Pep Guardiola has made four changes to his City side for the Champions League Round of 16 first leg clash with FC Copenhagen.

Kyle Walker, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Jack Grealish come in to the starting XI for the 20:00 kick-off at the Parken Stadium in the Danish capital. 

Manuel Akanji, Matheus Nunes, Julian Alvarez and Jeremy Doku make way from the side that beat Everton 2-0 on Saturday.

FC Copenhagen v City | Match preview

After winning this historic competition for the first time during our unforgettable 2022/23 campaign, we began our defence of the title with six wins from six in the group stage.

Copenhagen are in the last-16 after finishing second in Group A above Galatasaray and Manchester United.

We played Jacob Neestrup’s team twice in the groups last season, winning 5-0 at home before a 0-0 draw in Copenhagen.


CITY XI: Ederson, Walker (C), Stones, Dias, Ake, Rodrigo, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Foden, Grealish, Haaland

Subs: Ortega Moreno, Carson, Doku, Alvarez, Akanji, Nunes, Bobb, Wright, Susoho, Lewis

COPENHAGEN XI: Grabara, Diks, Vavro, Claesson (C), Mattsson, Diogo, Elyounoussi, Jelert, McKenna, Achouri, Falk

Subs: Runarrsson, Buur, Sorensen, Larsson, Cornelius, Oskarsson, Ankersen, Meling, Clem, Hojlund, Roony, Froholdt


Captain Kyle Walker will take his place at right-back, with Nathan Ake on the left of the back four. Ruben Dias and John Stones are at the heart of the defence protecting Ederson‘s goal, while Stones is likely to step up into midfield.

There he will join Rodrigo, while Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden will be operating in spaces ahead of them.

Jack Grealish will provide width on the left and look to supply Erling Haaland, who will be our furthest man forward, occupying the central defenders.

Grealish returns

The return of the Champions League sees Jack Grealish reclaim his place in the team.

The England international hasn’t started for City since the 7 January FA Cup victory over Huddersfield Town and Pep Guardiola said his No.10 is still searching for last season’s form.

However, with the increased need to dominate possession and guard against turnovers in Champions League football, Grealish’s ability to protect the ball and pick the right pass was always going to be highly valued during our attempts to replicate last season’s success in this competition.

More milestones

City have won our last nine games in European competition, with the first leg of our Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid the last time we didn’t come out on top.

Since then, we won both our semi-final second leg and the final to lift last year’s crown before UEFA Super Cup success on penalties against Sevilla. Six wins in six at the group stage followed that and success tonight would make it a round 10.

It’s also 19 matches since we last suffered defeat in the Champions League, stretching all the way back to the semi-final of the 2021/22 edition. At least a draw tonight would see us to 20 matches since we last lost in Europe’s elite club competition.

Match stats

FC Copenhagen have never beaten Manchester City in four previous meetings in all competitions (D2 L2), drawing both home matches against the Citizens (2-2 in 2008-09 UEFA Cup, 0-0 in last season’s UEFA Champions League).

City have never won away against Danish opposition in major European competition, drawing with FC Copenhagen in 2009 (UEFA Cup) and 2022 (UEFA Champions League), and losing at Aalborg BK in 2009 (UEFA Cup). We did, however, win 1-0 at FC Midtjylland in 2008-09 UEFA Cup qualifying.

Danish sides have lost all three of their European Cup/UEFA Champions League home games against reigning European champions by an aggregate score of 12-0 - Køge BK 0-5 Bayern Munich in 1976, Aalborg BK 0-3 Manchester United in 2008, and FC Nordsjælland 0-4 Chelsea in 2012.

This is just FC Copenhagen’s second appearance in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages – they were eliminated by Chelsea at the round of 16 stage in 2010-11 (0-2 home, 0-0 away).

 We have won our last eight UEFA Champions League matches, the longest run by an English side in European Cup/Champions League history. The last team to have a longer run were FC Bayern München between 2019 and 2020 (15).

 Despite winning the trophy last season, we haven’t won any of our last five away games in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages (D4 L1), since beating Sporting CP 5-0 in the round of 16 in 2021-22.

Manchester City have averaged 70.4% possession in the UEFA Champions League this season; the most of any side. Indeed, there are only five other instances on record (since 2003-04) of a team averaging more than that in a single campaign – four of which were teams managed by Pep Guardiola (Barcelona in 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12 and Bayern Munich in 2015-16).

18-year-old Roony Bardghji scored FC Copenhagen’s winner against Manchester United in the group stages this season. The only teenager to score against two different English clubs in the UEFA Champions League is Kylian Mbappe (Manchester City and Liverpool), while Bardghji could be the first to do so in the same season.

Julian Alvarez has been involved in six goals in his last five UEFA Champions League appearances for Manchester City (5 goals, 1 assist), despite only starting one of these games. Overall, he’s averaging a goal or assist every 62 minutes in the competition, and one every 31 minutes so far this season.

 Rodrigo has made more line-breaking passes than any other player in the UEFA Champions League this season (100). In fact, after averaging 13.1 line-breaking passes per 90 minutes in the competition last term, the Manchester City midfielder is currently averaging almost double that this season (25.6 per 90).