Home UEFA Champions League Manchester City vs Schalke match build up

Manchester City vs Schalke match build up

Guardiola’s side travel to Germany for the last-16 first leg on Wednesday. “It is a special competition, we have to control our emotions,” said Guardiola. “We are confident and it is important to score away an goal.”

Pep Guardiola says Manchester City have “many dreams in our heads” ahead of their Champions League knockout-stage match against Schalke.

City have never won the competition but are strong favourites to reach the quarter-finals.

Spaniard Guardiola won the competition twice as Barcelona boss, but the last of those came in 2011. He failed to lift the trophy in his three seasons at Bayern Munich as is now into his third season with City.

Midfielder Kevin de Bruyne said it will be “nearly impossible” for Premier League champions City to win a quadruple of trophies this season.

Manchester City

“I believe the team is better after three seasons,” said Guardiola. “We know each other much, much better. When we lost at Newcastle people weren’t saying we were the best in Europe.

“You have to be yourself. If you expect it, you don’t do your best performance and you will be out. Every single second you must be focused. After we will see. We will try.”

Familiar faces return

Schalke are struggling in the Bundesliga, sitting in 14th place, nine points above the relegation zone. They could give a start to Wales defender Rabbi Matondo, who they signed from City for £9.6m in the January transfer window.

The 18-year-old failed to make a first-team appearance at City but has played three times for the German side so far.

Germany international winger Leroy Sane could face his old club, having joined City from Schalke for £37m in 2016. The visitors will be without defender John Stones, who has a groin problem and forward Gabriel Jesus, who has a hamstring injury.

Schalke boss Domenico Tedesco said: “There is nothing like a knockout match in the Champions League against a team that is one of the best in the world.

“We’ve worked a lot to be able to play such a game and have fun. Logically, we see a chance of winning, but of course we aren’t the favourites.

“Manchester City are a very strong team, we will need a red-letter day and have to give it our all.”

City strong favourites

Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis, Gracenote:

“Manchester City are given an 88% chance of progress to the quarter-finals by the Euro Club Index (ECI). This is by far the highest of any of the four English clubs in this round before their first legs.

“City’s opponents Schalke are the lowest-ranked team remaining in the competition in 31st place on the ECI.”

Match stats

  • Schalke and City are facing each other in a third European competition after the Cup Winners’ Cup (1969/70 semi-final) and UEFA Cup (2008/09 group stages).
  • In April 1970, City beat Schalke 5-2 on aggregate in the Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final – they would later win their first and only European trophy with a 2-1 victory in the final against Gornik Zabrze.
  • City are unbeaten in their last seven Champions League games against German opponents (W6 D1) since a 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in September 2014 – current City boss Pep Guardiola was in charge of Bayern that day.
  • Schalke have been knocked out in the round of 16 in each of their last three Champions League appearances – 2010/11 was the last time they made it past that stage, reaching the semi-finals.
  • Schalke are unbeaten in their last nine European home games (W6 D3) – they last went longer without a home defeat between July 2003 and November 2004 (11 games). They are looking to win three consecutive home Champions League games for the first time since April 2011, when they reached the semi-final of the competition.
  • Schalke scored six goals in this season’s group stages, the lowest tally of the 16 clubs left in the competition, with five of those six goals coming after half-time. However, only Borussia Dortmund (5) kept more clean sheets than Schalke (4).
  • City have lost five of their eight Champions League knockout games away from home, winning two (Dynamo Kiev in February 2016, Basel in February 2018) and drawing one.
  • No Schalke player scored more than one goal or delivered more than one assist in this season’s Champions League group stages.
  • No player delivered more assists than City’s Riyad Mahrez in the Champions League group stages this season (4, level with Kylian Mbappé and Memphis Depay).
  • Guardiola has won the Champions League on two occasions as a manager (2009 & 2011, both with Barcelona); a third trophy would equal Zinedine Zidane, Carlo Ancelotti and Bob Paisley’s record. He’s also reached the semi-finals in seven of his nine previous seasons as manager but hasn’t made the final since 2011.

Source: BBC News