Men's Team

Four changes for City against Brugge

Four changes for City against Brugge
Pep Guardiola has recalled Jack Grealish, Ruben Dias, Kyle Walker and Ederson for the Champions League clash with Brugge.

Team news

Making way are Raheem Sterling, Nathan Ake, Zack Steffen and John Stones.

City: Ederson, Walker, Cancelo, Dias (c), Laporte, Rodrigo, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Grealish, Mahrez, Foden

Substitutes: Steffen, Carson, Ake, Sterling,  Gundogan, Jesus,  Zinchenko, Fernandinho,  Palmer

Club Brugge: Mignolet, Mata, Hendry, Nsoki, Sobol, Balanta, Rits, Vanaken, Sowah, Lang, De Ketelaere

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Formation 

It’s a tried and tested 4-3-3 for City against Brugge.

Dias and Laporte resume their central defensive partnership, flanked by Walker on the right and Joao Cancelo on the left.

Rodrigo will pin the midfield trio that also includes Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo.

Up front, Grealish is likely to play on the left and Riyad Mahrez on the right with Phil Foden as a false No.9 – though Foden and Grealish could just as easily swap positions.

City will look to dominate possession and pin the attack-minded hosts  - who have scored in every game they've played this season - back as much as possible.

PEP WARY OF BRUGGE THREAT

It's probably fair to say that few gave Club Brugge much chance of progressing from Group A when the draw was made - and they still face a mammoth task  with back-to-back games against City and a trip to Paris still to come.

But they come into this game ahead of City on points having held PSG and beaten RB Leipzig away.

Maintaining that kind of form won't be easy, but the Belgians know if they can win this contest, their fate will be very much in their own hands.

Brugge were a shade unlucky not to beat PSG at the Jan Breydel Stadium and they will feel they can cause an upset this evening.

But City have shown in recent seasons that when a result is needed in the Champions League on the road, more often than not, the players deliver.

PSG were largely outplayed for long period on their own soil last month but still won 2-0 - Pep is aware of Brugge's strengths, but will expect his team to be more clinical in this tie than they were in Paris.

Stats, form and history

  • In 2020/21 City ended a run of three successive quarter-final eliminations by going all the way to the UEFA Champions League final only to lose 1-0 to Chelsea at Porto's Estádio do Dragão on 29 May.
  • City had beaten Borussia Monchengladbach (2-0 a, 2-0 h), Borussia Dortmund (2-1 h, 2-1 a) and Paris (2-1 a, 2-0 h) en route to the final. The Blues had finished first in Group C with 16 points, keeping five clean sheets and conceding only one goal – equalling the UEFA Champions League group stage record.
  • The goal scored by Dortmund's Marco Reus in the 84th minute of last season's quarter-final first leg ended City's run without conceding a UEFA Champions League goal at 790 minutes, second in the all-time ranking behind Arsenal in 2005/06 (995 minutes).
  • City have already conceded the same number of goals in the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League as in their 13 games in last season's competition.
  • This is City’s 11th UEFA Champions League campaign; they have been involved in the group stage every season since 2011/12 and have reached the round of 16 in eight successive campaigns.
  • Guardiola's team have won 12 of their last 18 away European matches (D3 L3). The last two defeats before the loss in Paris on Matchday 2 had both come in England; the previous away game they had lost abroad was at Shakhtar Donetsk (1-2) on Matchday 6 of the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League.
  • City have won five of the six games played against Belgian clubs, most recently beating Lokeren in the 2003/04 UEFA Cup first round (3-2 h, 1-0 a).
  • That second-leg victory was City's second win in Belgium in their third game; their sole defeat by Belgian opponents was a 2-0 loss at Standard Liège in the 1978/79 UEFA Cup second round second leg, a tie City still won on 4-2 on aggregate.
  • City's six games against Belgian clubs have yielded 16 goals scored and only four against with four clean sheets.
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