Ahead of City’s UEFA Champions League Round of 16 meeting with RB Leipzig, we catch up with someone who knows them better than most.

Mark Lovell is a German football expert and freelance sports journalist based in Germany for over 20 years.

Here he gives us the lowdown on what to expect in the upcoming two-legged tie that starts in Germany on Wednesday.

Current form

Leipzig had been on an 18-match unbeaten run up until the defeat against surprise title challengers Union Berlin earlier this month. They had the record in the Bundesliga since manager Marco Rose took over with 31 points from 14 games before that defeat so they have racked up some impressive stats.

That run has taken them back into contention for the Champions League places after a very slow start to the Bundesliga season. They also won each of their last four games in the Champions League groups to progress, including a 3-2 win over Real Madrid and tricky trips to Celtic and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Style of play

They have scored a league-high seven goals on the counter attack and five goals from set pieces, which is more than anyone else in the Bundesliga too.

They will look to hurt City on the counter attack because City have the ball a lot more than most teams.

RB Leipzig v City | Match preview

Leipzig are also comfortable against English teams and have a good record against them at home. As well as beating City last season, they have beaten Manchester United and Spurs in Leipzig.


Marco Rose has clearly improved the morale and team spirit in the camp after taking over from Domenico Tedesco in September.

That’s been the most important factor I believe. He gets on well with the players and they want to play for him.

It didn’t work out for him at Borussia Dortmund but there were other factors involved in that. He’s done well to bounce back at Leipzig.

He came to prominence as a coach in European football via Salzburg, who are also part of the Red Bull group, which meant he didn’t need an introduction into the system that Leipzig play and that has been proven with the way they have taken to his methods.

Standout players

The coaches and fans will be keen to get Christopher Nkunku back from injury.

He has been out since just before the World Cup and has been starting to return to matchday action in the last few weeks. City fans will remember him because of the hat-trick he scored in the 6-3 group stage defeat at the Etihad Stadium. They can look a little bit tepid without him in the attack.

Josko Gvardiol is one of the most highly regarded young defenders around at the moment and very important at the back. He is strong, quick and calm on the ball, all the attributes needed to make a defender at the top level.

He plays alongside Willi Orban, who missed that Union Berlin game after donating his stem cells, and was a really big miss on the day.

It’s often up to Dominik Szoboszlai to be the creative player in midfield and he’s still young but he is experienced.


Leipzig will give City a very good game in Germany and could well come away with something from the first leg.

However, I expect City to prevail at the end of a hard-fought tie. I wouldn’t necessarily expect as many goals as we saw between the teams last season.

For more of Mark’s insights, you can follow him on Twitter here.

RB Leipzig v City

City travel to Leipzig on Wednesday for a 20:00 (UK) kick-off and you can follow the game across mancity.com and our official app.

We will start live updates at 18:00 on our Matchday Centre and that will run throughout the evening.

Our Matchday Live programme will begin shortly before team news arrives at 18:45. Natalie Pike will be in the studio with Paul Dickov, Karen Bardsley and Darius Vassell to give you a City-centric view on events in Germany.

During the game, Alistair Mann will talk you through proceedings with our radio commentary offering.

Afterwards, we will bring you all the reaction before short highlights and extended highlights are available from midnight.

CITY+ subscribers can watch the entire 90 minutes back from midnight.