Manchester City have returned to the scene of their biggest disappointment in recent years. Sure City have lost in the UEFA Champions League several times in less-than-ideal circumstances, but last year Real Madrid really pulled the rug out from under Pep Guardiola’s side. City gave up three goals and their two-goal aggregate lead, all in the 90th minute or later, to lose the match, the semifinal, and their shot at making the UCL final for the second consecutive year.
So what happens this time around at the Santiago Bernabeu? The City Collective are here to let you know how they see this match unfolding. Captaining our squad of writers and content creators is Dillon Meehan of City Report.
Dillon Meehan (@IVIeehan ) - City Report
A chance for revenge. I used to be terrified of these matchups, honestly of any big match. But I’ve seen over past few seasons, this City team has changed. There’s a confidence and maturity about them, and this Real Madrid team doesn’t look close to what they were last year. It also doesn’t hurt that they’ll be without Militao and Mendy as well. I expect a very controlled boring affair.
Real Madrid 0-2 Manchester City
Saul Garcia (@BitterandBlue1) - Bitter and Blue
A huge match! City’s key will be Haaland being sharp and even then it’s Madrid. So, give me a sharp KDB as well and 2-2 draw even if part of me believes a two+ goal win is possible. A draw leaves all things for the return leg at home. Id be good with that.
Real Madrid 2-2 Manchester City
Adam Marrett (@AdamAdammarrett) - Man City Square
Well here we are. The Champions League Semi Final and Real Madrid again. Personally I’ve wanted to be back in this position, against them over two legs with the chance to right the wrong from a season. And here it is. I don’t think we could be better placed to go right at Real Madrid.
As for the game I think Real will be their usual selves in this competition. They haven’t had the best season in La Liga, but in the Champions League they’ve continued on as they normally do. Containing the threat of Benzema, Rodrygo & Vinicius Junior will go a long way. I feel this tie is tailor made for Kyle Walker to slot it at right back against Vinicius. Walker has the tools to keep him quiet as Walker has done to Mbappe and others at times, so for me it’s a big opportunity for Walker.
As for us I feel we’re better placed then a year ago. We come into the tie on the back of a 20 game unbeaten run, and looking like the best squad we’ve had for a Champions League run in Pep’s time at the club, and arguably in the club’s history in this competition. It’s time to seize this moment for the lads, and go to Madrid with no fear and go straight at them. I feel Haaland is a big difference to a year ago. He gives us a focal point up front we didn’t have a year ago, and he seems made for moments like this. Same with Kevin De Bruyne and his return from injury against Leeds is another bonus. Ake being out is a shame, but Akanji showed he can step in at left back against Bayern.
Another factor for me is Casemiro is no longer at Real Madrid. He’s been a key figure in their past success, and was a year ago and I do think without him, Real Madrid aren’t what they were a year ago. Time for our midfield to step up and show it.
Real Madrid 1-2 Manchester City
Crunk Chocolate (@crunkchocolate) - Shades of Blue Podcast
Manchester City travel to the Bernabeu in Champion’s League action. Pep & Company are on a 5 match winning streak that’s part of a 20 match unbeaten streak. Walker, Rodri, and Bernardo were not able to rest the entire Leeds match like I am sure Pep wanted. Ake is unavailable due to a recurring hamstring problem. Plenty of reasons to feel unsure about the first leg and yet there is a calm that covers me. Real Madrid’s performances in the last couple weeks have been inconsistent. La Liga glory is out of the question for Los Blancos pero Champion’s League brings another level out of Real Madrid. I do not think Real will come to the match ill equipped, lacking focus, or fatigued. City’s defense will be key in the first leg. We know our offense, given the time to miss a few chances can score on the best teams in the World. Haaland has had time to update his software, Pep has had time to open his third eye to see how the first 15 minutes will go, and Kevin De Bruyne’s legs are oiled and recalibrated. Pep can not have the control he wants thus will embrace Chaos Pep playing into the flow of the match.
Real Madrid 2-3 Manchester City
Craig Resnik-Hanson (@CraigSporticos) – Sporticos
So incredibly hard to predict. Madrid are in poor form domestically after rightfully giving up on La Liga. The problem is, that means nothing in the Champions League. The better team is quite clearly City, not only in terms of recent form but overall ability. We have a better squad, a better starting XI, a better coach. We are undoubtedly a better team than Real Madrid. However, that never seems to stop them from somehow winning the UCL. However, if they are to break our hearts and get another undeserved win, they’ll do it in the second leg. Look for Pep’s boys to establish a narrow lead going into the game at the Etihad.
Real Madrid 1-2 Manchester City
CITYZENDuck (@duckman4real)- Bitter and Blue
I believe City are the better side. They are in better form and have better fitness. They have been dominant over their last 20 matches. All things point to City stepping onto the pitch at the Bernabeu and proving that to Los Blancos. But this is the UEFA Champions League semifinal and this is Real Madrid. Madrid’s history in this competition tells you that no matter the circumstance, you must respect their ability to come up big in the biggest matches.
A draw would be a perfectly fine result of course. Heading back to Manchester just needing to outscore your opponent by one goal would have the Sky Blue supporters buzzing about another trip to the final. In spite of all of Real Madrid’s history of success in Europe however, I think this City side will return to the Etihad with much more. Give me a KDB/Haaland masterclass against a depleted Madrid defence, and what would a UCL semi be withouth a Phil Foden cracker? City leave Spain with the lead.
Real Madrid 1-3 Manchester City
There you are Cityzens. How do you feel about the match against Madrid? Let us know in the comments.