Manchester City will reach the latest stage of their remarkable journey in Munich on Tuesday night with manager Roberto Mancini insisting one game alone against the legendary Bayern "cannot change" a club.
Since Sheikh Mansour completed his multi-million pound Blues buy-out in 2008, City's long-suffering fans have become numb such is the frequency with which they have had to pinch themselves.
From the day it all began and that British record £32.5million purchase of Robinho, through the arrival of Carlos Tevez from Manchester United, last season's FA Cup triumph and top-three finish, City have hauled in the heavyweights above them. "For the supporters it is an important moment," Mancini said.
Now, with so much less distance to travel, the strides are shorter. Some are still very significant.
When they walk out at the Allianz Arena to face a team that were Champions League runners-up as recently as 2010, knocking Manchester United out along the way, and have four European Cups in their trophy room bearing testament to their status in the game, for those who have loyally followed the Blues through decades of underachievement another marker will have been passed.
Mancini added: "Life changes sometimes. Now we are a top club. But one result or one game cannot change everything. As a club, a team and a squad we have improved a lot this year and hope to do so in the future. But it is clear that it is an important game for this group. If we win it will be very important."
That a club who only 13 years ago were spending their midweeks dreaming of victory over Macclesfield are now taking on Bayern as equals is remarkable in itself. Yet a quick check through the names who might represent the Blues in Germany emphasises Mancini and his boys are not travelling to Bavaria to gaze around at a world-famous stadium and wonder in amazement at it all.
Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure, David Silva, Joe Hart. This City squad stands comparison with any potential foe in this competition, including a Bayern outfit who can boast Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Manuel Neuer in its ranks.
"Playing against Bayern Munich is always difficult for an English team. But the same is also (true) for them," said Mancini.
"It will be a difficult game. When you play against this team you can lose. But we are not a small team. We are a good team. We play against them without a problem. We have a lot of respect for them. They have a great history. But we want to do a good job."
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