Munich: Roberto Mancini's Manchester City side are learning the hard way that Europe's elite club competition is a whole new level after a double from Mario Gomez gave Bayern Munich a 2-0 win at the Allianz Arena in a Champions League group encounter on Tuesday night.
The German striker scored twice within the last eight minutes of the first half to stun City who had competed in the early stages of a contest which Jupp Heynckes's side controlled once they were in front.
Four-time European champions, Bayern had won their previous nine games in a row conceding zero goals in the process, and it showed as the English FA Cup winners had no real answer to the questions being asked of them.
City, in their first Champions League campaign, slip to third in Group A still looking for their first win in the competition.
The early period of the first half was an example of back and forth sparring from both sides. Mancini's side had the better of the early exchanges and within three minutes City could have been awarded a penalty after a clumsy challenge from former City defender Jerome Boateng felled David Silva close to the by-line. The Hungarian officials were not moved and the Spaniard didn't reinforce the claim with much protestations.
City continued to edge the even battle when a run from Micah Richards setup Edin Dzeko, whose recent form deserted him as his shot was direct at Manuel Neuer between the Bayern posts.
A free-kick from Yaya Toure tested Neuer from 30 yards but the opening was still to come as neither side could find a way through the stout defending on show.
The Munich fans were growing restless as a lack of chances is not what they're used to and the collective mood was not improved when a Toni Kroos shot sailed high over Joe Hart when he could have passed to Gomez or Franck Ribery.
Bayern were now improving by the minute and Bastian Schweinsteiger could have opened the scoring on two occasions, the first was a result of nifty work with Ribery which ended unluckily and the second was a simple horrendous miss. Bayern caught City in possession and quick as a flash, Thomas Muller's efforts allowed him to stroke the ball to Schweinsteiger who, from seven yards, spooned it.
Such a miss from an experienced international was shocking and Heynckes on the Bayern bench was livid with what he was witnessing.
His mood improved within sixty seconds when Bayern finally opened the scoring after Ribery's long-range shot was well-saved by Joe Hart, only to see Muller pounce on the rebound, but Hart was up to the challenge and an excellent reflex save denied Muller; but that's where Hart's luck ran out. Gomez smashed the ball home on the second rebound and Bayern took a deserved lead after controlling the latter part of the half.
With Hart screaming at his errant defence, he was under the cosh almost immediately again when more poor City defending allowed Gomez to drift to the near post from a Muller free kick and head the second goal of the game. Television replays showed that Gomez was offside but the goal stood and Mancini's men were learning the hard way what the Champions League was all about.
Once the second half begun it appeared that City had run out of ideas. The team which put five past Tottenham and were still unbeaten in domestic football were not in attendance and some interesting substitutions from Mancini further reduced the chances of a comeback. After 55 minutes the effective Edin Dzeko was replaced by Nigel de Jong and the Bosnian was furious to be removed from action. He made sure that his manager was aware of this as dissention was rife on the City bench with Carlos Tevez joining in the arguments.
With Tevez on the bench the decision to bring on Alexsander Kolarov and James Milner was an odd move, as City were searching for a way back into the game.
After two games City have one point and qualification for the next stage is looking a bigger task than many thought it would be.
In the other match in the group, Napoli's "Three Tenors" proved too much to handle in a 2-0 win over Villarreal that marked the Italian club's first home game in Europe's top competition since the heydays of Diego Maradona.
Marek Hamsik scored for Napoli in the 14th minute and Edinson Cavani doubled the lead with a penalty three minutes later as the southern club's long-suffering fans went wild inside the San Paolo stadium.
Ezequiel Lavezzi played a part in both goals, using a perfect cross to set up Hamsik with only the goalkeeper to beat, then drawing the penalty when Gonzalo Rodriguez resorted to tripping the Argentina forward.
Known as the "Three Tenors," Hamsik, Lavezzi and Cavani have been at the center of Napoli's recent success, combining for 43 goals as the club finished third in Serie A last season.
Nine days ago, Cavani scored a hat-trick in a 3-1 win over Italian champion AC Milan.
Having drawn 1-1 at big-spending Manchester City in their Champions League debut, Napoli now have four points in the difficult Group A, while Villarreal still have zero after also losing to Bayern Munich in their opener.
Bayern leads the group with a full six points, leaving the English side with one point.
Napoli last played in the old European Cup after Maradona led the club to Italian titles in 1987 and 1990.
The victory also gave Napoli a measure of revenge over their Spanish opponents, since Villarreal eliminated Napoli from the Europa League last season in the round-of-32.
Napoli host Bayern in the next round of matches on October 18 and Villarreal play at City.