Bayern Munich defender Matthijs De Ligt believes that City will be the toughest side they will have faced in the Champions League this season.

The German champions reached the quarter-finals of the European competition by knocking out Paris Saint-Germain and also faced Barcelona and Inter Milan in the group stage.

But ahead of the first leg at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night, the Netherlands international is preparing himself for his biggest test so far.


“Out of all the teams [we have faced], Manchester City is the strongest because over the last five years they have won the Premier League four times and now they have Erling Haaland who is a big threat that requires top concentration because they are so strong,” De Ligt said.

“There are a lot of good teams left. If you look at the quality, Manchester City is one of the strongest teams in the world.

“It’s going to be an amazing game, they have an amazing team and an amazing trainer and every year they have a chance of winning the Champions League.”

De Ligt will come up against Erling Haaland for the first time with the City striker in brilliant form after scoring 10 in his last three appearances to take his total for the season to 44 goals.

“Haaland is one of the best strikers worldwide and is in great shape,” he added. “He is good inside the box but also outside of it. What matters is we organise our defence well because Haaland is an incredible player.

“But without a good cross of pass from [Kevin] De Bruyne, it will be hard for him as well so our entire team needs to be in top form to stop Haaland.”

The game will see Thomas Tuchel return to the Etihad after the former Chelsea coach took over the Bundesliga club last month.

Tuchel is looking forward to facing the Blues again and the challenge that Pep Guardiola and his players will provide.

“I was out in the stadium just now and that is the gold standard for us,” he said. “I think you can really see that there has been six or seven years of Pep’s influence on this team. This is the highest level of European football.

“I was active in the Premier League and I played against City in the league. We seem to think we have the right idea about what to expect, but knowing isn’t enough.

“We are really looking forward to it and a major task lies ahead. They are in top shape and form and that makes the whole challenge interesting.”