Men's Team

City make seven changes for trip to RB Leipzig

City make seven changes for tonight’s Champions League Group A finale away to RB Leipzig.

Kevin De Bruyne makes his first start after recovering from testing positive for COVID-19 last month.

And Zack Steffen, Oleks Zinchenko, John Stones, Nathan Ake, Fernandinho and Riyad Mahrez also come into the starting eleven.

From the side that began Saturday’s 3-1 win at Vicarage Road, Ederson, Ruben Dias and Raheem Sterling revert to the bench

Meanwhile Aymeric Laporte, Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva, Joao Cancelo and Rodrigo all didn’t make the trip to eastern Germany.

Jesus picked up a knock after coming on as a substitute in Saturday’s 3-1 win at Watford while Laporte was also absent with a minor knock.

And City assured of top spot in Group A, tonight’s match also afforded an opportunity for Bernardo, Cancelo and Rodrigo to rest and recuperate after a hectic period of games.

TEAMS

RB Leipzig: Gulacsi, Mukiele, Gavardiol, Angelino, Klostermann, Laimer, Szoboszlai, Kampl, Nkunku, Forsberg, Silva

Subs: Martinez, Adams, Simakan, Henrichs, Moriba, Brobbey, Bonnah

City: Steffen, Walker, Stones, Ake, Zinchenko, Fernandinho ©, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Grealish, Foden, Mahrez
Subs: Ederson, Carson, Dias, Sterling, Egan-Riley, Palmer, McAtee, Lavia, Wilson-Esbrand

Formation

There may be changes aplenty but City once again look likely to deploy our tried and trusted 4-3-3 formation – with the usual caveat that such is the flexibility and adaptability of Pep’s squad that could yet change!

With Steffen afford an opportunity in goal, he will be shielded by a back four of Walker, Ake, Stones and Zinchenko.

Fernandinho will be the holding midfielder with Ilkay Gundogan and De Bruyne also set to be deployed in the engine room.

Jack Grealish, Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez look likely to form our attacking trident in another exciting looking line-up

Quality street

With top spot in Group A already assured and a punishing schedule which sees us play six games between tonight and the end of the year, the boss has opted to utilise his squad to the full.

But such is the quality available to Guardiola, though there are several changes from the side that stepped out at Vicarage Road, tonight’s line-up is packed full of superb international talent.

For the likes of Steffen, Ake, Stones, Zinchenko, Fernandinho and Mahrez, the assignment behind closed doors at the RB Arena is another big opportunity to press their claims.

And, as the boss stressed in his pre-match press conference, City will be stretching every sinew to ensure we finish our Group A campaign as we began it against Leipzig back in September – in winning fashion!

Stats and facts

General

• Angeliño was a Manchester City player between July 2012 and 2021, when he completed a permanent move to Leipzig having been on loan at the club since January 2020. He made only six Premier League appearances for City, all in the first half of that 2019/20 campaign.
Pep Guardiola was Bayern coach between 2013 and 2016, winning the Bundesliga in all three of his seasons in charge. He never faced Leipzig.
• Ferran Torres scored a hat-trick in Spain's 6-0 win against Germany in the group stage of the UEFA Nations League on 17 November 2020.
• Raheem Sterling opened the scoring in England's 2-0 win against Germany in the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 at Wembley on 29 June; Jack Grealish provided the assist for the second goal.
• John Stones scored past Gulácsi in a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier between England and Hungary at Wembley on 12 October (1-1). Four other City players started the game for the home team – Grealish, Sterling, Kyle Walker and Phil Foden.

Leipzig

• Leipzig have won only eight of their 21 games this season in all competitions, losing nine including a 3-1 defeat against Bayer Leverkusen on 28 November and Friday's 2-1 reverse at Union Berlin.
• On Sunday the club parted company with coach Jesse Marsch after just over five months in charge; assistant Achim Beierlorzer will be in charge against City.
• That home loss to Leverkusen was Leipzig's second in the Bundesliga this season, after a 4-1 defeat against Bayern on 11 September. They have won the other five league games at home.
• After seven league games without defeat, Leipzig have lost the last three.
• Christopher Nkunku has 13 goals in his last 16 Leipzig games including one at Union on Friday.
• After winning 1-0 at fourth-tier Babelsberg in the German Cup second round on 26 October, Leipzig will be at home to 2. Bundesliga side Hansa Rostock in the last 16 on 19 January.
• Substitute Novoa scored with his first touch in his first professional game for Leipzig against Greuther Fürth on 23 October, becoming Leipzig's youngest ever Bundesliga scorer aged 18 years 272 days.
• Dani Olmo has missed the last four Leipzig games because of a thigh injury.
• Yussuf Poulsen suffered a calf injury in Denmark's 3-1 home win against the Faroe Islands on 12 November and has not played since; he has also been ill.

Manchester City

• City have lost only two of their last 21 games in all competitions (W16 D3), the defeat at Paris on Matchday 2 and a 2-0 loss at home to Crystal Palace in the Premier League on 30 October.
• City won 3-1 at Watford on Saturday, Bernardo Silva scoring twice. The Portugal midfielder has seven goals in 14 Premier League games in 2021/22, equalling his best return for City from 36 matches in 2018/19, and has six in his last eight league appearances – one more than in his previous 61 matches.
• Raheem Sterling opened the scoring at Watford, his fourth goal in his last six City games.
• The win at Watford was Kyle Walker's 100th Premier League victory for City; having also achieved a century of league wins with Tottenham (102), he is only the third player to feature in 100 Premier League victories for two clubs, after Phil Neville (Manchester United and Everton) and Ashley Cole (Arsenal and Chelsea).
• The win at Villa was Pep Guardiola's 150th Premier League victory; he is only the fourth manager to reach that total with one club, and in his 204th game the fastest, beating Sir Alex Ferguson's previous record of 247 matches.
• City have kept nine clean sheets in their 23 games in all competitions this season. They have conceded only nine Premier League goals in their 15 matches.
• It was the first League Cup tie City had lost since a 1-0 defeat at neighbours Manchester United, also in the last 16, on 26 October 2016.
•A 1-0 win at Chelsea on 25 September was Guardiola's 221st victory in all competitions as City manager, setting a new club record ahead of Les McDowall (220 wins, 1950–63).
• City's 55 goals this season have been scored by 20 different players.

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