City 'respect' Bayern history
Since Sheikh Mansour completed his multi-million pound Blues buy-out in 2008, City's long-suffering fans have become numb such is the frequency with which they have had to pinch themselves. From the day it all began and that British record £32.5million purchase of Robinho, through the arrival of Carlos Tevez from Manchester United, last season's FA Cup triumph and top-three finish, City have hauled in the heavyweights above them. Now, with so much less distance to travel, the strides are shorter. Some are still very significant. When they walk out on Tuesday at the Allianz Arena to face a team that were Champions League runners-up as recently as 2010, knocking Manchester United out along the way, and have four European Cups in their trophy room bearing testament to their status in the game, for those who have loyally followed the Blues through decades of underachievement another marker will have been passed. "For the supporters it is an important moment," Mancini said on Monday. "Life changes sometimes. Now we are a top club. But one result or one game cannot change everything. "As a club, a team and a squad we have improved a lot this year and hope to do so in the future. "But it is clear that this is an important game for this group. If we win it will be very important." That a club who only 13 years ago were spending their midweeks dreaming of victory over Macclesfield are now taking on Bayern as equals is remarkable in itself. Yet a quick check through the names who might represent the Blues in Germany on Tuesday emphasises Mancini and his boys are not travelling to Bavaria to gaze around at a world-famous stadium and wonder in amazement at it all. Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure, David Silva, Joe Hart. This City squad stands comparison with any potential foe in this competition, including a Bayern outfit who can boast Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Manuel Neuer in its ranks. "Playing against Bayern Munich is always difficult for an English team. But the same is also (true) for them," said Mancini. "It will be a difficult game. When you play against this team you can lose. "But we are not a small team. We are a good team. We play against them without a problem. "We have a lot of respect for them. They have a great history. But we want to do a good job." There has been a close bond between Munich and Manchester ever since 23 people - including eight Manchester United players - perished on a plane trying to take off after a refuelling stop in 1958. The event - and the names of those who died - have gone down in history. City shed tears too, a fact the club have emphasised over the last few years as they have manfully tried to eradicate the disgraceful anti-Munich chants. And club secretary Bernard Halford will lead a delegation on Tuesday that will lay a wreath in honour of the fallen, which included former City goalkeeper Frank Swift, who became a journalist upon his retirement from the game. Mancini acknowledged the sadness of the event. But his focus must be solely on the game, the opposition buoyed by an impressive start which sees them top of the Bundesliga with 18 points from their opening seven games. It is a record not dissimilar to that of City, who have 16 from six and lie second on goal difference. For any away team, a draw against such opposition would represent a decent result, and whilst City would have hoped for more than two points from their first two games, it would represent a solid introduction to the game's highest stage. "It wouldn't change our situation," responded Mancini, when asked about the consequences of defeat. "I have said this before. This is the hardest group in the Champions League because there are four teams who could go through. "Bayern have started the season very well. But they are always a fantastic team, who are used to playing in the Champions League. "But we want to play our football. Our mentality is important. Then anything can happen."