Like Manchester City's hopes of topping the group, it's all over for me, but it's been a lot of fun. Cheers for your emails, tweets and eyeballs. Until next time!
Bayern Munich, 24 games unbeaten, 10 successive Champions League wins, playing Manchester City's reserves, two goals up. On the face of it, that didn't look a very promising position for the away side, but City made fools of us all. Incredible, if ultimately irrelevant, stuff, and a welcome morale boost ahead of Saturday's visit of Arsenal. On the downside, Bayern won the corner count 14-0, which is something of a thrashing.
Final score: Bayern Munich 2-3 Manchester City
90+3 mins: Peeeeep! It's all over! City have beaten Bayern in their own back yard! And it didn't really mean anything!
90+2 mins: Fernandinho's key role is basically to reach clearances out of City's penalty area first, and then fall over the nearest oppo. Another free-kick won.
90+1 mins: There will be at least two minutes of stoppage time here.
90 mins: "Football's coming home," sing the fans. City's, presumably, though given the song's success in Germany one can't be sure.
88 mins: Dzeko goes off, Rodwell comes on. "Since we all know City's third goal will be for naught, you should link to a more relevant page such as this collection of links to the top 20 music videos shot in Toronto," writes James Ferguson. I assume Adel Tawil is in there, James.
87 mins: Müller has a shot, but is offside. And let this be the final word on the goalclip fiasco:
86 mins: James Milner is surely the man of the match here. He's been very good, really.
85 mins: A decent Bayern move ends with Ribéry collapsing in the penalty area and the referee being utterly unimpressed.
83 mins: I'll never link to a goal clip again. Having been bombarded with messages from people not in the UK who couldn't see it, I suggest you can only see it if you're in the UK and get bombarded with messages from people not in the UK who can see it. That'll learn me.
82 mins: Zabaleta blocks Ribéry with a hand across the chest, and gets a yella for his pains.
80 mins: Chance for Manchester City! Dante snoozes on the ball and Negredo nicks it and storms forward, but the striker takes one touch too many, and his eventual shot from a very tight angle is saved. Looks like you can't watch Sky's goal clips unless you're in the UK, incidentally.
78 mins: Fernandinho is booked for not doing very much really to Kroos.
76 mins: And another Bayern corner, taken from the right by Shaqiri. And another one, taken from the left by Ribéry, which is cleared to the edge of the box, where Fernandinho is fouled by Kroos.
75 mins: Another Bayern corner, sent boxwards by Kroos and headed back out again by Negredo.
74 mins: Zabaleta pushes Alaba in the shoulder as Bayern take a corner, and falls to the floor clutching his face. I didn't see any Alaba-facial contact there at all, truly I did not.
72 mins: City bring Silva off, and Negredo on. "You can't watch that clip of City's third goal if you're in Toronto despite being the epicentre of German pop. Strange," notes James Ferguson.
70 mins: Should City try to chase the fourth goal here? After all, a 3-2 win doesn't really do anything for them, and now they're in this position surely they might as well try to top the group? Their substitutions will reveal all…
68 mins: Bayern bring on Shaqiri for Mandzukic. Meanwhile, you can watch Manchester City's third goal here. But only if you're in the UK.
65 mins: I would like this match sealed in an evidence bag and stored at Scotland Yard so it can be used as exhibit A if someone ever attempts to prove that it's a funny old game in a court of law.
64 mins: That is the correct scoreline. If City score one more, they will win the group. Unless Bayern also score.
GOAL! Bayern Munich 2-3 Manchester City (Milner, 63 mins)
Jesús Navas runs down the right and crosses low. It's not very good, and Boateng should have cleared, but instead he totally misses the ball, which rolls to Milner, whose shot from 10 yards beyond the far post is expertly guided back across goal and in.
62 mins: Alaba gets down the left and crosses; no Bayern player is running into the six-yard box to meet it.
61 mins: Shot of the year! Ribéry passes across the edge of City's penalty area, and Kroos scoops his shot way over the bar. I mean, waaaay over the bar. At least 40 yards over the bar.
GOAL! Bayern Munich 2-2 Manchester City (Kolarov, 59 mins)
That's the equaliser, and City's reserves have completed an unlikely comeback!
