Manchester City are set to host RB Leipzig in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie. After having drawn 1-1 in Germany last month, the Manc Blues will be looking for a boost from the Etihad crowd to see them through to the Quarterfinals. Sky Blue News has all the latest to get you ready for a huge matchday ahead.
Indeed, as the final furlongs of the campaign approach, City find ourselves in the midst of a thrilling Premier League title race with Arsenal, while an FA Cup quarter-final with Burnley also beckons.
However, we must first get the better of Die Roten Bullen, with the current aggregate score at 1-1 ahead of the second leg.
And for Gundogan, each of City’s encounters could prove significant in our overall success across 2022/23, regardless of the competition or opponent.
SHOP THE ILKAY GUNDOGAN RANGE
“At this point [of the season] not many anymore to be honest,” the midfielder explained when asked for the differences in approach between league and cup fixtures.
“It may be different at the beginning of the season when you’ve played less games [but] now, especially in the league I think every game feels like a knockout game, like a final.
“That’s the same now for the remainder of the FA Cup and the Champions League.
“Every game is going to be like a final and that’s how we have to play those types of games as well.”
Manchester City v RB Leipzig Leg 2: Preview, Team News and Prediction - Saul Garcia - Bitter and Blue
City are fresh off a nice win vs Crystal Palace in London, meanwhile RBL come off a 3-0 thrashing over Gladbach.
This has all the makings of a fun match as the teams will be high octane and flying here. Expect the midfield to dictate the match and City’s should be up for that challenge.
It should be a tense and high actioned affair. The styles both clubs play could make for a really fun match.
It should be a tense match.
Manchester City v RB Leipzig Leg 2: Preview, Team News and Prediction https://t.co/pNQvNwqMcI— Bitter and Blue (@BitterandBlue1) March 13, 2023
Pep Guardiola names one thing Kevin De Bruyne must do ‘better’ to improve Man City form - Michael Plant - Manchester World
Guardiola has questioned De Bruyne’s form a few times this season and in October claimed he can ‘be better’. The 31-year-old has also started three of the last seven Premier League games on the bench, with his status as an undroppable star no longer intact.
And speaking ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash against RB Leipzig, Guardiola was asked about De Bruyne’s standards this season. “It’s been a difficult season I would say for all of us, me included, for the World Cup and many things,” he responded.
“So I’d say the same, I’m not going to discover Kevin. Kevin has an ability to do it. What I’d like is to go to the easy principles and do it well. He has an incredible ability to make an assist, to score goals and see passes like anyone else.
“But I always believe they will increase and will get better when the simple things, like don’t lose the ball, the mobility, the incredible capacity to be active in the movement, the simple things, do it again better and better. When this is going to happen, the rest will come along.
“I would not like to have the feeling that… it’s like Erling [Haaland] I don’t want him to just score goals and the rest I don’t care. So he will score and he will be involved in the game, in our game to be involved it means that you run inside of the game, the ball is coming and you will put in the net.
“With Kevin it’s the same. When the simple things are done perfectly, we are in the right moment, move outside and inside when we have to attack the channels or whatever you do or feel in that moment, the actions to create incredible passes that only he can find, will be easier, it will be better.”
“Tomorrow we’re going to suffer” - Pep Guardiola and Kevin De Bruyne pre RB Leipzig Press Conference - Colin Cranmer - City Report
Pep Guardiola and Kevin De Bruyne spoke to the press ahead of Manchester City’s Champions League last 16 second leg at the Etihad Stadium against RB Leipzig on Tuesday night. The pair discussed City’s current form, the opposition threat, and the club’s desire to win the competition.
PL representation in the UCL:
“Chelsea went through. We see what happens with Liverpool. I’m not thinking about the pressure of defending the UK. Every team in the past goes 2, 3, 4 teams in the quarter finals from same country, everyone says it’s the best league. This league is good, like Spain, Germany, Italy. This competition, like FA Cup, one game, two games, many things are involved. Things you can’t control, I’m not a fan to make theories that - the result depends who you are.”
