There is everything to play for in the second leg of the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday evening when Manchester City welcome Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium.
The first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu ended 1-1 last week, with Kevin de Bruyne’s thunderbolt cancelling Vinicius Jr’s first-half opener. The tie hangs in the balance ahead of the return leg.
Having held an in-form Man City side at home, Real Madrid edged past Getafe 1-0 in La Liga to keep their faint hope of retaining the title. Carlo Ancelotti’s side trail Barcelona by 11 points with four games to go.
On the other hand, City lead Arsenal by a point in the Premier League standings with a game in hand. They travel to Goodison Park on Sunday to face relegation-threatened Everton, as Pep Guardiola’s side looks to extend the lead to four points before Arsenal host Brighton later that day.
Manchester City vs Real Madrid – Team News
Nathan Ake missed the trip to Real Madrid for the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals with a hamstring problem. Pep Guardiola confirmed in his pre-match presser against Everton that Ake is feeling much better and will be assessed ahead of Sunday’s Premier League game. So, the Dutch defender has a great chance to be fully fit for the return leg against Real Madrid.
Real Madrid received a big scare on Saturday when Eduardo Camavinga was forced off the pitch in the 84th minute against Getafe. However, Carlo Ancelotti quelled the concern by claiming that Camavinga has just a knock and that he will be fit to face City in the coming week.
Ancelotti made eight changes to his starting XI in the 1-0 win over Getafe to keep his squad fresh for the second leg at Man City. Marco Asensio scored the winner in the 70th minute in a disjointed Los Blancos’ performance.
Manchester City vs Real Madrid – Predicted Lineups
Manchester City predicted lineup (3-2-4-1): Ederson; Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji; Rodri, John Stones; Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, Jack Grealish; Erling Haaland
Real Madrid predicted lineup (4-3-3): Thibaut Courtois; Dani Carvajal, Antonio Rudiger, David Alaba, Eduardo Camavinga; Federico Valverde, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric; Vinicius Jr, Karim Benzema, Rodrygo
Manchester City vs Real Madrid – Key Players
Manchester City—Kevin de Bruyne
Kevin de Bruyne scored a belter past Thibaut Courtois in the first leg to level things up for Man City and set up a thrilling return leg at the Etihad Stadium. The Belgian will once again pull the strings in midfield, and if Real Madrid allow him time and space on the ball, the playmaker could cause chaos in the final third with his vision and incisive passing.
Real Madrid—Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema is undoubtedly the man for the big occasion for Real Madrid. The Frenchman usually turns up and delivers the goods on Champions League nights. He has four goals in nine Champions League outings so far this season. Real Madrid will hope Benzema is at his lethal best come Wednesday.
Prediction: Manchester City 2-3 Real Madrid
I am Rohan Sengupta from one of the busiest cities in India, Mumbai. A Journalism graduate with a keen interest in sports, football is something I simply cannot live without and writing, discussing and analyzing the game is what I do 24*7.