Borussia M nchengladbach
Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Tuesday 8th November 2015, 1945 GMT
Manchester City host an in-form Borussia M nchengladbach on Tuesday evening at the Etihad Stadium having already qualified for the knock-out stages of the UEFA Champions League, but looking to bounce back from a humiliating defeat to Stoke City on Saturday
Manchester City are the only English team to have confirmed their passage through to the Round of 16 of this season’s UEFA Champions League, but having paid the price for finishing second in their group in recent years, the Citizens will be aiming to give themselves the best possible chance of topping the group.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men currently lie second in Group D with nine points, two behind leaders Juventus, and only a defeat for the Italian side and a win for City will see a reversal in the top two positions in the group.
Meanwhile, Gladbach will travel to the Etihad hoping to continue their extraordinary run of form that has seen them win 8 and draw 4 of their last 12 games in all competitions. A place in the Europa League is at stake for Die Fohlen, and having beaten Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich on Saturday, Andr Schubert’s men will be looking to get a positive result on Tuesday to continue their European adventure.
Team news and Tactics
Manuel Pellegrini’s men have had a strange season thus far, looking like Premier League champions on some occasions, and anything but on others. The Chilean was at a loss to explain the abject performance of his side in the 2-0 defeat to Stoke City at the Britannia on Saturday, and it appears as though the absence of captain Vincent Kompany in the City defence is being keenly felt.
Unfortunately for Manchester City, Kompany has been ruled out for Tuesday’s clash as he continues to recover from a calf injury. The Premier League title favourites will also be without Mart n Demichelis (tendon), Fernando (hamstring), Samir Nasri (leg), Pablo Zabaleta (knee) and quite possibly star striker Sergio AgA?ero, who continues to recover from what Pellegrini describes as a ‘pain injury’ to his foot.
City are unlikely to deviate from their 4-2-3-1 formation, and although they have already qualified, Pellegrini will be trying to ensure they win their final group game to give themselves an opportunity of winning the group. As such, the attacking trio of Raheem Sterling, De Bruyne and Silva could well continue their partnership behind the striker for the Etihad outfit.
Wilfried Bony is expected to lead the line in AgA?ero’s absence, and the Ivorian’s physicality could pose a real challenge to the predominantly young and relatively inexperienced Gladbach defence, which will likely include two 19-year-olds in Nico Elvedi and Chelsea FC loanee Andreas Christensen.
Possible starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Hart (C); Sagna, Mangala, Otamendi, Kolarov; Delph, Fernandinho; De Bruyne, Silva, Sterling; Bony
Borussia M nchengladbach
There are no new injuries for the German side, although interim manager Andr Schubert will still be without the likes of A?lvaro Dom nguez (back), Martin Stranzl (eye socket), Nico Schulz (knee), Patrick Herrmann (knee), Andr Hahn (shin) and Ibrahima Traor (thigh).
Gladbach could stick with the 5-4-1 formation used against Bayern Munich, which effectively becomes a 3-5-2 or a 3-4-3 during attacking transitions. United States international Fabian Johnson is going through a purple patch at the moment, and will likely start on the left of the attack, with the talismanic Raffael starting on the right and Lard Stindl spearheading the attack through the centre.
Die Folhen were superb against Manchester City in their previous Group D meeting, and the speed of their attacking transitions gave Pellegrini’s men real problems in a defensive sense. Schubert’s plan will most probably be to remain compact in defence, and catch City on the break with fast counter-attacks initiated by the likes of Granit Xhaka and Mahmoud Dahoud from central midfield.
Xhaka — used as a defensive midfielder by Gladbach — will have to be wary of Spaniard David Silva, who is a master of popping up in dangerous positions in the final third to feed the likes of Raheem Sterling and Wilfried Bony, as also Kevin De Bruyne, who has similar strengths and also possesses a ferocious shot.
Possible starting line-up (3-4-3): . Sommer; Elvedi, Christensen, Nordtveit; Korb, Dahoud, Xhaka (C), Wendt; Raffael, Stindl, Johnson
- Borussia M nchengladbach are on a 12-game unbeaten run stretching back to the end of September, when they lost to Tuesday’s opponents Manchester City.
- Manchester City have qualified for the competition’s knock-out stages for the third consecutive time, having failed to do so prior to that on any occasion in the club’s history
- Borussia M nchengladbach are yet to score away from home in the Champions League this season.
- Manchester City striker Sergio AgA?ero has scored last-gasp winners in his last two games against Bundesliga opposition, including against Gladbach in September this year.
- Borussia M nchengladbach have won just one European game on English soil — that victory coming in the 1996/97 UEFA Cup first-round against Arsenal FC
Player to watch
Fabian Johnson (Borussia M nchengladbach)
The United States international has been in sensational goalscoring form of late, with 4 goals in his last 3 games, including an outstanding curling effort against Sevilla in Die Fohlen’s last Champions League outing.
Johnson will likely feature on the left side of the Bundesliga team’s attack, and will look to cut in and test Joe Hart at every opportunity. The 27-year-old has also been excellent in terms of his off-the-ball movement for Gladbach, as evidenced by his opening goal against Hoffenheim, and Manchester City will have to remain compact at the back to prevent through balls to Johnson from the likes of Dahoud or Xhaka.
Manchester City 1 – 1 Borussia M nchengladbach
Manchester City have already qualified for the knock-out stages of the competition, and are thus not likely to be as motivated as the German side, who have a place in the Europa League at stake. There is an obvious difference in the individual quality of the two sides, but Schubert’s men have been in outstanding form of late and should have enough to get a result at the Etihad on Tuesday.
Blast from the past