We cannot prove for certain that the Champions League match between FC Bayern and Manchester City was criminalised because we are not able to access the particular betting market where any insider trading from the Bavarian club surfaces.
But, structurally, there are numerous reasons to be fearful...
1) The holistic match structure was very similar to the two equally suspicious matches featuring Germany and Sweden in the World Cup 2014 Qualifiers (Germany threw away a four goal lead in half an hour with the first match ending 4-4 while coming back from 2-0 down to win 5-3 in the second). Eight of the players involved in this latter game emanate from FC Bayern.
2) FC Bayern threw away a 2-0 lead last night to lose 2-3. If Manchester City had scored a fourth goal, they would have been top of the group and seeded going into the 2nd Phase giving them an easier match and route.
3) FC Bayern were unbeaten for 40 games having won 37 of them prior to yesterday. They had only let three goals in in their unbeaten run of 10 Champions League games before letting in three in around 30 minutes last night. They had won 7-0 away at the weekend and Manchester City were available at up to 250/1 at 0-2 behind.
4) FC Bayern did not have one shot on target in the second half apart from a 40 yarder down the centre of the goal from Shaqiri. At 2-3 down, Guardiola substituted top scorer Mandzukic and replaced him with the Swiss player who was returning after a long injury lay off. Why would you do that thing?
5) Even at half time, suspicions were aroused both in our trading room and in the Sky studio.
Graeme Souness: "Bayern Munich are going through the motions."
Martin Tyler: "It has been a strange first half."
Niall Quinn: "... strange kind of flow to the game. Bayern took their foot off the pedal."
Glen Hoddle: "Its been a strange kind of game."
6) All market analysts that we have spoken with this morning (both in Europe and Asia) reckon that the match was fixed.
7) Why did Pellegrini not go for the 4th goal that would have given City top place (there is a vast discrepancy between the winners and 2nd place teams this season). He didn't bring on arguably the best forward in the Premier League, Sergio Aguero, and substituted Edin Dzeko later in the game, replacing him with a holding midfielder, Jack Rodwell. Why would you do these things?
8) Recently, we undertook a leech consultancy with an individual at FC Bayern and these types of match structures featured very prominently in our analyses. For it would appear that FC Bayern did not wish to equalise while Manchester City didn't want to win 4-2 and finish top of the group.
But we can't prove anything on this particular match...
... it is simply very very suspicious.
But the Germans had quite a night all in all.
In Athens, Wolfgang Stark was refereeing his last ever Champions League game with the match between Olympiacos and Anderlecht.
Herr Stark gave three penalties to the Greeks and sent off three Belgian players.
John van den Brom, the Anderlecht manager had this to say:
"Let us start at the beginning - it was soon clear to me that we could not win this match," he said.
"Were all the decisions of this man [the referee] wrong? Yes.
"I also hear that it was the last Champions League match of the
referee. Well, then I'm happy for the other teams in the Champions
League. This was just outrageous."
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