Is the UCL special?
“Absolutely, is a lovely competition, it is so nice! Playing the teams from another part of Europe. The same teams, stadiums in England. So nice to be there in Europe, show our club all around Europe. I like it!”
Are you ready to " " tomorrow? :— City Report (@cityreport_) March 13, 2023
“Something to think about” – Kevin De Bruyne unsure on how remainder of Manchester City career could plan out - Harry Winters - City Xtra
Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is unsure how the remainder of his career could plan out, as the Belgian international seeks to win more silverware during his eighth campaign at the Etihad Stadium.
De Bruyne, who joined Manchester City from Wolfsburg in 2015, has helped the Blues to 11 trophies, including four Premier League titles during his time at the club so far.
The midfielder has registered 98 assists and scored 61 Premier League goals in 235 league appearances, while also helping the Blues reach the UEFA Champions League semi-finals on three occasions and a maiden final in 2021.
The 31 year-old has made 34 appearances for City so far this season and despite some questions marks surrounding his recent form, the Belgian midfielder is as motivated as ever to continue to play at the highest level.
“I’m a perfectionist. Whatever I do in football, normal life. I want to be 100%,” said De Bruyne.
“If I think about it [the future] right now, I want to stay as high as possible for as long as possible. It’s not only my decision. Something to think about”
De Bruyne, who turns 32 in June, also discussed whether his age could lead to an eventual positional change, as he once again joked about being an “old man” within the game.
“I’m an old man in this game, I’m not an old man. I’m pretty young. I know how it works, when people talk about you, you notice these things a lot more.
‘Perfectionist’ Kevin De Bruyne offers update on long-term Man City future - Joe Bray - Manchester Evening News
De Bruyne is under contract at City until 2025, which will bring his stay at the Etihad to 10 years. The 31-year-old has come under the spotlight for a dip in his usual high standards of late, but he has since come out fighting to insist he has plenty more to give at the top level of football.
Expanding on his ‘old man’ comments, De Bruyne admitted he doesn’t have a plan for when he will think about retirement.
“I know how it is. When you’re 18, 19 you notice these things a lot more and you know where it comes from,” he said. “When people talk about form and how people play, it’s give and take. I know how to manage that. I don’t know how long I’m going to play. As long as I’m having fun I will play football. Obviously there will be a day where it will end but I’m not able to think about that yet.
And finally... Man City are looking to equal a bit of European history with a victory against Leipzig.
Manchester City looking to equal Arsenal’s unbeaten home record in Champions League - Oliver Thomas - Sports Mole
The Citizens were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Germany three weeks ago, with Riyad Mahrez’s first-half strike cancelled out by a second-half header from reported City transfer target Josko Gvardiol.
Nevertheless, Pep Guardiola’s men will fancy their chances of booking their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the sixth successive season when they welcome Leipzig to the blue side of Manchester for the second time in as many years.
Indeed, the Citizens secured a thrilling 6-3 home triumph over Die Roten Bullen in the group stage of last season’s Champions League on their way to qualifying for the knockout rounds.
Man City boast a remarkable unbeaten home record in Europe’s premier club competition, winning 21 and drawing two of their last 23 matches at the Etihad dating back to November 2018.
Guardiola’s side have scored a total of 71 goals during this run, netting at least twice on 20 occasions, while they have only conceded 19 times and have kept 10 clean sheets in the process.
Should the Citizens avoid defeat against Leipzig on Tuesday, they will equal Arsenal’s record for the longest unbeaten home run by an English club in Champions League history.
The Gunners, who have not competed in the Champions League for the last seven years, put together a 24-game unbeaten home run between September 2004 and April 2009, during a period when they swapped Highbury for the Emirates Stadium.
There you have it. All set for a crucial clash with RB Leipzig. Stay with Bitter and Blue throughout the day for all the buildup and follow @BitterandBlue1 on Twitter to keep up with all the reaction. Come back tomorrow for the latest from Sky Blue News.