Manchester City look to bounce back from their defeat to Lyon on Matchday one, while a loss against Hoffenheim could lead the English Champions to create an unwanted record.
Manchester City might be leading the Premier League table after seven games, but their Champions League campaign got off to the worst possible start. A rather shocking defeat to Lyon in their opening group stage game at home has already put the Premier League champions under pressure in the competition. A win against Hoffenheim would give them some momentum, and a win is what Pep Guardiola would be demanding from his players.
However, in the case that Manchester City fall for a defeat against Hoffenheim, City would become the first English team ever to lose four Champions League games in a row, having lost both their Quarterfinal legs against Liverpool last season and then the Lyon defeat on matchday one.
Pep Guardiola, however, will be back in the dugout after serving the touchline ban that saw him watch from the stands during his side’s defeat to Lyon.
City’s opponents, Hoffenheim come into this game in bad form. They made it into the Champions League for the first time in their history, courtesy of a third place – their best finish to a Bundesliga season – last term. Their manager, Julian Nagelsmann, will remain cautious over an approach to the Manchester City game, having won just the one time in their previous five games in all competition.
In the first matchday, Hoffenheim drew 2-2 with Shakhtar Donetsk. A win over Manchester City would put them in a decent position in the group and add more pressure on Pep Guardiola’s side, something Julian Nagelsmann’s side are capable.
Team News & Tactics
Apart from going through a bad patch of form, Hoffenheim and Julian Nagelsmann have many injuries to contend with. As many as eight players could be missing their team’s clash with Manchester City. Among those injured players are vital defensive stars, Kevin Vogt, Ermin Bicakcic and Harvard Nordtveit; Vogt could still play if he passes a late fitness test.
Kerem Demirbay has provided a boost to Hoffenheim with a timely return from an abductor injury while making an appearance against RB Leipzig over the weekend. Against Manchester City, it is unlikely that Nagelsmann would start Demirbay right from the start and hence the midfielder is likely to make another cameo appearance from the bench.
Other players such as Kasim Nugu, Benjamin Hubner, Lukas Rupp and Dennis Geiger could also miss out after carrying their own set of injuries. However, Nagelsmann still possesses the squad to challenge Manchester City despite all those injuries and worries in his side ahead of their Matchday-2 clash.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Baumann; Akpoguma, Vogt, Posch; Kaderabek, Bittencourt, Grillitsch, Kramaric, Schulz; Joelinton, Szalai
The biggest returnee would be Pep Guardiola himself having served his touchline ban, which saw him watch from the stands against Lyon. Sergio Aguero is still not 100% fit, who is still feeling the effects of the foot injury he picked up against Newcastle United in the Premier League. Guardiola could make a late decision to either start the Argentine or place him on the bench, with Jesus an option up front.
There are other injury concerns for Guardiola, with Benjamin Mendy who is already out with an injury, now followed by Fabian Delph who was deputising for the Frenchman. It could give Oleksandr Zinchenko a chance to impress at left-back. Additionally Brazilian full-back, Danilo is back in the squad after recovering from his injury problem, as Guardiola could opt for him and give Kyle Walker a breather.
Kevin De Bruyne, who returned to Manchester City training is still nearly a month away from seeing any action. It means City have to contend with the likes of Gundogan and Bernardo Silva to replace the Belgian in midfield against Hoffenheim. In defence, Guardiola has a decision to make with Vincent Kompany, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi all vying for a place alongside Aymeric Laporte.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Danilo, Kompany, Laporte, Zinchenko; B.Silva, Fernandinho, D.Silva; Sterling, Sane, Jesus
- Manchester City and Hoffenheim will be meeting for the first time in the competition.
- The German club’s only other meeting with an English club ended in a 6-3 aggregate defeat to Liverpool in last season’s CL qualifying rounds.
- Manchester City are unbeaten in their last five Champions League games against German opposition since their loss to Bayern Munich back in 2014.
- However, if City loses to Hoffenheim, they would be the first English clubs to lose four Champions League games in a row.
- Manchester City have also conceded 2+ goals in their last four Champions League games.
Player to Watch
After playing a crucial role in City’s PremierLeague triumph last season, Gabriel Jesus’ fortunes have taken a hit with a disappointing World Cup with Brazil and loss of form in the Premier League this season. With Sergio Aguero now the undisputed starting striker for City, games like these are a chance for Jesus to get back into his revered form.
Aguero might not start the game against Hoffenheim giving Jesus a responsibility to provide City with their first win in the competition. His form could have a determinant effect on his Brazil selection as well, with rival striker Roberto Firmino in a glowing form already; it could be catastrophic if Jesus is selected and starts from the bench in the next Copa America behind the Liverpool striker.
Hoffenheim 0-2 Manchester City
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola will be rallying his players for a win to kick-start their European campaign. Manchester City are not likely to lose a game in which they are under pressure to show results, especially against a team that is currently out of form. Hoffenheim have the players, but their squad is very much thin due to the many injuries.
City are overwhelming favourites to get all three points against the German side. Considering City current run of form in the Premier League and other competitions, its safe to expect the Premier League Champions to cruise through to a comfortable win against Hoffenheim.