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Preview: RB Leipzig vs Manchester City – prediction, team news, line-ups

Manchester City’s Champions League title defence continues against familiar foes as they head to the Red Bull Arena to encounter RB Leipzig.

The two clubs owned by the most famous groups that own multiple football clubs in Europe and other continents are no strangers to each other.

Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering side dismantled the Bundesliga powerhouse 8-1 on aggregate in last season’s round of 16 en route to lifting ‘Big Ears’ for the first time in club history.

It’s been less than six months since Leipzig succumbed to a humiliating 7-0 rout at the Etihad Stadium, so Marco Rose’s men will have revenge on their minds come Wednesday. 

Unlike last season, this new-look Die Roten Bullen side has proved a formidable opposition, most recently witnessed by a goal-glutted 2-2 home draw against perennial German champions Bayern Munich.

Despite taking a 2-0 cushion at half-time thanks to Lois Openda and Castello Lukeba, Leipzig had to settle for a point in Saturday’s mouth-watering showdown at the Red Bull Arena. 

But they should still have a psychological edge over Man City, who suffered their first defeat of the 2023/24 Premier League campaign following a flawless six-game start.

Guardiola’s depleted line-up was on the receiving end of a 2-1 scoreline against bottom-half underachievers Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux. 

Even though Julian Alvarez scored a sensational free-kick, the Cityzens fell victim to numerous injuries and Rodri’s suspension, relinquishing a six-game winning streak against Wolves. 

Since ‘every tradition is made to be broken,’ last season’s treble winners will look forward to this road trip, knowing they’ve failed to win both previous away matches against Leipzig (D1, L1).

Match Preview

As you could’ve watched via our Champions League live streams, Leipzig squeezed past Young Boys in the opening round, eking out a precious 3-1 win on the road. 

That result forms part of Die Roten Bullen’s impressive seven-game unbeaten run across all competitions (W6, D1) since going down 3-2 to Bayer Leverkusen in their curtain-raising Bundesliga outing.

However, Rose’s men haven’t fared well against English clubs, picking up just one win in their last six such match-ups (D1, L4), with the abovementioned humbling at the Etihad capping off that rotten spell. 

The Red Bull Arena has been their safe shelter, with Leipzig avoiding defeat in all four previous home encounters against Premier League visitors in European football (W3, D1).

Man City’s fixture schedule in the upcoming period is as challenging as it gets, with high-profile clashes against Arsenal and Brighton & Hove Albion awaiting the Cityzens in the wake of their trip to Germany.

Guardiola’s side need to build momentum ahead of those challenging Premier League tasks, and a quick peek into the history books identifies this game as a perfect chance to get back on track.

Since losing to Bayern in 2014, the perennial Premier League champions have gone from strength to strength against German adversaries, losing just once in 21 subsequent matches against Bundesliga clubs (W16, D4).

It’s no surprise Man City are odds-on favourites to top their Champions League group for the seventh season on the trot, having lost just twice in their last 30 outings at this juncture (W22, D6).

Team News

Leipzig captain Willi Orban headlines the list of injured players in the home camp, with Benjamin Henrichs, Dani Olmo, Timo Werner and El Chadaille Bitshiabu forming the remainder of the absence list.

Kevin De Bruyne will be the only high-profile absentee in the Man City squad after Guardiola received a double injury boost in the build-up to this travel, with Bernardo Silva and John Stones returning to the fold. 

RB Leipzig potential starting line-up:

(4-2-3-1): Janis Blaswich; Lukas Klostermann, Mohamed Simakan, Castello Lukeba, Daniel Raum; Xaver Schlager, Kevin Kampl; Xavi Simons, Emil Forsberg; Yussuf Poulsen, Lois Openda.

Manchester City potential starting line-up:

(4-2-3-1): Ederson; Kyle Walker, Manuel Akanji, Ruben Dias, Josko Gvardiol; Rodri, Mateo Kovacic; Phil Foden, Julian Alvarez, Jeremy Doku; Erling Haaland.

We Say: RB Leipzig 1-2 Manchester City

Both teams are more than capable of packing a punch, but we back Man City to post their first-ever win in Leipzig. 

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