Champions League

UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Preview: RB Leipzig vs Manchester City

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The 2022/23 UEFA Champions League took a hiatus in early November, shortly before the start of the World Cup and there has been a lull for more than two months now. The Champions League, inarguably Europe’s greatest competition returns to almost half a billion viewers and millions of screens in less than a month from now.

A tournament which never fails to deliver, the Champions League has always been full of surprises and no doubt, this current spell is no exception.

So far in this edition of the Champions League, the back of the net has been found 304 times in 96 matches, averaging 3.17 goals per game, with Paris Saint Germain’s Kylian Mbappe and Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah sitting at the top of the goalscoring charts with seven goals each.

On the back of a quite interesting Round of 16 draw in November, the entire football universe is set to experience some sensational match-ups in February and March. A couple of heavyweight fixtures have been thrown up for this round of Europe’s most illustrious tournament.

Defending champions and 14-time winners, Real Madrid, are heavily in the mix, as they look to add the quinzième UEFA Champions League to their trophy gallery in either Real Madrid City or the Santiago Bernabeu when they take on Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, a remake of the 2022 final in Saint-Denis.

This series will look at the next round of matchups!

AC Milan vs Tottenham Hotspur

Chelsea vs Borussia Dortmund

Club Brugge vs Benfica

Eintrach Frankfurt vs SSC Napoli

Inter Milan vs Porto

PSG vs Bayern Munich

Real Madrid vs Liverpool

RB Leipzig vs Manchester City

A really great match-up here, one of the greatest by the way. Both teams found themselves in proximate groups of the Champions League, Leipzig in Group F while Manchester City were slotted into Group G.

Manchester City

Group qualification has not been a problem for the defending EPL Champions, at least not under Guardiola’s watch and Manchester City had very little trouble in securing victories over Sevilla, Copenhagen FC and Borussia Dortmund. Guardiola and his hungry boys topped the group with fourteen points, four wins and two draws in the bag, maintaining an undefeated status in their run to the last 16.

Most pivotal was and is Erling Haaland who notched five of City’s fourteen goals in the group, inarguably the greatest member of their star-studded squad.

Is Erling Haaland the best player in the world?

Yes

Yes

No

No

RB Leipzig

RB Leipzig on the other hand, exuded fortitude to finish second in a group containing Real Madrid, Celtic and Shaktar Dontesk. The German side were impressive, taking home 12 points, notably a 3-2 home win over defending Champions, Real Madrid.

The German outfit host Manchester City at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig on February 22 before making the return trip to the Etihad three weeks later.

Players to watch for:

Christopher Nkunku(Leipzig)

https://twitter.com/OptaFranz/status/1590645595005677568?s=20&t=t2uwtQNUgMg5GJ_Np5ArVw

The Frenchman has been in impressive form for the Bundesliga side this season. Seeing the departure of goal poachers in Robert Lewandowski and Erling Haaland, the 25-year old leads the goalscoring charts for the German league with 12 goals in 15 games. What’s more, he’s scored a total of 17 goals in 23 appearances for Marco Rose’s side this spell.

Nkunku scored a commendable hat-trick against City in the last edition of the Champions League group stage, with Leipzig eventually losing the match 6-3. Leipzig failed to reach the knock-out stages that season and were relegated to the Europa league while Manchester City and Paris Saint Germain progressed to the last 16.

If there’s a man to lead Leipzig’s frontline against their difficult opponents, then it definitely is Christopher Nkunku.

Erling Haaland (Manchester City)

Now, here is the signing of the season. While some clubs would definitely be regretting splashing their cash on talents who have failed to live up to their expectations, Manchester City would be counting themselves extremely lucky to have landed this goal scoring machine from Borussia Dortmund for less than he’s actually worth.

Haaland is at the epicenter of City’s quest for glory and silverware this season. He’s their highest goalscorer with 31 goals in 26 games and is well out of the reach of Robert Lewandowski and the rest of the pack when it comes to the race for the European Golden shoe. If Leipzig think they saw all of City last season, they definitely weren’t ready for this 22-year old wonderkid. You’d almost bet he’d cook up a real treat on both matchdays.

Main image credit Embed from Getty Images

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Jesuyemi is an avid fan of sports, especially football. He also enjoys WWE and athletics. He's been writing for a few years now and is a supporter of FC Barcelona.

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