City are now well established as English title challengers, and of course won the Barclays Premier League in 2012, but their reputation in Europe lags well behind.
The successive group stage exits in the past two seasons proved damaging, despite his other successes, for former manager Roberto Mancini, who was replaced by Manuel Pellegrini in the summer.
Pellegrini boasts good Champions League pedigree having taken Malaga within moments of a semi-final place last season and previously reaching the last four with Villarreal.
Qualifying for the knockout stages for the first time will be the very least of City's expectations.
Pellegrini has the advantage of a much kinder draw than Mancini was handed in either of his two campaigns.
Facing champions Bayern Munich will obviously be a tough test but it will be disappointing if City fail to progress from a group that also includes Viktoria Plzen and CSKA Moscow.
Mancini faced Bayern and Napoli in 2011-12 while the task last season was even tougher, with City joining Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Ajax in a group comprised of domestic champions.
The Group D campaign begins on Tuesday as City travel to the Czech Republic to face the minnows of Plzen.
It comes early in a busy three-week period for City that also includes the visit of Bayern, tricky games against Manchester United and Everton and a Capital One Cup tie.
Pellegrini said: "I think it is a big test for all the big clubs who are playing the Champions League or the Europa League.
"We have seven games in 21 days before the international break in October, after the same thing October-November and the same thing November-December.
"That is why we have the squad with 22 players because we have an important amount of games. We will try to do our best performance in each."
Plzen, the Czech champions, are making just their second appearance in the Champions League and had to come through three qualifying rounds to secure their place.
They play at one of the smaller grounds on the European circuit in the 11,700-capacity Doosan Arena on the edge of the city, just over 50 miles west of capital Prague. The city is better known as the home of pilsner than for its football.
Unlike City's multi-national squad, Plzen's roster is almost entirely Czech, aside from four Slovakians and a Bosnian.
City are hoping captain Vincent Kompany, who suffered a groin injury in the opening game of the season, might be fit to make the trip.
"We will see how he develops in the next days but maybe he can be," Pellegrini said.