Pep Guardiola speaks
TNT game Catch game. “These 11 are going to play a good game and try to get a good result in the second leg… it’s a fantastic ground… always we play four but different players… we decided to play in this order, nothing special. … If we let them run it’s going to be a fast game … I’ve spent time in Germany and if you lose the ball in certain positions and you’re not well prepared for their changes, they’re unstoppable.
Pennant Watch. Here’s what ILKay Gündoğan hands over to his opposite number Willy Orban tonight. Some of the high-end bumps on display there are as plush as they come. You can soak up an entire spilled can of taurine-based Cardiac Promiser.
How the teams got here. Leipzig secured their place in the knockouts with a 4-0 win at Shakhtar Donetsk on matchday six. Not a bad way to bounce back after beating Shakhtar 4-1 in Germany on the opening night.
City meanwhile eased into a tough group. Should have been Erling Haaland’s late winner against Borussia Dortmund.
Want to recall what happened when the teams met in this competition last season? Of course you do. Here’s how the nine-goal thriller unfolded at the Etihad…
… and this is how the reverse fit went.
RB Leipzig’s star forward Christopher Nkunku recently returned from injury and therefore starts on the bench. Timo Werner, who won this match with Chelsea in 2021, leads the line.
Manchester City made three changes to the starting XI selected for the 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest. Nathan Ake, Manuel Akanji and Riyad Mahrez replace Phil Foden on the bench, while Aymeric Laporte and Kevin De Bruyne stay at home through illness.
RB Leipzig: Blaswich, Klostermann, Orban, Gvardiol, Halstenberg, Laimer, Schlager, Werner, Szoboszlai, Forsberg, Silva.
Subs: Nyland, Nikisch, Simagon, Hydera, Paulsen, Ngungu, Rhum, Heinrichs, Kampl.
City of Manchester: Ederson, Walker, Akanji, Diaz, AK, Rodrigo, Gundogan, Silva, Mahrez, Grealish, Holland.
Subs: Ortega Moreno, Carson, Phillips, Alvarez, Gomez, Peron, Foden, Charles, Palmer, Lewis, Robertson.
Referee: Serdar Gozubuyuk (Netherlands).
Premier League clubs are currently three wickets nil in this season’s Champions League last 16 first legs. AC Milan, Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid have already beaten Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Liverpool respectively; Now Manchester City will see if they can do a little better when they travel to Germany tonight.
City are favorites to progress to the quarter-finals. They strolled through the group stage, while their round-of-16 rivals Leipzig only qualified for the knockout stages on matchday six. But consistency has been elusive of late – easy wins over Aston Villa and Arsenal have been marred by defeat at Tottenham and missed chances abound in the draw with Nottingham Forest – and City lost 2-1 at Leipzig last season.
Leipzig, on the other hand, is not in the rich vein of form. It took just four points from the last nine in the Bundesliga. They need to be there tonight because when they traveled to Manchester for the reverse group match last season, they were thumped 6-3. Much will depend on the performances of Croatia defender Josco Guardiola and former Chelsea striker Timo Werner and whether they can field Christopher Ngungu, who scored a hat-trick at the Etihad in the aforementioned nine-goal thriller.
Kick off is at 8pm GMT, 9pm local. It’s on!