Manchester City look to avoid round of 16 slip up against Schalke


Manchester City host Schalke 04 on Tuesday evening in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg.

City go into the game 3-2 up on aggregate but if they weren’t aware before, they certainly came away from the first leg knowing that Schalke are a strong side, stronger than their Bundesliga position reflects. Schalke were close to causing an upset in the first leg, leading 2-1 with five minutes remaining. However, City, who at this point were down to ten men due to Nicolas Otamendi receiving a red card in the 68th minute, fought back with a stunning free kick from former Schalke man Leroy Sane and a 90th minute goal from the in-form Raheem Sterling.

City’s late revival and three away goals means that Schalke will need to score at least two goals to progress to the quarter-finals. City have only conceded two goals or more in four matches at the Etihad since Pep Guardiola took over as manager at the start of the 2016/17 season and have only not scored once at home during this time, a 0-0 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers in the League Cup round of 16 in October 2017.

The two sides form going into the game couldn’t be more dissimilar. City have won all four of their games since the sides met in the first leg, whereas Schalke have lost all three of their games, which includes a 4-0 hammering at home to Fortuna Dusseldorf.

Guardiola believes that anything is still possible and has stressed that his players needs to be on guard against the German side:

“I prefer this score than the one at Anfield when we were 3-0 down!”

It’s 90 minutes hard work ahead and we still we have a job to do. We must make incredible efforts in epic salutations to go through.

In the first leg, we had Nico sent off, one goal in first few minutes… anything can happen in this competition. These kinds of situations take a lot of influence to control.

We’ve had good results away in the Champions League. Here in the past, there are problems but, in this competition, every game is different. It is something special.

We must play the perfect game and do what we need to do to go through. We still have a job to do.”

Schalke manager Domenico Tedesco has made it clear that the Royal Blues will not just simply roll over and they’ll have to play even better than in the first leg:

“We have to come here to try and take the small chance we have of winning.

We have to play even better this time and need a really special day! If we concede a goal or two then it will be so difficult.”

Team news

Manchester City: Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi are both suspended for the second leg. Benjamin Mendy (knee) and Kevin De Bruyne (hamstring) both missed training ahead of the game and remain unlikely to feature. Captain Vincent Kompany also missed training ahead of the game which means that John Stones, who has been out with a groin injury, may need to slot straight back into the starting 11.

Schalke: Daniel Caligiuri picked up a leg injury last week and will not travel to Manchester. Mark Uth and Amine Harit were left out of the sides 4-2 loss to Werder Bremen at the weekend and look set to miss out again on Tuesday night.


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