It’s here again, we’re here again. We’ve been to space and back. A two-week long international break coupled with a series of league match-ups have seen the UEFA Champions League take yet another interesting lull, though not without spine-tingling revelation of the amazing would-be match-ups revealed on March 17 in Nyon.
The grid keeps getting smaller and smaller as we finally get down to real business. It"s about time we begin to perceive the aroma of European glory, teams drive themselves the extra mile to ensure they make history and break it.
We"re down to just eight. It all started with thirty-two from all across Europe but now we"re left with eight. And over the next couple of games, there would be an exact downsizing by half. It doesn"t get any better, does it?
The UEFA Champions League is set to return, to take the big picture once again on April 11. With no doubt, this competition will be stealing the thunder the leagues have garnered in the past couple of weeks. All eyes turn to Europe where the likes of Madrid, Napoli and Manchester City slug it out for the prestigious trophy.
Manchester City were dealt a rather tough card in Bayern Munich, Napoli may be on the brink of making the last four being the beneficiaries of a relatively lucky AC Milan draw, Inter Milan would walk into the quarter-finals with their heads held up high having to face Benfica while Chelsea and Real Madrid lock horns in a remake from last season"s quarter-final showdown.
So, without further ado, let"s delve into these four amazing match-ups.
You can find the previews of the other matchups here:
Bayern Munich vs Manchester City
And now to wrap up this series is the heavyweight, A-lister fixture between the giants of England and Germany. This meeting must have undoubtedly been tagged the ‘big one" at the time of the draw. While we"ve not seen Bayern Munich take on Manchester City since 2014 when they met in the group-stages, both clubs are better positioned than the remaining six to win the UEFA Champions League this season.
Well, that"s without the ripple effect caused by the Bayern board in axing now former head coach, Julian Naglesmann. The 35-year old tactician was relieved of his managerial duties thanks to a couple of issues with the club which included fall-outs with players and a drop in form. Was it a wise decision for Herbert Hainer and Bayern Munich AG to wield the axe at a very delicate period in the season?
There could be real problems for the Bavarians in the coming fixtures. Thomas Tuchel may be quite familiar with Naglesmann"s quintessential high-press game pattern but both German coaches are not entirely the same.
And maybe Manchester City can pick up an opportunistic win over the Bundesliga giants whilst the latter are still adapting to the restructuring in the club. Pep Guardiola definitely wants to win the UEFA Champions League, his priority for City, more important than giving Arsenal a hot chase in the Premier League. The Spaniard has not won the European competition since 2011 when he lifted the trophy at Barcelona and it"s the next step for the further advancement of his illustrious career, or what pushes his proponents" argument about him being the greatest coach in the world.
But here, both teams are pressed, City especially. Both titans have got their eyes on their respective leagues. Bayern lead the way in Germany with Dortmund following closely behind. A little slack would see Edin Terzic"s side overtake the favourites to clinch their first league title since 2012 while Manchester City continue to pursue hard after Arsenal, eight points behind them albeit with a game in hand. It"s quite the Herculean task for both colossi.
Bayern Munich vs Manchester City key stats:
- Both sides are reputable for having remained unbeaten in this season"s campaign up until now, Benfica are the third team to have done the same.
- While Bayern and Manchester City are unbeaten, the Bavarians are the only team in the Champions League with a hundred percent record. They have won all eight of their fixtures this season; Inter(2-0, 2-0), Barcelona(2-0, 3-0), Viktoria Plzen(5-0, 4-2), Paris Saint Germain (1-0, 2-0)
- In all eight of their Champions League meetings this season, the Bavarians have kept seven clean sheets; Inter(2-0, 2-0), Barcelona(2-0, 3-0), Viktoria Plzen(5-0), Paris Saint Germain(1-0, 2-0) and have conceded only two goals, coming from the 4-2 away win over Viktoria Plzen on October 12.
- Manchester City forward, Erling Haaland has found the back of the net ten times in this season"s Champions League where he is the highest goalscorer. The record is seventeen by Cristiano Ronaldo for Real Madrid in the 2013-14 campaign.
- Haaland has scored five goals against Bayern Munich but has failed to register a single win against the Bavarians in seven trials.
- Manchester City are on an eleven game unbeaten streak having last lost 1-0 to Tottenham in the Premier League.
- City have recorded a single loss at the Etihad stadium this season where the tie begins next week. They have won 47 of their last 51 home fixtures in all competitions.
- Guardiola"s side have won their past twenty-two home games in the Champions League. The last time they recorded an European loss at the Etihad was in September 2018 against Lyon, a 2-1 defeat.
Manchester City vs Bayern Munich Head to Head:
The Bavarians and Citizens have met on six occasions in three seasons, all in the group-stages of the Champions League(2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14).
Both sides are equal in terms of statistics with Bayern recording three wins(2-0, 3-1 and 1-0) and Manchester City also prevailing thrice(2-0, 3-2 and 3-2). In the three seasons they"ve met, they"ve both won one leg of the fixture.
Manchester City vs Bayern Munich key players
Manchester City: Erling Haaland
With 42 goals in 37 games, the Citizens would unarguably be looking to Haaland to lead City"s quest for a semi-final spot against Bayern Munich. The 22-year old led by example in the 6-0 thrashing of RB Leipzig scoring five goals as they marched dominantly into the last eight.
With the Norwegian having scored roughly 38% of Manchester City"s goals this season, it definitely isn"t rocket science to point out that he would be at the centre of the club"s strategy.
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