Manchester City and Real Madrid will renew hostilities at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night in their Champions League semi-final tie decider with a place in Istanbul up for grabs.
Following the thrilling 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu, Pep Guardiola’s side swatted aside relegation-battling Everton at Goodison Park to bolster their treble chances.
With every passing matchday, Man City inch one step closer to achieving the major milestone.
Arsenal’s thumping defeat against Brighton & Hove Albion leaves the Cityzens one win away from clinching the Premier League title – their fifth in six seasons with Guardiola in charge.
While that is all but wrapped up, the major task ahead for City is to find a way around the reigning Champions League holders who will not give up their crown without a fight.
Having fallen at Madrid’s hands at this stage last season, Guardiola is aware his side will need everything in their star-studded arsenal to edge the champions and book a place in the final.
Madrid head into the clash on the back of a slender 1-0 win over Getafe, with Carlo Ancelotti’s heavily rotated starting XI getting the job done at the Bernabeu.
Having relinquished their La Liga crown to Barcelona, Los Blancos will fight tooth and nail to retain their European trophy. But a stern test awaits them at the Etihad, with Man City gunning for the elusive title.
Madrid are blocking Man City’s path to Istanbul, but they will fancy their chances against the Spanish giants, having lost just one of their last five Champions League meetings with Los Blancos (W3, D1).
The Cityzens are also unbeaten in their last 25 home games in the Champions League (W23, D2), which tilts the odds firmly in their favour ahead of the highly anticipated contest.
However, what would worry Guardiola is that Man City have been eliminated in two of their previous three Champions League semi-final ties, with both coming against Madrid (2015/16 and 2021-22).
If they fail to progress, it would be the first time in the tournament’s history that a team has been eliminated by the same side in consecutive semi-finals.
Despite their Champions League experience, Madrid are considered slight underdogs for the mouth-watering midweek contest, and rightly so.
They are winless in their previous four away games against Man City in the tournament (D2, L2), losing each of the last two.
However, they will feel confident of thwarting City in their own backyard, having won their last two Champions League away games against English clubs in the knockout stage.
Ancelotti is set to take charge of his 191st Champions League game as a manager – the most of any coach in the competition’s history – overtaking Sir Alex Ferguson (190).
It will also be his 50th game in charge of Madrid in the tournament, becoming just the second manager to reach 50+ games with two teams (73 with Milan), along with Guardiola (73 Man City, 50 Barcelona).
Manchester City vs Real Madrid Potential Line-ups
Manchester City (3-2-4-1): Ederson; Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji; John Stones, Rodri; Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish; Erling Braut Haaland.
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Thibaut Courtois; Daniel Carvajal, Eder Militao, David Alaba, Eduardo Camavinga; Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Federico Valverde; Rodrygo, Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior.
We Say: Manchester City 2-1 Real Madrid (Agg: 3-2)
It is tough to call which way this gargantuan showdown will go, but we’re tipping Man City to edge the champions and book a place in the final.
Watch Champions League Games Live
All Champions League games can be streamed live online, even if they are not on live TV in the UK – see our Champions League live streaming page for more information.
- PSG owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi rubbishes involvement in Man Utd takeover talks
- Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr pushing to sign Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri
- Al-Ittihad intensifying efforts to sign Joao Moutinho
- Brahim Diaz pens new contract at Real Madrid until 2027
- Arsenal agree fresh contract terms with William Saliba