A Manchester City side without Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo, and the suspended Yaya Toure in the starting line up managed to come from two goals down and beat defending European Champions Bayern Munich at the futuristic Allianz Arena on Tuesday night.
Granted, the win failed to change anything with respect to the positions in the group – Bayern still qualified as group winners while City go into the runners up pot for the Champions League round of 16 draw.
However, City’s performance, more than the win, might prove more important than anything else. To go toe-to-toe against a team that had won 10 successive games in the Champions League, to go two goals down and still have the capacity to recover will be a great boost for Manuel Pellegrini’s squad.
Arguably, City’s expensively-assembled squad is one of the most complete and balanced in Europe.
The factors that were working against them in previous years in Europe’s premier club competition – a lack of experience and know-how in Europe and a bunch of very tough draws - appear to be weakening.
They might feel now that the lessons learnt against Real Madrid, Bayern and Borussia Dortmund in previous years were good for them, as those games allowed them to obtain that know-how of playing in Europe.
Having finished second, they will likely face a tough fixture again in the round of 16. But, Manchester City will go into the knockout phase knowing that they are good enough to beat the big boys of European football.
And getting that belief more than anything is the most significant outcome of their display against Pep Guardiola’s side.
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