Penalty to Manchester City!
Milner runs onto the ball, Dante steps across him and the Englishman falls over. It's not a clear penalty, but it was clearly a very foolish challenge.
57 mins: It may be that Bayern used up their entire evening's supply of good football dust in the first half-hour. The game is snoozing a bit.
55 mins: The ball-hogging ends with Demichelis randomly passing the ball straight to Müller. Bayern promptly bring on Javi Martínez and take off Götze.
54 mins: City have spent much of the last two minutes playing keep-ball up and down their right flank.
51 mins: City have a shot! Silva pulls the ball back from the touchline and Dzeko, who has to hit it first-time or not shoot at all, hits it first time, Neuer saving at his near post.
50 mins: Zabaleta concedes a corner as Alaba maraudes down the left, but Ribéry's kick is easily headed clear.
48 mins: It seems that Bayern have been told to stop messing about and get this game won. Here's a fine photo montage from Istanbul, meanwhile.
47 mins: Update from elsewhere: Galatasaray v Juventus has been abandoned due to heavy snow in Istanbul.
46 mins: They're off! Again!
The half-time statistical update is as follows (Bayern's number first, then City's):
On target: 7-2
Fouls committed: 4-8
That was a half of two halves, that was. Bayern made City's reserves look like a bunch of non-league jokers for a while, but City's response has been commendable, and though Bayern could have scored another 2-1 at half-time isn't far off being a fair score.
45+2 mins: Bayern win a corner after 46 minutes and three seconds. That should be the end of the half, but the referee lets them take it, which isn't really very good, but then he gives City a free-kick when the ball's in the air, and then blows for half-time.
45+1 mins: There will only be one more minute of this, unless something very odd happens.
45 mins: Goal-saving block! The ball is played from the right, bobbles around a little gang of players and then breaks for Müller, who skups into the penalty area but sees his shot blocked by Demichelis.
44 mins: Milner fouls Thiago Alcántara, and is then booked because the crowd made a bit of noise.
43 mins: Save! Ribéry passes the ball through to Götze, but Hart narrows the angles and blocks the shot.
41 mins: Dante is booked, for fouling Jesús Navas. And a minute later, Dzeko is booked for fouling Dante.
40 mins: Intriguing game, this. City could not have been more outclassed in those opening 20 minutes, but what we have at the moment is a football match, which is an unexpected delight. Meanwhile, Red Balloon-related red faces at songfacts.com:
38 mins: Dear world: yes, I know I wrote the wrong scoreline after City's goal. If you manually refresh you'll find it's been corrected. Yes, I am a fool. No, I won't resign.
37 mins: Milner continues to play quite well, playing a fine first-time one-two with Silva as City launch another attack. "That is most definitely Toronto," confirms Alex Quirk (and several others). "One shot is just outside the very office i am sneakily following the champs league in as I type this." Don't worry, I won't tell a soul.
35 mins: "How overrated is Dante?" asks Tanay Padhi. "His propensity for making mistakes is clouded by the rest of his team, he really should have been sent off in the final against Dortmund earlier in the year and he completely let Silva past for the goal a minute ago." To be fair, Milner's header caught out at least three Bayern defenders, who weren't expecting anything quite so good to happen. And Dante's assist for the first ball was super. So only a bit.
33 mins: A slightly scratchy period, featuring a free-kick each in the last minute or so. Meamwhile, songfacts.com has this to say about 99 Red Balloons:
The song, though difficult to understand, is about the dreams of the German people that were lost after World War II. The 99 balloons represent the many dreams that each person had. At the end of the song, she just wants to prove that the German people did have dreams by finding one balloon - she finds one balloon, a dream, and lets it go.
30 mins: Well that's put the cat among the pigeons! In a way. Bayern have been massively superior here, but it only takes a second to score a goal etc and so forth.
GOAL! Bayern Munich 2-1 Manchester City (Silva, 28 mins)
Navas crosses from the right, the ball bounces and then is headed back across goal by Milner, beyond the far post, where Silva is on hand to prod goalwards from six yards.
