- All is still to play for at the Etihad on Tuesday night as Manchester City host RB Leipzig in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 bout.
- The visitors are dealing with a number of selection issues, however, with Christopher Nkunku a major doubt ahead of the matchup.
- City continue in their hunt for Champions League glory here and are favourites to get past Leipzig at home.
Pep Guardiola is expected to have a fully fit squad to choose from for the return leg, with Kevin De Bruyne set to return to the lineup. The Belgian failed to make the squad for the first leg and started on the bench at the weekend against Crystal Palace but he is expected to start on Tuesday.
John Stones returned to the lineup against Palace to make his first appearance for the first time since January and so he will be in the squad for this one. However, Kyle Walker is likely to return to the lineup after starting on the bench at the weekend.
On the flip side, visitors Leipzig come into this one with a host of selection issues. Starting goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi remains out as he continues his recovery from a serious knee injury, with Janis Blaswich set to continue in goal.
Christopher Nkunku made his return last month away to Wolfsburg but is now a doubt for the second leg after picking up another injury away to Borussia Dortmund. There is still hope that the Frenchman could feature here but he is far from full fitness.
Midfielder Xaver Schlager is not expected to feature after he missed out at the weekend in Leipzig’s 3-0 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach. Amadou Haidara and Konrad Laimer are therefore expected to start in the middle of midfield.
Dani Olmo returned to the squad at the weekend, however, in a boost for the German side. He made his first appearance since the end of January but will likely start from the bench on Tuesday.
Champions League Form
After Riyad Mahrez gave City a 1-0 lead at the Red Bull Arena in the first leg, Josko Gvardiol scored an imperative equaliser with 20 minutes to go to level the scores. That goal gives Leipzig much more hope ahead of the second leg but they are up against it as they head to the Etihad.
City are still desperate for their maiden Champions League trophy and have reached at least the final four in each of the last two seasons. The Citizens certainly seem to be getting closer but they couldn’t get past Real Madrid in the semi-finals last term. That was the last time that City suffered defeat in the Champions League, having gone undefeated in the whole of this year’s European campaign.
The Germans failed to qualify out of a tough group last season but will be envisioning a run to the semi-finals like during the 2019/20 season. Leipzig eventually suffered defeat against Paris Saint-Germain but did defeat Tottenham Hotspur and Atletico Madrid en route to the last four.
UCL 22/23 Key Stats:
Goals For: Man City 15, RB Leipzig 14
Goals Against: Man City 3, RB Leipzig 10
Both Teams To Score %: Man City 42.86%, RB Leipzig 57.14%
Over 2.5 Goals %: Man City 57.14%, RB Leipzig 57.14%
Tuesday’s meeting will cap off a total of four meetings between City and Leipzig, with the head-to-head record level with one win each, whilst the third and most recent meeting ended in a draw.
All three previous matches have seen both teams score and we are set for an enthralling encounter at the Etihad once more. The last match between the two sides in Manchester saw a total of nine goals go in. Although that is unlikely this time around, we could be in line for a thrilling contest.
After consecutive draws away to Nottingham Forest and Leipzig, City have won all four of their fixtures since, also keeping three clean sheets in their last three matches. The Citizens last suffered defeat at home back in November and have since been on a nine-match undefeated run at the Etihad in all competitions.
A 1-0 win away to Palace thanks to an Erling Haaland penalty kept the pressure on Premier League leaders Arsenal but the Gunners responded magnificently in a 3-0 win away to Fulham on Sunday. City remain five points behind Arsenal at the top.
Leipzig were able to establish two home wins against Frankfurt and Mönchengladbach after the first leg draw but also recorded a 2-1 defeat away to Dortmund. Die Roten Bullen currently occupy third place in the Bundesliga and are now seven points behind leaders Bayern Munich.
Things are tight in the top half of the Bundesliga table too and Leipzig are level on points with fourth and fifth-placed Union Berlin and Freiburg. They need a strong second half of the season to secure Champions League football once again next term.
Prediction & Suggested Bets
Man City 3-1 Leipzig @ 10/1 City are favourites to emerge from this tie with a victory and it would be a shock if Leipzig were able to get through with a win, especially since the return leg is at the Etihad. We are backing a comfortable win for Guardiola’s side.
Phil Foden To Score Anytime @ 12/5 Foden has been in excellent form of late and has scored four goals in his last four appearances. Although he was left on the bench against Leipzig for the first leg, the 22-year-old has started all four matches since and looks like a good bet to get on the scoresheet here.
Konrad Laimer To Be Carded @ 15/8 Having been shown five yellow cards in just 12 Bundesliga appearances this term, Laimer looks good value to receive a card here. City are expected to dominate possession and so the midfielder will be susceptible to fouls in this one. He has also committed four fouls in his last three matches.
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