In the wake of the easing of national restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, 10,000 City fans were able to attend last Sunday’s Premier League finale at the Etihad – the first-time our supporters had been able to watch a home game for 15 months.
Almost six thousand City fans will also be flying out to watch Saturday’s showpiece game at the Estadio do Dragao in Porto, Portugal with the same number from Chelsea in attendance too.
And after almost a year of playing behind closed doors, Gundogan says the presence of fans in person will help add extra meaning and significance to what will be one of the biggest occasions in the Club’s long illustrious history.
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“It’s just great. It’s a great occasion for our fans to be there For the first time,” declared the German midfielder.
“It is a great possibility for all the fans that are travelling. For the players it is also great.
“We started to love this game because of the emotions that are transported to the pitch from the outside. The connection from the people in the stand to the players on the pitch was something we were used to.
“It got taken from us last year and it was difficult to deal with.
“It is great to see people coming back into the stadium, not just ours, but all around the league. It’s just great.
“It is a special occasion to have people back in the stadium. I am sure it will be a great atmosphere, even though the stadium won’t be full.
“We players enjoy the game like that, with people in the stand cheering.”
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City’s success in reaching a first-ever Champions League final has helped exorcise the frustration of quarter-final exits over the past three seasons, not least last season’s 3-1 loss to Lyon.
Along with our attacking artistry, Pep Guardiola’s side have also established the best defensive record in Europe this term, conceding just four goals en route to the final.
And Gundogan says that defensive excellence is impossible to overstate and has been a key factor in making up for that Lyon result.
“The Lyon defeat was a big disappointment,” Gundogan admitted.
“It was something we didn’t expect, to lose that game. We felt good, confident.
“When you feel like that and you lose you are frustrated, sad, you might be a little angry.
“We went on holiday, trained for a few days and straight into the next season. We didn't have a choice but to try again.
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“And I feel this year maybe a couple of crucial things changed for us compared to last year.
“I remember against Monaco (in 2017) we conceded three goals at home, when we played Spurs (in 2019) we conceded three goals at home, and when we played Lyon we conceded three goals.
“This year we seem to be stable at the back and that helps us to win more. I feel we are very strong, stable and this is crucial in the knockout games.
"To be able to defend well, not to concede is a big advantage
“It’s the same as well for Chelsea. They seem stable at the back and concede few goals.
“Maybe on Saturday it is going to be about who is able to do better against a team that will defend on a very high level.”
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