I’m not even going to stress winning. I just want effort.
I want an effort because City doesn’t seem to provide a huge push on European nights. There, I said it. We all have thought about it, we all have heard about it from others. But it’s true, City in Europe are not the same side as City in England. Let’s all be honest, we should’ve beaten Juventus handily, we had the opportunities to do so and given Juventus’ form, it seems as if the game from a fortnight ago was just an anomaly to their otherwise shoddy start to the season.
City make the journey to Northwest Germany to face 1970s powerhouse turned recent upstart Borussia Mönchengladbach (I’ve committed memory to learning how to spell it without reference, it’s not as bad once you break it down as Munching Glad Wraps) who have started out the season equally as shoddy at 2-0-5 and within two spots of the Bundesliga relegation zone. Gladbach faced Sevilla in the opening night of European play and failed miserably, gifting the Spanish side with three penalties and ultimately losing three goals to nil. However, what got them there was spectacular form in the second half of last year under Lucien Favre, having the best record in the Bundesliga in that period. The team that showed incredible organization under Favre was considered to be another entrant in the "Group of Death" that doesn’t seem to have a clear cut leader after a month and a half of football.
Two weeks ago Gladbach sacked Favre and brought in interim manager Andre Schubert, who has guided them to two consecutive wins and a more free flowing system. Gladbach has scored seven goals in those two matches, and while the team has no clear cut leader, the former home of Marco Reus is playing more like the team that they were for the greater part of last season. They’re a hard working bunch, and losing a few key players in the summer transfer window, notably Bayer 04 loanee Christoph Kramer, Mönchengladbach are lacking in the midfield and quite fragile defensively.
At any other time, this would play directly in the hands of their opponents. But, Typical City, right? The Blues are coming off a disappointing loss to Tottenham Hotspur that saw the defense carved up like a pumpkin. Sure, there were questionable calls and the spine of the team was greatly disjointed, Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, and Mangala were out with injuries, Fernando received his first start of the year and Yaya Toure, who also left with injury replaced David Silva who was ailing from a knock. City still fielded a team with immense talent, albeit little chemistry, and as we all know from playing Fifa Ultimate Team, if the players don’t link up, winning will be difficult.
Offensively, City need a boost from Sergio Agüero. Agüero has come off the blocks quite slow this year and looks a bit off since taking his knock against Crystal Palace. He’s getting plenty of opportunity, but the final ball has been lacking. He’ll be without backups Wilfred Bony and Kelechi Iheanacho, so carrying the load will be on Kün’s shoulders. Kevin De Bruyne has been a God send for the team, doing everything for the squad and more -- what I would personally like to see is more production from Raheem Sterling, who has seemed to cool off after starting off the season in such great form and pace. David Silva isn’t fully fit, although he has traveled with the squad, so don’t be surprised if you see him in the second half the game. For more on how City will line up, you can check it out here.
No one outside of the club expects City to do anything in Europe, and with recent results in Germany, history isn’t on our side. City have lost three of their last four matches in Germany and seven out of their last eleven Champions League fixtures. We love to give up goals, too —Keeping only four clean sheets in our last twenty nine games. Fortunately for them, Joe Hart is ready to play, and although Kompany and Mangala will miss the match, having Hart between the sticks is a bit more comfortable than Willy Caballero (sorry Willy). Manuel Pellegrini stated that the team has not had "failure" in Europe under his tenure as manager, but we can all agree that the time of "just being happy to be here" has ended, and all City fans want is an effort.