27 mins: Neuer races from goal to clear Hart's clearance as Jesús Navas loiters threateningly. "Did you know that in Germany, if a team has two games in a week, it's called an 'Englische Woche'?" asks Stephen Holliday. I did not. But I do now know why Bayern are wearing their away kit:
26 mins: Another City shot! Though Fernandinho's left-footer flies over the bar.
24 mins: Ribéry turns Zabaleta, and then does it again, only even more emphatically, and then again, and again, but there's a law of diminishing returns here, and the eventual cross hits the defender in the shins.
23 mins: "Why are Bayern wearing their away kit?" ask about 80 people by email. "I don't really know," answers disappointing MBMer. Anyone?
20 mins: Hart saves something, though Kroos's 25-yarder isn't much of a threat. Still, yet another Bayern shot.
20 mins: Bayern Munich are basically ruddy marvellous, particularly when they've been absolutely mismatched against utterly hopeless opponents. Which is pretty much every week, and certainly tonight.
18 mins: Lescott heads the ball behind, beating Mandzukic to the header. From the corner, the same defender blocks Ribéry's goalbound half-volley.
Are you absolutely sure it's Toronto? Because that would be totally senseless, obviously.
16 mins: And Richards is off, though only after being left exposed defensively and forced to sprint using already-strained muscles. By the time he goes off he's limping badly.
15 mins: Manchester City have a shot! Jesús Navas does some dribblage on the right wing, his cross is half-cleared and Milner volleys the ball viciously goalwards, but Neuer saves.
13 mins: Micah Richards has had enough of this nonsense, and is coming off. Zabaleta will replace him. It looks like he's actually injured.
GOAL! Bayern Munich 2-0 Manchester City (Götze, 12 mins)
The corner falls at the feet of Mandzukic, whose shot falls at the feet of Götze, four yards out, who controls, turns and pokes the ball into the net.
11 mins: Bayern hit the post! Ribéry plays the ball wide to Müller, whose cross is deflected back to Ribéry, and his attempted centre is deflected onto the post and behind for a corner.
10 mins: …from which Dante wins the header, but though he directs the ball downwards, there's little power on it, and the direction isn't great, and Hart collects.
9 mins: Lescott gives Ribéry a hearty shove on the right touchline (City's left), and Bayern have another free-kick.
7 mins: Manchester City have the ball in Bayern's half. Indeed, the ball makes it as far as the penalty area, where Thiago Alcántara clears.
GOAL! Bayern Munich 1-0 Manchester City (Müller, 5 mins)
An amazing pass from Dante finds Müller running beyond Kolarov, and he controls on his chest and shoots into the corner. A vague whiff of offside, but otherwise a lovely goal.
5 mins: If the remaining 85 minutes is like the first five, it's going to be a long 'ole night for them City boys. "I'm not a Bayern fan," emphasises Julian Menz, "but the song, cheerily enough, is basically about how WW3 gets started by a bunch of balloons."
3 mins: Comedy defending as a Demichelis backpass puts Lescott in trouble, and then Lescott's evenfurtherbackpass puts Hart in a lot of trouble, leading to a Bayern corner.
2 mins: Manzukic picks up the ball on the left wing, waits for Jesús Navas to foul him, and then falls over.
1 min: They're off! Two statistical footnotes: Aleksandar Kolarov is City's captain, and James Milner is the only player on either side who would miss his club's next European match if he's booked.
The players are out, and currently posing behind that Mandela banner, so we should be under way sharpish.
"Surely City's line up shows they have no intention of going for a win," points out Jonathan Smith. "Arguably all the players are second choice with the exception of Silva, who is coming back from injury. Not just one eye but both eyes on Saturdays clash with Arsenal. Bayern to win by at least three goals." The right move, I think – it would be inappropriate to risk any nasty surprises in a game that is of only minor sporting importance, with a much bigger one looming.
Only five clubs in the history of the Champions League have won all six of their group games, which Bayern will do if they beat City's reserves tonight. They were Milan (1992-93), Paris St-Germain (1994-95), Spartak Moscow (1995-96), Barcelona (2002-03) and Real Madrid (2011-12). A very select bunch. And Spartak Moscow.
