City up for Bayern challenge
Manchester City face the toughest test of their verve and ambition when they host European champions Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
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City have started over the past fortnight to show the dynamism and intensity manager Manuel Pellegrini promised when he arrived in the summer.
Few could doubt the quality of Pellegrini's work as his side swept aside Manchester United 4-1 last weekend with an awesome display of attacking football.
Yet the Chilean has much to do to ensure such performance levels are not only maintained consistently, but deliver the results the club's hierarchy demand.
High among the club's aims is the desire to establish themselves on the European stage after failures in the Champions League in the past two seasons.
They opened their latest campaign with a comfortable 3-0 win at Viktoria Plzen but their next Group D opponents are in a different class.
Bayern were the outstanding team on the continent last term and fulfilled their destiny by winning the Champions League at Wembley in May.
Now managed by much-revered former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola, the German champions will provide a yardstick for the club's ability and credentials at the Etihad Stadium.
Pellegrini said: "We are trying to improve our mentality and the way we play, our performance in every game.
"If we want to win something we need to play every game with exactly the same concentration, same intensity.
"Then our quality will make a small difference, not a big difference.
"We will try to win every game, but it is not easy."
City came up against Bayern in their first Champions League campaign two years ago, losing in Munich - in the infamous match that sparked the Carlos Tevez affair - and winning at home after group issues were all but decided.
City were out of luck and went out at the group stage that season with 10 points, but any signs of positive progress were removed last season in a dismal challenge.
Roberto Mancini's men failed to win a single game in a game that included Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid and Ajax - a return they have already beaten this season.
This year they are more hopeful of progress under Pellegrini having already proved their superiority over Plzen and with CSKA Moscow - beaten 3-0 by Bayern in their first game - their other opponents.
Two years ago there appeared some consternation among the bigger clubs of Europe at City's rapid elevation to their level, based on their substantial spending power.
Influential figures at Bayern, most notably chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, were among those to comment but City have made strides towards proving they can sustain their presence at the top.
Wednesday will provide the latest measure of their progress.