Man City host Real Madrid at the Etihad on Wednesday night with a place in the UEFA Champions League final against Inter Milan up for grabs. Pep Guardiola has not won this trophy since 2012 whilst Carlo Ancelotti is chasing his fifth crown in Europe’s Premier club competition. The first leg ended 1-1 last Tuesday in a fiercely fought contest.
Man City Form
City couldn’t come into this game in any better form. Since losing to Tottenham in early February, they’ve gone 22 matches unbeaten in all competitions. In the league, they’re one win from retaining the title having won 11 successive matches. They beat Arsenal 4-1 at home in late April to take control of the title race.
Three more league wins followed, all of them seeing Man City play within themselves to conserve energy. After beating Leeds 2-1, they fought hard to draw 1-1 away to Real Madrid a week ago in the first leg. Kevin De Bruyne’s second-half goal came at 1-0 down. In a potential banana skin on Sunday, they made light work of Everton in a 3-0 victory at Goodison Park.
Man City Team News
Nathan Ake is the only injury concern for this match. Pep Guardiola rested Jack Grealish, Bernardo Silva, John Stones, and Kevin De Bruyne against Everton and all will return for this one. In the first leg, City made no substitutions and it could be the same XI for this one.
Bernardo Silva is set to play down the right wing in preference to Riyad Mahrez. Manuel Akanji will play as the left-back. Phil Foden will have to settle for a place on the bench, as will defender Aymeric Laporte.
Man City Motivation
This match is like a final. City will give everything to progress from this tie. With the league title nearly wrapped up, they can focus 100% on this competition.
They will attack but also set up to stop counters, likely with at least one inverted fullback used. As in the first leg, Guardiola may be quite cagey. He knows the counter-attacking threat of Real Madrid and will set his side up to not be too open.
Real Madrid Form
Los Blancos have taken their eye off the ball in La Liga of late. The title has been gone for a couple of months and their attention has moved to European conquests. Carlo Ancelotti’s side have lost four of their last nine matches in the league. They reached this stage by beating two English teams in the knockout stages – a 6-2 aggregate win against Liverpool and a 4-0 aggregate win over Chelsea.
After losing 2-0 away to Real Sociedad, they beat Osasuna 2-1 in the Copa del Rey final. In the first leg last Tuesday, they led 1-0 through a Vinicus Jr. wonder strike in the first half but they conceded a second-half equaliser. Over the weekend, they made eight changes in a 1-0 home victory against Getafe.
Real Madrid Team News
Carlo Ancelotti had Ferland Mendy back for their weekend match but he won’t start this one. According to the coach, all of Karim Benzema, Rodrygo, and David Alaba took knocks in the first leg and could be slight doubts to face City. Numerous players were rested vs Getafe and will be fully fresh.
Eder Militao is back from suspension and is pushing Antonio Rudiger for his spot, despite the latter shackling Erling Haaland well in the Bernabeu. Eduardo Camavinga took a knock in the win against Getafe but he should be fit to start at left-back. If everyone is fit, at least 10 of the players from the first leg will start.
Real Madrid Motivation
This competition has been Madrid’s main focus for several weeks. All attention is on trying to retain their crown.
They will be a bit more circumspect than in the reverse fixture as they won’t want to fall behind at the Etihad. Real will play to win in 90 minutes but may have prepared themselves for extra time.
Man City have drawn 5 of their last 8 matches (UEFA Champions League)
Man City have won their last 2 UCL home matches vs Real (4-3 and 2-1)
Man City’s Erling Haaland has scored 12 goals in the UCL this season
Real Madrid have won their last 3 matches in England (UEFA Champions League)
Real Madrid have lost 1 of their last 13 Champions League matches
This match is set to be very tight. Extra time may be needed to find a winner. Both sides should score in the 90 minutes.