Manchester City are all set to host RB Leipzig in the second of the Round of 16 in their quest for their maiden UEFA Champions League title.
Premier League giants Manchester City will be hosting RB Leipzig in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 on Tuesday night. Pep Guardiola’s men will be eager to put on a better show than they did in the first leg and get the job done. While the visitors will be keen on creating a major upset when they square up against City.
The first leg between the two teams ended in a 1-1 stalemate. They scored in the 27th-minute courtesy of Riyad Mahrez but Leipzig’s highly sought-after Josko Gvardiol managed to level things up in the 70th minute.
With the away goals rule no longer in the picture both teams will look to get the job on the night to progress into the quarter-finals. Pep Guardiola’s team dominated the match but failed to get the desired result.
Manchester City have featured in four matches post the first leg and have managed to come out on the right side of the result on all four occasions. They are in red-hot form and will look to continue it when they meet the team from Germany in the second leg.
Guardiola’s men are heading into this fixture on the back of a 1-0 win against Crystal Palace in the Premier League. While they did manage to get the desired result, it wasn’t their best performance. City were not at their best in the final third and it will have to change if they want to go past Marco Rose’s team.
Meanwhile, Leipzig have featured in three matches since the 1-1 draw against City at home. They managed to win two but failed to get the job done against Borussia Dortmund. They lost 2-1 to Dortmund and took a major blow in their quest for the Bundesliga title.
However, they are heading into this fixture on the back of a 3-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach. It was a clinical performance by the German outfit and they will look to produce something similar against the English giants on Tuesday.
The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at this fixture and tries to predict the tactics the team could deploy in the Round of 16 second leg.
Team News and Tactics
Pep Guardiola has nothing to worry about in terms of injuries or suspensions. It looks like he will have a fully fit squad at his disposal when they host the German club.
Meanwhile, Kevin De Bruyne who was rested in their previous fixture in the league is likely to return to playing XI alongside Kyle Walker and Riyad Mahrez. Guardiola is likely to start with the 4-2-3-1 formation which he has used of late.
Manchester City’s undisputed number-one Ederson will start in goal. The Brazilian will be supported by a back four consisting of Kyle Walker, Manuel Akanji, Ruben Dias, and Nathan Ake. Ake and Walker will start as the full-backs. Expect the latter to be higher up the pitch and involved in the majority of the attacking scenarios.
The midfield will see Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan start in the double-pivot role. They will look to control the pace of the game. And, supply the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Kevin De Bruyne, and Jack Grealish who sit behind their leading marksman Erling Haaland.
Grealish and Mahrez will look to provide the width in attack as well as try to cut inside. While De Bruyne will once again look to find the dangerous Haaland who would love to keep his goal-scoring form going.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ederson; Walker, Akanji, Dias, Ake; Rodri, Gundogan; Mahrez, De Bruyne, Grealish; Haaland
RB Leipzig have a major blow ahead of this all-important fixture as Christopher Nkunku who had recovered from a knee injury ahead of the first leg has picked up a fresh hamstring problem and will miss the trip.
Meanwhile, they will also be without the services of Xaver Schlager, Peter Gulacsi and Abdou Diallo. Gulacsi and Diallo had also missed the first leg.
Marco Rose will surely have a few selection headaches ahead of the fixture given the absence of a few stars. They will start with the 4-2-3-1 formation, with Janis Blaswich in goal. Benjamin Henrichs and David Raum will be the full-backs. And, Willi Orban and Josko Gvardiol will start in the centre of the defence.
Amadou Haidara and Konrad Laimer will once again take charge as the double pivots. They will look to help out the defence. While Dominik Szoboszlai, Emil Forsberg, and Timo Werner will have attacking roles in the centre of the park. Portugal’s Andre Silva will start as the lone frontman.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Blaswich; Henrichs, Orban, Gvardiol, Halstenberg; Laimer, Haidara; Szoboszlai, Forsberg, Werner; Silva
Manchester City and RB Leipzig have squared up against each other on three occasions. Both teams are on an even footing with a win each to their name.
Manchester City have won only one of their last four matches against German opponents in the UEFA Champions League.
RB Leipzig have lost their last three away games against English clubs in the European competition.
Pep Guardiola’s team have won their last nine home games against German opponents in the UEFA Champions League.
Marco Rose’s team are on a five-match unbeaten run in the UEFA Champions League. It is their longest run in the competition since the 2019-20 season.
Player to watch out for
With Mahrez likely to return to their starting eleven after being rested in their last fixture, all eyes will be on him. He found the back of the net in the first leg. And is expected to have a big say in the second leg as well.
The 32-year-old has had a great season so far scoring 12 goals and creating six in his 32 outings. Mahrez has 4 goal involvements in their 7 Champions League fixture. And, Guardiola will surely expect him to get the job done on their home turf.
Manchester City 2-1 RB Leipzig
Manchester City have been in red-hot form of late. They have won each of their last four matches since the 1-1 draw against Leipzig. Expect City to carry the momentum into this fixture and get the job done.
Meanwhile, Leipzig who had a 3-0 win last time around in the league will try their best to create an upset away from home. But, it looks unlikely given the strength of City’s squad and the fact that all their players are available. As a result, The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win in favour of the home team.
- The Hard Tackle