Manchester City took a giant stride towards the Champions League semi-finals with an outstanding performance to overpower Bayern Munich at Etihad Stadium.
Erling Haaland, inevitably, was on target with his 45th goal of the season to make him the highest scorer in all competitions in a single campaign since the Premier League began 30 years ago, surpassing Mohamed Salah and Ruud van Nistelrooy.
City, however, gave a powerful all-round team display and Bayern, under new coach Thomas Tuchel, face a mountainous task to turn this quarter-final around in the second leg at the AllianzArena.
Rodri broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion with a curling left-foot drive into the top corner after 27 minutes while Bayern had chances of their own, especially former City forward Leroy Sane, who brought a vital save out of Ederson early in the second half.
City were always a threat and extended their lead with 20 minutes left, Haaland crossing perfectly for Bernardo Silva to head home after Jack Grealish stole possession off Dayot Upemecano.
Haaland was not to be denied and he pounced for City’s third six minutes later, getting on the end of John Stones’ headed knockdown to sweep a finish past Bayern keeper Yann Sommer.
Man City deliver complete display
Haaland’s record breaking will capture the headlines as the 22-year-old Norwegian’s voracious appetite for goals shows no sign of being satisfied.
This, however, was much more than a one-man show as Pep Guardiola’s side had outstanding performers in all areas as they go in pursuit of the one major trophy that has remained tantalisingly out of reach during the manager’s years of huge success at Etihad Stadium.
City have had mishaps before in the Champions League and will face either holders Real Madrid or Chelsea in a potentially hazardous last-four assignment if they complete what should be the formality of the second leg in Munich, but they look in perfect shape.
And in Haaland, they have the goal machine that gives an already outstanding side an added edge amid the fine margins of Europe’s elite competition.
They also have a midfield powerhouse in Rodri, whose goal set them on their way, while they defended with real resilience, Nathan Ake continuing an outstanding season with a faultless performance.
Bernardo Silva showed all his creative powers as well as scoring the crucial second goal while Jack Grealish’s tireless performance was exemplified by the manner in which he nicked the ball off Upamecano in the build-up to that goal.
Three goals and clean sheet was a fair reward for City’s superiority and it will surely now take something extraordinary to stop them taking their place in another semi-final.
Tuchel faces uphill task
Thomas Tuchel declared his delight at being back in England for this Champions League quarter-final, having recently succeed Julian Naglesmann at Bayern Munich, but there was not much else for the former Chelsea manager to be happy about on this rain-sodden Manchester night.
Tuchel’s task is to get Bayern back at Europe’s top table and his constant agitation in the technical area was an indicator of how big his task is. The Bundesliga is almost taken for granted at Bayern but this fiercely ambitious club wants more and they were well beaten here.
This outstanding coach has proved his quality in the past but he will need to be a miracle worker to get Bayern out of the hole they fell into at Etihad Stadium.