Competition/Round: 2018/19 Champions League Season – Matchday 6
Date/Time: Manchester City v 1899 Hoffenheim – Wednesday 12 December 2018, 20:00 (UK & Nigeria); 15:00 EST, 12:00 PST (USA); 00:00 IST (India)
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Referee: Andreas Ekberg (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Mehmet Culum (SWE)
Assistant Referee 2: Stefan Hallberg (SWE)
Fourth Official: Fredrik Klyver (SWTV Info: BT Sport 1 (UK); NBCSN (USA)
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Radio: BBC Radio Five Live (UK); TalkSport Radio World (USA)
Manchester City face Hoffenheim in their final group match of this season’s Champions League as they try to seal top spot ahead of rivals Lyon. A draw against the Germans will be enough to top the group, but they must do so with just 15 players available.
The blues beat the German side 2-1 after conceding a goal in the first minutes of the match. However the blues rallied with a Sergio Aguero equaliser, before a last minute David Silva goal gave the bleus their first win in this season’s competition. But the blues will have to do without the Spanish magician after he was ruled out for ‘a few weeks’ with injury.
Silva joins an injury list that includes striker Sergio Aguero, midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, defenders Danilo and Benjamin Mendy and goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.
“I can’t rotate too much,” boss Pep Guardiola said today. “It’s about trying to finish first to have an advantage in the last 16. That stage is always tough, but in general the next Monday when there is a draw it’s a success we are there.
“Hoffenheim were incredible against Shakhtar Donetsk and they lost 3-2 on 27 November. It was incredible and fascinating to watch as a spectator. My admiration for them has increased. I knew about coach Julian Nagelsmann and his team, but now I realise how tough Wednesday will be.”
England winger Raheem Sterling is likely to play against the Germans, and will expect to receive strong support from the home fans following the racial abuse the 24 year old received during City’s 2-0 loss at Chelsea on Saturday, and Guardiola gave his full support to Sterling. “I think it is sad this happens still. Raheem is a strong guy, a tough guy, he knows how to handle it. He is still focused, playing good football, and will focus on the next game.”
City have been indifferent in the Champions League and lost their final game at this stage last season, but the blues had already qualified courtesy of five straight wins and sit three points clear of their French rivals, however, defeat for City together with a with for Lyon will see the blues finish in second place.
City will still be smarting from their defeat at Chelsea and will be looking for an improved performance against the German outfit. Although a draw will be enough, the blues never want to settle for a point and will go all out for a win.
City 3-0 Hoffenheim