Just 10 days ago after they humbled Premier League champions Manchester United 4-1 at Eastlands, this were massacred by the European champions, as Manuel Pellegrini bluntly admitted afterwards.
“We played really badly. It’s not the team we see in the Premier League,” lamented the Chilean.
City defender Micah Richards was equally despondent. “We knew they’re a really good team and they showed tonight why they’re champions.
“We tried. We’ve had a lot of games and there were a few tired legs tonight but we’re a lot better than that. It’s back to the drawing board now.”
Yet another Joe Hart error allowed Franck Ribery to put Bayern in front and further goals followed from Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben. Alvaro Negredo pulled one back with 10 minutes left before Jerome Boateng was sent off with four minutes left but that should not detract from the German side’s utter superiority.
Guardiola’s 4-1-4-1 formation allowed the visitors to dominate the central area and still have more width than they knew what to do with and it made Edin Dzeko’s talk of City’s “aggressive, quick and attacking football” laughable.
Time and again Bayern exploited space on the left and an early warning was a Robben header that dropped wide from David Alaba’s cross.
There was an early threat from City but the Richards header that flew straight at Manuel Neuer from Samir Nasri’s cross was as good as it got in the opening period for those in blue.
Just six minutes in, Rafinha’s 60-yard cross-field ball was allowed all the way to Ribery and, with Richards backing off, the France winger eased inside Jesus Navas and found the corner with a drive that beat Hart far too easily.
With three against two in central midfield, Bayern should have moved two ahead when Robben’s cross was too strong for Muller.
Guardiola’s side were given a couple of anxious moments from corners at the start of the second period but they almost moved two in front when Robben’s teasing low curling effort dropped just wide of Hart’s post after glancing off Richards.
Just as Negredo was getting stripped to come on, City conceded the most inevitable of second goals. Clichy dropped deep to play Muller onside for Dante’s long ball only to stop, allowing the Germany forward the time to evade Hart and clip into the net.
Three minutes later there was a third as Fernandinho was robbed on halfway by Toni Kroos and Robben toyed with Nastasic before beating Hart with a shot that glanced off the near post.
It could have been more for Bayern as Hart denied Robben and then Muller hit the post.
City did pull one back when David Silva fed Negredo and the striker span away from Boateng before bending a shot in off the inside of the post.
When Toure burst through on to a loose ball, he was hauled over by Boateng, earning the former City man a straight red card, and Silva curled the free-kick that followed on to the bar before the impressive Negredo saw a late header land just wide.
Afterwards, Robben revelled in his side’s dominant performance: “The first 70 or 80 minutes in particular we played terrific football.
“To be so dominant against such a big team, we didn’t expect an easy game like that. I think it’s also a big compliment to our team but I expected a bit more from City.”
MANCHESTER CITY (4-4-2): Hart 4; Richards 5, Kompany 6, Nastastic 5, Clichy 5; Navas 5, Toure 6, Fernandinho 6, Nasri 5 (Milner 70, 6); Aguero 5 (Silva 70, 7), Dzeko 5 (Negredo 57, 7)
BAYERN MUNICH (4-1-4-1): Neuer 6; Rafinha 7, Boateng 7, Dante 8, Alaba 8; Lahm 8; Robben 9 (Shaqiri 78, 6), Schweinsteiger 8 (Kirchoff 76, 6), Kroos 8, Ribery 7 (Gotze 85, 6); Muller 9.