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3 things we learned from Man City's beatdown of Bayern

With many experts having predicted that the winner of the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League will emerge from the blockbuster quarterfinal tie between Manchester City and Bayern Munich, City's 3-0 beatdown of Bayern in Tuesday's first leg at the Etihad is quite the statement from the Sky Blues.

There's still a lot of thinking yet to come from Pep Guardiola, but this City team can kill you a myriad of ways (unlike Chelsea and Real Madrid), is UCL battle hardened (unlike Benfica, Inter, Milan and Napoli) and has Erling Haaland (unlike Bayern). 

3 things we learned from Manchester City vs. Bayern Munich

#1. There's a first time for everything.

This is Rodri's fifth season of Champions League ball dating back to his debut in 2018 with Atlético Madrid. Every season he's reached the knockout stage but until Tuesday — his 44th UCL appearance — Rodri had never scored in the competition.

The 26-year-old's first was absolutely stunning. With his weaker left foot, the Spaniard curled an unstoppable finish from nearly 25 yards out that swazzed inside the far post and past the despairing dive of Yann Sommer. Sumptuous. 

Partnered with John Stones in midfield, Rodri had the ultimate two-way performance. Bayern went about nullifying City's five-man attack, understandably asking Rodi to kill them, but he responded with that goal and as the joint-leader in successful dribbles (3). 

Rodri drove forward into the space given to him, but he also won four tackles and the most defensive aerials of any player on the pitch.   

#2. Thomas "The Champions League Whisperer" Tuchel doesn't have the answers.

I'm not a huge viewer of the Bundesliga, but they say Borussia Dortmund's title challenge was a big reason for Julian Nagelsmann's dismissal. However, it was a really hard decision to make sense of based off Bayern's 3-0 aggregate throttling of PSG in the last-16, where Nagelsmann had all the answers for Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé.

Still, we all know Tuchel's UCL track record of actually reaching the final with PSG's traveling circus and winning the whole thing with Chelsea after a January appointment. He's the man with the disruptive plan when the opponent feels fully confident in their own, but on Tuesday in the driving Manchester rain he was reduced to histrionics by the machine Guardiola's assembled over seven years.  

#3. Erling Haaland's composure is frightening.

Haaland's qualities as a Man Mountain built in the image of Paul Bunyan are evident for all to see on first viewing, but he's much more than just a mindless titan of brute strength.

On City's second, Haaland's first touch appeared to invite a crack at goal but the Norwegian instead picked his head up and dinked the perfect cross for a totally unmarked Bernardo Silva.  

Then, on City's third, almost everyone would've attacked the ball like Silva did on the previous goal — striding into it full-force and trying to pound it home — but the 22-year-old eased up at the last second and guided a side-footer beyond Sommer. I've seen countless players blast this over the bar with their laces.   

Manchester City's inability to beat Real Madrid in the semifinals last year lingers as one of the most profoundly surreal results in UCL history, and you get the feeling it's going to take something similar to keep City and Guardiola from raising the trophy this time. 

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