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Preview: Real Madrid vs Manchester City – prediction, team news, line-ups

Real Madrid and Manchester City are set to trade tackles at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg of their heavyweight Champions League semi-final on Tuesday (8.00 pm).

Fresh from lifting their first Copa del Rey title since 2014/15 courtesy of a 2-1 victory over Osasuna in Saturday’s final, Los Blancos continue their quest to defend the European crown. 

Carlo Ancelotti’s pulled off a stunning second-leg comeback to crash the Cityzens out of last season’s semi-finals en route to winning a record-extending 14th Champions League trophy

Having practically surrendered domestic supremacy to fierce La Liga rivals Barcelona this season, the Spaniards seek amends on the continental front by putting the brakes on Man City’s rampage form. 

Pep Guardiola’s men ought to be confident after wrestling back control of the Premier League title race on the back of ten consecutive league wins as their pursuit of a historic ‘treble‘ enters the crunch period. 

Despite being a step away from winning a third straight Premier League crown for the first time ever, City’s never-ending bid to land a maiden Champions League title remains the club’s ultimate goal.

But after Madrid eliminated them from the competition twice in their last three semi-final appearances, Man City cannot take anything for granted. 

Real Madrid vs Manchester City Preview

While Madrid’s indifferent four-game record in all competitions (W2, L2) cannot inspire much confidence, Ancelotti’s men can fall back on their imperious home form in Europe.

Los Merengues have racked up 13 wins in their last 16 European fixtures at the Bernabeu (D1, L2), including all five victories in this season’s Champions League.

Since Mohamed Salah’s goal in a 5-2 demolition of Liverpool in the first leg of their last-16 tie, the hosts have gone 346 minutes of Champions League action without conceding. 

That could be particularly encouraging when knowing they’ve failed to keep Man City at bay in their last four European encounters, capitulating nine times across those meetings. 

Player to Watch: Vinicius Junior

While Karim Benzema is the first name to spring to mind, Vinicius has been Madrid’s difference maker, having clocked seven goals and five assists in his last ten Champions League starts. 

After a 2-1 victory in February 2020, Man City could become the first-ever English side to defeat Los Merengues way from home in the Champions League on multiple occasions.

But it’s worth noting that four of City’s five away matches in this season’s competition have ended as a draw (W1), with each game featuring two goals or less, highlighting the potential for a low-scoring contest.

Guardiola’s all-time managerial record against Madrid can fill the Cityzens with confidence, as he has only lost five of his 21 clashes against Los Blancos in all competitions (W12, D4).

However, since leaving Barcelona over a decade ago, the Spaniard has lost half of his duels against the record-time European champions (3/6), casting some doubt on his effort to get Man City to the final. 

Player to Watch: Erling Braut Haaland

Haaland holds an impressive record of scoring 35 goals in just 27 Champions League appearances, with his minutes-per-goal ratio of 58 standing for the competition’s best. 

Manchester City vs Real Madrid Team News

Madrid will be without long-term absentee Ferland Mendy and second-string midfielder Dani Ceballos, with both yet to recover from injuries. 

Ancelotti’s most significant problem heading into this fixture is Eder Militao’s unavailability for selection after the Brazilian accumulated yellow cards.

Tuesday’s trip to the Iberian peninsula will come too soon for prodigious Man City midfielder Cole Palmer.

Nathan Ake may have to start on the bench after picking up a knock in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Leeds United, but he should make the matchday squad.

Real Madrid potential starting line-up:

(4-3-3): Thibaut Courtois; Dani Carvajal, Antonio Rudiger, David Alaba, Eduardo Camavinga; Federico Valverde, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric; Rodrygo, Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior.

Manchester City potential starting line-up:

(3-2-4-1): Ederson; Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji; John Stones, Rodri; Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, Jack Grealish; Erling Haaland. 

Prediction: Real Madrid 1-1 Manchester City

Man City may be heading into proceedings as pre-match favourites, but if history has taught us anything, Los Blancos can never be written off in the Champions League. 

We expect a share of the spoils, with the tie likely to be decided at the Etihad Stadium next week. 

How To Watch:

In the United Kingdom, both the Manchester City vs Real Madrid game and the other Champions League semi-final featuring AC Milan and Inter Milan will be broadcast live on BT Sports – click here to see all Champions League streaming options.

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