Mandela latest: A banner will be displayed on the pitch at all Champions League matches this week as a tribute to Nelson Mandela. It reads: "Madiba, the world will never forget." It's just as well the Champions League isn't sponsored by a rival global political figure, otherwise there'd be a contractual clause to cover that kind of thing.
Manchester City's competitive record in Germany: Played six, lost five, won one. Bayern's competitive record at home to English clubs: Played 17, won 10, drawn 5, lost two.
"Speaking of German pop," writes Alan Castle, "can any Bayern fans decipher this? Not so much the literal translation but the cultural significance at the time."
Hast du etwas Zeit für mich
Dann singe ich ein Lied für dich
Von 99 Luftballons
Auf ihrem Weg zum Horizont
Denkst du vielleicht g'rad an mich
Dann singe ich ein Lied für dich
Von neunundneunzig Luftballons
Und dass so was von so was kommt
Aha, Nena's 99 Red Balloons. I once saw her live (long story, but she was making a guest appearance at a Howard Jones concert. Yes, Howard Jones) in London and she came on, sang 99 Luftballons in German, said a few other things in German, looked a little merry, uttered not a word of English, and left again. It was … um … memorable.
Oooh, this is more like it. It's in German, for a start. And Adel fully grabs the cultural-exchange idea by mentioning Duran Duran, David Bowie, Ultravox and even EMF. In the video he wears a Bros T-shirt. This pleases me in many ways.
Big in Germany
Not being one ever to miss a chance to pull on my Europop-sanctioned feather boa and dance wildly to funny foreign music, I feel it's important at this point to hear the music that is currently rocking Germany. And it is this. Milky Chance are "a German alternative pop folk rock duo with reggae and electronic music influences", according to Wikipedia. This is actually acceptably good, disappointingly.
"Just opened the Uefa regulations and page 11 says teams level on points are split by results between the teams involved, including away goals, before goal difference," pointofinformations Ian Kay. "So, I think City will top the group if they win 4-2, 5-3, 6-4 etc. Given our performances this season we do have a slim chance of scoring that many, and we can certainly rely on Bayern to put the necessary goals past us."
Manuel Pellegrini speaks
"We will try at least," he says, when asked if City can genuinely hope to win the group. "We know it will be very difficult to beat Bayern 3-0, but we will try from the beginning, first to play a very good game and after, to defeat them."
What must they change from the 1-3 home humbling in October? "All. Absolutely all."
Bayern have a pretty strong line-up, albeit without the injured Arjen Robben. City have made all sorts of changes, with Agüero, Negredo and Kompany on the bench and a certain Charles Joseph John Hart between the sticks.
What's at stake tonight…
Otherwise knowns as "that part of the MBM that's been shamelessly copy-and-pasted from the Uefa website":
- Bayern are through and will win the group with a draw or with a defeat that is no bigger than their 3-1 away victory in Manchester.
- City are through and will top the table if they win by more than the 3-1 margin by which they lost at home to Bayern.
- Um, that's all really. CSKA will finish third in Group D unless they lose to Viktoria Plzen by two or more goals.
So, at the risk of being a little prosaic about the whole preamble business, I'll just get right down to business with your official matchday teams!
Bayern München: Neuer; Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Alaba; Alcántara; Müller, Götze, Kroos, Ribéry; Mandzukic. Subs from: Starke, Van Buyten, Javi Martínez, Shaqiri, Rafinha, Pizarra, Contento.
Manchester City: Hart; Richards, Demichelis, Lescott, Kolarov; Jesús Navas, Javi García, Fernandinho, Milner; Silva; Dzeko. Subs from: Pantilimon, Kompany, Zabaleta, Negredo, Agüero, Rodwell, Boyata.Referee: David Fernández Borbalán (Spain).
Simon will be here from 7pm.
In the meantime here's what Manuel Pellegrini makes of City's challenge.
"In football a lot can happen. We're playing 11 versus 11. It's very hard to win here but we must try to do that. We also have a very good squad and great players, and right from the start we have to do our best and score a goal. It's very hard to say what the weak points are for Bayern Munich. Every week I could analyse them and it's very hard to see a weak point for this team. We have to play with real fire in our stomachs."