PREVIEW: City vs Real Madrid

Robert Pollard

Manchester City vs Real Madrid – Wednesday 21st November, 7.45pm. Etihad Stadium, Manchester.

Tickets Sold Out

Previous Group D Result Real Madrid 3-2 City

Team News

City – Gael Clichy misses the match with an ankle injury, while Mario Balotelli (back) is also a doubt. Micah Richards continues to be sidelined with a knee injury. James Milner is back in contention after his hamstring strain.

Real – Sami Khedira returns from injury to partner the brilliant Xabi Alonso in midfield. Benzema, who returned to the starting line up at the weekend, scoring one and assisting one, is likely to continue his comeback tonight. Michael Essien and forward Alvaro Morata are sidelined.

Weekend result
Saturday: Madrid 5-1 Athletic Club (Aurtenetxe og 12, Ramos 30, Benzema 32, Özil 56, Khedira 72; Ibai Gómez 42)
Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrão; Alonso, Modrić, Callejón (Dí María 70), Özil (Khedira 62), Ronaldo; Benzema (Morata 74).


City must win both their final games, at home to Madrid and away in Dortmund, to have any chance of qualifying for the knock-out stage.

Kompany and Touré’s next yellow cards will incur bans.

City failed to reach the knockout phase last season despite collecting ten points in the group stage, matching the record for the highest points haul without advancing. SV Werder Bremen (2006/07), Olympiacos FC, FC Dynamo Kyiv (2004/05) and PSV Eindhoven (2003/04) all suffered an identical fate.

The English champions have been caught offside 22 times in this season’s Champions League, more than any other club.

After fighting back to draw with Borussia Dortmund and AFC Ajax, City are unbeaten in 19 European home matches since a 1-0 loss to FC Midtjylland in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup second qualifying round.

Real boss Jose Mourinho will become the youngest coach to take charge of 100 Champions League matches on Wednesday and only the fifth manager to reach the milestone after Carlo Ancelotti, Arsene Wenger, Ottmar Hitzfeld and Sir Alex Ferguson.

Madrid’s win at the weekend saw them maintain their unbeaten home record this season and earned them their fifth consecutive top-flight win.

Iker Casillas made his 126th UEFA Champions League outing, group stage to final, on matchday four, taking him third on his own in the all-time appearance list. Raúl González (142) leads the way, with Ryan Giggs (131) second.

Casillas, Pepe, Xabi Alonso and Ronaldo have played all 360 minutes of Madrid’s group stage campaign so far.

Press Conferences

Roberto Mancini acknowledged in his press conference the difficult task City face in order to qualify from Group D. You can see the full interview via the video below, and there’s also a Carlos Tevez interview (via an interpreter, of course).

Maybe it takes pressure off [that we’re outsiders to progress], but when you’re obliged to win and you play an important game like this in the Champions League there’s always pressure. We don’t have much chance to go through but it’s important to put in a good performance. It was a difficult group from the start and now it’s very difficult because of the mistakes we made in the first two games.

When you play Real Madrid, one of the best teams in the world, you want to do a good job, play well and win, and that’s what we’ll be trying to do. I think Cristiano Ronaldo is a factor in every game, as he always has a big impact. Anyone who scores one or two goals a game is an incredible player who we’ll need to watch carefully. There are other players, too, of course.

Jose Mourinho, ever the entertainer in press conferences, turned the heat up on City by saying they will definitely be eliminated from the group, despite it being mathematically possible for us to progress.

I always said how much I loved my time here and I always love to be back. I know when you play in England you have difficult matches, difficult opponents and a difficult atmosphere, because the crowd are always strongly behind the team. I enjoy that and I think my players are also happy to play in England.

I think it is normal if a big team doesn’t win the competition because there are other teams with the same power, the same desire and the same responsibility. I don’t think it is normal when you are out of the competition at a very early stage. I speak for myself, and if Real Madrid lost a final, or a semi-final, or even a quarter-final, that’s football. But when you are out at the group stage it is more difficult to accept and to understand. Last season they were out [at this stage] and this season I think they will be out again.

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