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UCL Primer: A Conversation with Danish Football Expert Toke Theilade

A good look at our opponent.

UEFA Champions League 2023/24 Round of 16 Teams Jerseys Shoot Photo by Kristian Skeie - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

It’s a Danish adventure for Manchester City as they have been drawn to play FC Copenhagen. I was able to catch up with Toke Theilade of Vilfort Park to help get us up to speed with all things Copenhagen.

Bitter and Blue (BnB): 1 What can Manchester City expect with Copenhagen?

Toke Theilade: This match will be one of the absolute biggest in the history of the club. It is the second time they reach the knock out stage of the UCL, so they will try to make the most of it and be highly motivated.

However, we cant expect a Copenhagen side on the same level as the one we saw in the group stage as they don’t have any competitive matches until the first leg against Man City. The Danish Superliga is on winter break until the weekend after the first leg, so Copenhagen are entering the match up with only training games in the legs. This is a major weakness for all Nordic teams ahead of knock out games in the spring.

At the same time, it is unknown whether star player Kamil Grabara will remain at the club. He has already signed a contract with Wolfsburg for next season, but the Germans have a clause in the deal that allows them to get him in January already for a higher fee. It would be a huge loss for Copenhagen if they trigger this.

Generally, I would say City should expect a highly organized and well-prepared opponent. Copenhagen now have 2.5 months to prepare solely for the Man City match ups.

F.C. Copenhagen v Galatasaray A.S.: Group A - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

BnB: How has the season and UCL campaigns gone for Copenhagen thus far?

TT: Copenhagen were expected to finish last in their UCL group but they got an impressive second place after Bayern Munich. They played some great games against both Man United and Bayern at home, and the second place was definitely deserved.

However, it should of course also be noted that they met Man Utd at the right time with their crisis.

Domestically, they have struggled a bit to balance multiple tournaments, and they are only third in the league. However, this is a regular occurrence for Copenhagen as they prioritize European football in the spring, and then utilize their superior financial situation and squad depth to close the gap in the spring. They are only three points behind so there is no unrest or anything like that at the club over the domestic performances.

F.C. Copenhagen v Galatasaray A.S.: Group A - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 Photo by Ricardo Ramirez/NurPhoto via Getty Images

There you have it Cityzens. Thanks again to Toke for his time. You can follow Toke on Twitter/X @TokeTheilade and for all things Danish football check out the site Vilfort Park.