Champions League Preview: Man City face tough Madrid test as Juventus can qualify with a convincing win over Lyon

The Champions League, which fans around the world have been eagerly anticipating is finally here as we see the first wave of matches played tonight in England and Italy.

Manchester City are almost through to the last eight of the competition after managing to cruise through a 2-1 away victory at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg and would look to extend the advantage on home soil tonight.

Real Madrid would have to do more than just the ordinary if they hope to upstage City and qualify for the quarter-final stage of the UEFA Champions League this season.

Team news

Manchester City

Manchester City‘s record goalscorer, Sergio Kun Aguero, is unavailable for the match tonight at the Eithad as the Argentinian is yet to fully recover from knee surgery. He, however, could make a return for the latter stages of the competition should City progress to the last-eight.

Pep Guardiola would also need to find a better replacement for Benjamin Mendy who is suspended. Also, goalkeeper number two, Claudio Bravo, cannot feature as he’s out with a muscular problem that has kept him out of the squad in recent weeks.

City cannot patrol new signings Nathan Ake and Ferran Torres as well.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid faces a tough test after losing the previous encounter in Spain and would need all the firepower they can muster to stand a chance to progress from tonight’s fixture in England.

The captain of the side, Sergio Ramos, cannot feature as he’s serving a suspension while Gareth Bale has been left out of the squad to play City. Bale is not injured but has been omitted from the 24-man squad.

Manager of the side, Zinedine Zidane, confirmed that Bale was not included because the forward insisted he does not want to play.

His words: “It was a personal conversation I had with him. He preferred not to play. The rest remains between me and him but he said he didn’t want to.”

The boss also confirmed that former Chelsea playmaker, Eden Hazard, who had missed the majority of the season due to recurring injuries was fit to feature after overcoming an ankle problem.

Mariano Diaz, who tested positive for COVID-19 will also not feature while James Rodriguez was also omitted from the travelling party.

Prediction: Manchester City 2 – 2 Real Madrid

Stats and facts heading into the match (Backed by Opta)

  • This is the third Champions League meeting between Manchester City and Real Madrid at the Etihad; the previous two ended as draws (1-1 in 2012-13 group stage, 0-0 in 2015-16 semi-final first leg).
  • Real Madrid have won five of their 11 away Champions League games in England (W5 D3 L3), beating four different teams (Man Utd, Leeds United, Liverpool and Spurs). The only two teams to win away at five different English teams in the Champions League are Bayern Munich (5) and Barcelona (7).
  • In major UEFA European competition, Manchester City have progressed from all seven of their previous knockout ties when winning the first leg away from home.
  • Real Madrid are looking to overturn a first-leg deficit in a Champions League knockout tie for the first time since the 2015-16 quarter-final against Wolfsburg, progressing from that tie (0-2 first leg, 3-0 second leg). They have never overturned a deficit after losing the first leg at home in four previous instances.
  • Man City manager Pep Guardiola has won 28 Champions League knockout matches, more than any other manager in the competition’s history. Guardiola is looking to become the third manager to eliminate Real Madrid in the knockout stage more than once, along with Marcello Lippi (1995-96, 2002-03) and Ottmar Hitzfeld (2000-01, 2006-07).
  • This is the third Champions League meeting between Manchester City and Real Madrid at the Etihad; the previous two ended as draws (1-1 in 2012-13 group stage, 0-0 in 2015-16 semi-final first leg).
  • Real Madrid have won five of their 11 away Champions League games in England (W5 D3 L3), beating four different teams (Man Utd, Leeds United, Liverpool and Spurs). The only two teams to win away at five different English teams in the Champions League are Bayern Munich (5) and Barcelona (7).
  • In major UEFA European competition, Manchester City have progressed from all seven of their previous knockout ties when winning the first leg away from home.
  • Real Madrid are looking to overturn a first-leg deficit in a Champions League knockout tie for the first time since the 2015-16 quarter-final against Wolfsburg, progressing from that tie (0-2 first leg, 3-0 second leg). They have never overturned a deficit after losing the first leg at home in four previous instances.
  • Man City manager Pep Guardiola has won 28 Champions League knockout matches, more than any other manager in the competition’s history. Guardiola is looking to become the third manager to eliminate Real Madrid in the knockout stage more than once, along with Marcello Lippi (1995-96, 2002-03) and Ottmar Hitzfeld (2000-01, 2006-07).

