Kyle Walker returns to the starting line-up as City boss Pep Guardiola makes five changes for Wednesday night’s eagerly-awaited UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg tie against Real Madrid at the Etihad.

From the side the started last Saturday’s emphatic 5-1 Premier League win over Luton Town, England full-back Walker - who hasn’t figured since being injured during the March international break - Rodrigo, Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva and Jack Grealish all come into the starting line-up.

Rico Lewis, Matheus Nunes, Mateo Kovacic, Julian Alvarez and Jeremy Doku revert to the bench.

Meanwhile, there’s only one change for Real Madrid tonight, with the enforced absence of Aurelien Tchouameni. Nacho plays at the heart of defence instead and captains the team.

With a place in the semi-final at stake against either Bayern Munich or Arsenal, the two side will kick-off tonight all square at 3-3 and with everything still to play for after last week’s dramatic first leg encounter at the Bernabeu.


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

Subs: Ortega Moreno, Carson, Stones, Ake, Kovacic, Doku, Alvarez, Gomez, Nunes, Bobb, Lewis

REAL MADRID XI: Lunin, Carvajal, Rudiger, Nacho (C), F. Mendy, Valverde, Camavinga, Kroos, Rodrygo, Bellingham, Vinicius Jr

Subs: Kepa, Fran, Militao, Modric, Joselu, Lucas V., Ceballos, Fran Garcia, Brahim, Arda Guler


Ederson will be familiar figure in goal with the Brazilian international set to be protected by a back four of captain Walker, Manuel Akanji, Ruben Dias and Josko Gvardiol

Rodrigo is set to once again be the holding midfielder with Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva also in the engine room.

Meanwhile, Erling Haaland will be the striking focal point with Phil Foden and Jack Grealish providing the width up-front.

However, of course such is the flexibility and fluidity amongst City’s squad those positions and tactical formation could well adapt as the evening progresses!

The four tops?

Tonight’s encounter offers City the chance to achieve the notable feat of recording what would be a fourth straight Champions League knockout stage home win over Real Madrid.

Over recent seasons City and Real have become familiar foes in the latter stages of the Champions League.

In the 2019/20 campaign, Pep Guardiola’s side recorded a 2-1 last-16 second leg win at the Etihad – in a game played behind closed doors due to COVID-19 restrictions - to secure a 4-2 aggregate victory over the Spanish giants.

The two sides then locked horns once again at the semi-final stage in the latter stages of the 2021/22 campaign, with City securing a thrilling 4-3 first leg Etihad triumph, though it was Real who ultimately prevailed 6-5 on aggregate.

Twelve months ago Carlo Ancelotti’s side took on City once more with a place in the final at stake.

And Guardiola’s side delivered another Etihad masterpiece, inflicting a dominant 4-0 second leg victory to secure a 5-1 aggregate win and so seal our place in the final which we memorably won to complete a historic Treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League.

Now, with the score evenly poised at 3-3 after last week’s first leg thriller, we have the chance to register a fourth successive home win over Real and so seal our ticket through to the semi-finals once again.

200 up

Tonight’s match, which has garnered world-wide attention and anticipation, promises to be a special occasion in more ways than one.

For it marks City’s 200th match in European competition.

Going into tonight’s game, we have recorded 113 wins to date – ironically the same number as Real chalked up in their first 200 European matches.

Should we emerge successful tonight it would mean we have the fourth highest tally of wins from 200 games, behind Ajax (118), Juventus (115) and Liverpool (114).

Stats and facts

• City could become just the second team to eliminate Real Madrid from the knockout stages of the European Cup/UEFA Champions League in consecutive seasons, after Milan in 1988-89 (semi-finals) and 1989-90 (round of 16). 

• The last five meetings between City and Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League have produced 23 goals, at an average of 4.6 per game. In two of the five games, the opening goal has been scored inside the opening two minutes of play (1:34 by Kevin De Bruyne in April 2022 and 1:49 by Bernardo Silva in this season’s first leg).

• This will be the eighth time that Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti have faced each other in the UEFA Champions League, and the sixth while in charge of their current clubs City and Real Madrid. The only pairs of managers who have faced each other on more than eight occasions in the competition are Alex Ferguson & Ottmar Hitzfeld and Carlo Ancelotti & Jürgen Klopp (nine times each)

• Real Madrid have only progressed from two of their previous 10 UEFA Champions League knockout stage ties after failing to win the first leg at home. Both of the times they’ve managed to progress in that scenario in the second leg were against Manchester United (1999-2000 quarter-finals and 2012-13 round of 16).

• Real Madrid have trailed on the scoreboard for the least amount of time of any team in the UEFA Champions League this season (43:48). Indeed, despite falling behind on two separate occasions in the first leg against City, they were only behind for a total of 18 minutes in the match. 

• Phil Foden has scored in each of his last five starts in the UEFA Champions League (five goals); the joint-longest run by a City player in the competition, along with Sergio Agüero (Feb 2018-March 2019).

Bernardo Silva has netted four goals in seven games against Real Madrid – against sides he’s faced 5+ times as a City player, only versus Watford (115) does he have a better minutes per goal ratio than he does against los Blancos (144).

• Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos has completed 95% of his passes under high intensity pressure in the UEFA Champions League this season (259/273); the most of any midfielder in the competition. Indeed, Kroos only failed to complete one of his 23 passes made under high intensity pressure in the first leg against City (96% - 22/23).