Manchester City look to knock Real Madrid out of the Champions League

The two sides drew the first leg 3-3, giving Man City a slight advantage heading into the second.
Manchester City Training Session And Press Conference - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
Manchester City Training Session And Press Conference - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

The last time Manchester City hosted Real Madrid in a do-or-die knockout match in the Champions League, City steamrolled the Spanish giants 4-0.

On that occasion, City and Madrid drew 1-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu. This time around, the two sides played to a thrilling 3-3 draw in the first leg.

On paper, City head into the match with a slight advantage given that the game will be played at the Etihad. But, as everyone is aware, Real Madrid is a different team in this competition, regardless of what happened last season.

Pep Guardiola is keenly aware of Madrid's record in the Champions League. While that might earn them respect, it doesn't mean Guardiola is intimidated by them.

"I don't fear them," Guardiola said in his pre-match press conference. "I respect them a lot. I've faced them many times. I respect Real Madrid and if I say I'm scared of them, I would be false.

"There's the rivalry, you want to beat them and do well. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. But I'm not scared of them and if they beat me -- as has happened many times -- we will say congratulations and wish them well."

Again, the draw in the first leg mean City has a bit of an advantage but they will need to play much better if they want to get past Madrid. It feels like almost every season, rightly or wrongly, doubts are cast upon Real Madrid and almost every time, Los Blancos make a deep run in the competition.

Real Madrid demonstrated that all they need is a little bit of space for their attacking players to do plenty of damage. Therefore, despite all of City's strenghts, there is no clear favorite.

"They are treble winners, an amazing team. But that is the impression from the outside" said Jude Bellingham. "I don't go to the bookies, so I don't see the favorites, but we are a pretty good team ourselves. We are Real Madrid and we have wonderful players. We trust in ourselves and the ability in the changing room."

Guardiola could tinker with the line-up he fielded against Real Madrid. Ederson returned over the weekend and, barring an injury, is set to start. Kyle Walker and Nathan Ake also made the bench in their last league game though they didn't feature.

Having either of those two, but particularly Walker, would be a significant boost in trying to contain Vinicius Junior.

As for Real Madrid, the only change they'll be making from the first leg is in defense. Aurelien Tchouameni picked up a yellow card and must serve a one-match suspension. Eder Militao returned and saw some action against Mallorca but expect Nacho Gonzalez to partner Antonio Rudiger.

Again, the last memory of these two sides playing at the Etihad was a resounding win for Manchester City. City will want a repeat of that game while Real Madrid will see this as an opportunity to redeem themselves.


"Two different season, and it never happens the same game in football again," Bernardo Silva said. "I feel Madrid is stronger this season than last season. That was my feeling when we player them at the Bernabeu. For sure they will want a bit of revenge so it will be a very difficult game."