Juventus need two unreplied goals to qualify against Lyon

Whichever team makes it through from the match between Manchester City and Real Madrid would go on to play the team that qualifies from the match between Juventus and Lyon as well.

However, Lyon is the team in the driving seat. The French side only needs to shore up and not concede any goal at all to qualify, or try to find the security away goal and not concede more than 2 goals to qualify.

Juventus, on the other hand, cannot afford not to qualify as time is running out on their chance to win the Champions League for which Cristiano Ronaldo was brought into the side.

Juventus entertain Lyon in Champions League round of 16 return leg tie

Ronaldo, who didn’t feature in the final game of the Serie A season is well-rested and would lead his team in a bid to overturn the 0-1 deficit they suffered at the hands of Lyon in France.

Ronaldo scored a hat-trick to ensure Juventus overturned a 2-0 first-leg deficit to beat Atletico Madrid in the last 16 last season and all rests on his shoulder once again as they entertain Lyon tonight.

Juventus team news

Juventus faces a tough test as Argentine forward, Paulo Dybala, is a major doubt for the match after he missed the final two games of the Serie A season with a thigh injury.

Mattia De Sciglio and Douglas Costa will also miss the encounter for the Serie A winners.

Lyon team news

Lyon head coach Rudi Garcia would look for a replacement for Youssouf Kone, while Marcelo and Kenny Tete look very unlikely to make the matchday squad.

Memphis Depay, who has missed the majority of the campaign with a cruciate injury, however, could feature after he returned for the Coupe de la Ligue final against PSG. He is expected to start tonight’s game.

Prediction: Juventus 3 – 1 Lyon

Stats and facts heading into the match (Backed by Opta)

  • Juventus are unbeaten in their two home European games against Lyon (W1 D1), winning 2-1 in the Europa League in April 2014 and drawing 1-1 in the Champions League in November 2016.
  • Lyon have lost four of their last five away UEFA European matches in Italy (D1 L4) since winning 2-1 at Fiorentina in the Champions League in November 2008.
  • Juventus have lost two of their last three home Champions League knockout games (W1), losing to Real Madrid in April 2018 and Ajax in April 2019.
  • In the knockout stage, Lyon are winless in their last 10 away games (D2 L8), failing to score in six of those games. Their last away knockout win was in February 2006 against PSV.
  • After losing the first leg of a Champions League knockout match, Juventus have progressed from five of their 11 previous ties, including the most recent occasion it occurred against Atlético Madrid in the Last 16 last season (0-2 first leg, 3-0 second leg).
  • Lyon have lost in the second leg of nine of their last 10 Champions League knockout ties (D1 L9), scoring just five goals and conceding 25 across those 10 games.
  • Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 18 goals in his last 12 home Champions League knockout matches, with this run including four hat-tricks, including one in the second leg of last season’s Last 16 match with Atlético Madrid.
  • Lyon’s 1-0 win in the first leg was only Rudi Garcia’s sixth win in 29 Champions League matches (W6 D9 L14) – among the previous 54 managers to manage 30+ games, only two have won six or fewer in their first 30 games: Walter Smith (5) and Dusan Bajevic (6).
  • Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri suffered his first UEFA European defeat in 23 matches in their first leg defeat to Lyon, ending a run of 22 games without defeat. He hasn’t lost at home in European competition since February 2018 when his Napoli side lost 3-1 to RB Leipzig in the Europa League and is 10 games unbeaten at home (W9 D1).
  • Since the start of last season, only Memphis Depay (10) has been involved in more Champions League goals for Lyon than 22-year old Houssem Aouar (7 – 1 goals and 6 assists); indeed, the Frenchman has as many assists as Lionel Messi in the competition during this period (6).
Photo of author

About The Author

Sidomex

Leave a Comment

Sidomex-Entertainment

SidomexEntertainment is your one-stop-shop for news, entertainment, fashion, music, sports and lifestyle. We provide you with the latest breaking news and videos straight from the entertainment industry.

Follow Us