If money alone determined the outcome of the Champions League, Manchester City would already be through to the knockout stage and wondering which team it would beat next.
Instead, the Premier League leader’s expensively assembled squad is relying on a surprise result elsewhere to even have a chance of making out of the group stage in its first season in the tournament.
City has won only two of its five matches so far and must beat Group A winner Bayern Munich in the final group match on Wednesday. It also needs a Villarreal side fighting relegation in Spain to at least record its first point in this season’s Champions League against Napoli.
“We need to improve upon what we’ve achieved already,” City playmaker David Silva said.
City is cruising in the Premier League but manager Roberto Mancini, just as he did at Inter Milan, has so far been unable to translate that domestic form into Champions League success.
A 1-1 home draw against Napoli in September, a 2-0 loss at Bayern the same month and a 2-1 loss at Napoli last month mean that even victory over four-time European champion Bayern at Etihad Stadium might not be enough to take City through.