Competition/Round: 2018/19 UEFA Champions League – Round of 16, Second Leg
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Referee: Clément Turpin
Assistants: Nicolas Danos, Cyril Gringore
Fourth Official: Ruddy Buquet
VAR: Nicolas Rainville, François Letexier
TV Info: BT Sport 2 (UK); Galavision (USA)
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Radio: BBC Radio Manchester (UK)
Much has changed since these two sides faced each other last month. Manchester City now hold a slender advantage at the top of the English Premier League whilst Schalke 04’s nine point gap above the Bundesliga’s relegation zone has been cut to four. Simply put, these two sides are in two very different positions at this stage of the 2018/19 season.
Manchester City overcame a stubborn Watford side on Saturday, which saw winger Raheem Sterling record a hat-trick. City have now won five of their last five matches in all competitions, albeit one of their victories came via a penalty shootout.
Meanwhile, Schalke are winless in their last five matches in all competitions, having drawn once and lost four. Moreover, they have been outscored by their opponents by four to 14. Schalke have struggled for goals this season, and with their inability to keep a clean sheet, die Knappen may have to prioritize league survival over this UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie.
Manchester City are without the injured Aymeric Laporte, Claudio Bravo and Kevin De Bruyne. Nicolás Otamendi and Fernandinho (who is also injured) are suspended.
Schalke 04’s Alessandro Schöpf is injured and will not feature in this match. Bastian Oczipka, Weston McKennie and Yannick Gerhardt are doubtful.
Ederson; Walker, Stones, Kompany, Zinchenko; B. Silva, Gündoğan, D. Silva; Sterling, Agüero, Sané
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Nübel; Bruma, Sané, Nastasić; Caligiuri, Stambouli, Bentaleb, Mendyl; Embolo, Skrzybski; Burgstaller
Manager: Domenico Tedesco
Manchester City made things difficult in the first leg. After going ahead through Sergio Agüero, the Blues conceded two unnecessary penalties to give Schalke the lead. A Nicolás Otamendi double booking saw the Mancunian club reduced to ten men, but the traveling side found a way and won the match 2-3. They now hold a slender advantage with their away goals, but Schalke 04 showed grit during the first leg and will look for revenge in the second leg.
As previously stated, Schalke are struggling in the Bundesliga, and should things continue to go poorly, they could find themselves in the relegation zone by the end of the season. With this in mind, die Knappen may prioritize their league survival over this Champions League fixture. Alternatively, this will be the only opportunity that the German side could win silverware this season.
Overall, Manchester City have turned a corner with their form since their loss to Newcastle United, and the Blues are now running rampant in their respective competitions. Schalke will prove to be a difficult opponent, but by full time the hosts will book their place to the Champions League Quarterfinals.
Manchester City 2-1 Schalke 04