Written By Onyeka Daniel
At the Etihad stadium, Manchester City will welcome RB Leipzig for the second leg of their UCL round of 16 match as they both target a place in the quarter-final of the competition. While it’s hard to say which team was the better side from the first leg as City dominated the first half and rightly took the lead while Leipzig came out in the second half and got the equalizer.
It will be a different ball game entirely as City will be at home and they will also have the presence of Kevin De Bruyne, who was absent in the first leg and his absence was sorely missed and coupled with the red hot form of Phil Foden, it will be tough encounter.
Further boosting their confidence will be a four-game winning streak across all competitions since the first leg in which they amassed ten goals to one along the way. Guardiola said he was “delighted” with the 1-1 draw in Germany and should therefore be bullish about clearing this obstacle, particularly considering his club are on a nine-game winning streak at home to German opponents in UEFA competition, which includes a 6-3 thrashing of Leipzig in the 2021/22 group stage.
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But the German side is a team that plays without fear, no matter the opponent and they showed this in the first leg. A hallmark of their coach, Marco Rose, even from his time as coach of Borussia Dortmund. It is that fearlessness that could guarantee them a chance of getting a favorable result in this game.
After that draw against the Cityzens, they’ve played three games in the German Bundesliga, winning two including their weekend win over Borussia Moechengladbach, a game that they were already 3-0 up in the first half, but they also lost to Borussia Dortmund, a game that their coach said was hard to accept. The referee for the game will be S. Vinci from Slovenia.
Style Of Play
Guardiola has played the 4-2-3-1 formation in the last two games and he will probably stick to this formation for this game. Depending on how the match progresses, it could be tweaked to a 4-3-3 formation to offer a high pressing and also more rooms out wide if the opponent is defending deep. Depending on the opponent, Leipzig coach, Marco Rose has been known to alternate between the 4-2-3-1 formation and the 3-4-3 formation but the attacking intent is always there with a high pressing game that aims to throw their opponent off balance and create a quick turn over of possession.
In their last 20 games played across all competitions, Manchester City have 14 wins, 3 draws and 3 losses. Since that 1-1 draw in the first leg, they’ve been on a four game winning streak and making it a fifth should see them qualify for the next round. Leipzig have the same statistics, 14 wins, 3 draws and 3 losses in the last 20 games.
Head To Head
Apart from the first leg in Germany that ended 1-1 with Leipzig needing a second half equalizer from Josko Gvardiol to salvage a point from the game, both teams have only faced each other twice and it is in the group stage of the UCL in 2021. City won the first leg at home 6-3 before losing the second leg away from home 2-1.
Players To Watch
Kevin De Bruyne missed the first leg through illness but should be back for this encounter and will be the engine room for the Cityzens but he will also be able to count on the likes of Erling Haaland and Phil Foden who has been in fine form lately. With Dani Olmo back after missing the first leg, it will be another option upfront for the German side where they also have the likes of Timo Werner and Emile Forsberg.
Injuries And Suspensions
Leipzig will be without A. Diallo, Christopher Nkunku, P. Gulasci and X. Schlager. For City, they will have every player available except for Benjamin Mendy who is still facing his off the field issues.
With qualification to the next round at stake, City can not afford to make the same mistakes that they made in the first leg, allowing Leipzig back into the game after scoring a goal. Would probably a slim win, but a win nonetheless for the EPL side (2-0)
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