The Blues are to face the Bundesliga’s RB Leipzig on Wednesday night, being the first game of the group stages for the Champions League. City are facing a difficult group, coining the infamous term ‘group of death’ with Belgium team Club Brugge and Ligue 1’s Paris Saint German completing group A.
City are no strangers to the Champions League, having qualified every year since 2011. Despite progressing to the final in last years 2020/21 campaign, Guardiola’s team just struggled against a strong Chelsea team under Thomas Tuchel. The defeat in the final last season means gaining that illustrious trophy has never been more important, not only to Pep and the players, but for the fans too.
On paper the Blues emerge with the stronger team in comparison to RB Leipzig, with the likes of Ruben Dias and John Stones solidifying a fortified defence, and huge depth in regards to options for Pep in midfield, it would seem likely that City should cruise past the Germans.
Nonetheless, RB Leipzig should not be overlooked. They advanced deep into the 2019/20 campaign by beating the likes of Tottenham and Athletico Madrid to reach the semi-finals. 2020/21 campaign saw a less successful run, with Leipzig being knocked out by Liverpool 4-0 in the round of 16. Leipzig have also faced PSG in the group stages before, knocking out Manchester United last season to gain second place in group H.
This will be the first meeting between City and RB Leipzig in European competition. After winning their first two UEFA Champions League games against Premier League opposition, both being that of Tottenham, RB Leipzig have lost three of their last four such fixtures in the competition.
Whilst the Blues are unbeaten in their last 17 games in the group stage of the Champions League (W13 D4), with their last such defeat coming in September 2018 versus Lyon. Since Guardiola took charge of Manchester City, they have only lost three of their 30 games in the group stage of the competition (W20 D7). Despite the possibility of RB Leipzig upsetting the apple cart, City are now seasoned in their group stage abilities and Pep’s team know how to win these early games with relative ease.