not a mistake, that happens) sees the striker in on goal. Game over.
While Bayern Munich played an absolutely incredible game, controlling the match and dictating the tempo and flow of the game, the fact is they went down a man early to a very good Manchester City side. They're a team who knows how to exploit that with one of the better tactical coaches in Europe. While we all hoped that Bayern Munich could pull out the unbelievable, a far bigger slice of the credit for this loss goes to Manchester City's tactical astuteness in the second half and they way they forced Bayern Munich into corners.