Manchester City: Will the Etihad Stadium scene follow the shipwreck at the Bernabeu?

Conditions on the biggest day in Manchester City’s European history couldn’t be more bleak. Heavy rain and 7,968 spectators at Vienna’s Prater Stadium saw Sky Blue win the European Cup Winners’ Cup 2–1 final on 29 April 1970 against Gornick Zabrze.

After 52 years, the club is still waiting for the second title at European level, and it must finally succeed – in the Champions League. Team coach Pep Guardiola’s pick won the first leg of Real Madrid 4:3, “only” 4:3 you have to say. The Premier League leaders threw an attacking party against the La Liga champions and could have made the result even more meaningful.

“We started well and could have done it already,” said City star Phil Foden. “We have to make better use of our opportunities.” Since that didn’t work out at the Etihad, the first-class dream could explode again – as it has for ten straight years.

Champions League

Real Madrid – Manchester City live today on TV, live broadcast and live video

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The billions invested by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the main shareholder of the club since 2009, were mainly made to win the Champions League title. Against Madrid, Guardiola’s pick is clearly a favourite after this season’s performance.

fact. Because Real, along with Liverpool FC, is perhaps the only team that has the tools to bring Manchester City to its knees.

Eurosport.de names the top three reasons:

1.) Cibeles the Fountain of Youth

Real Madrid wrote on their website: “Madridissimo had a magical moment once again.” Just in the weekend, the royals completed their 35th championship with a 4-0 victory over Espanyol Barcelona – and with an even better win than BLF. Then Captain Marcelo naturally spoke of “the best club in the world”. The 4-0 home defeat in the Clasico in March finally ended, and arch-rivals FC Barcelona are 15 points behind in the standings. The title was traditionally celebrated at the Cibeles Fountain in central Madrid.

Party in Madrid: Real celebrate their 35th championship

“It’s a lot of feelings for me,” right winger Rodrigo said after the celebration in Cibeles. An experience that will unleash an additional force against Manchester City (Wednesday from 9:00 pm on the live tape at Eurosport.de). Coach Carlo Ancelotti’s side could not gain more self-confidence – Sibelis as a kind of fountain of youth for the royal team.

Meanwhile, Manchester City have to manage a balancing act to maintain tension in both the League and the European Cup. City easily beat Newcastle United 4-0 last weekend, but Liverpool are one point behind the leaders.

2.) Benzema factor

The forward’s hymns of praise did not stop for weeks. That’s right. Karim Benzema is Real’s offensive life insurance. The Frenchman has scored in eight of his ten Champions League matches this season, 14 times in total. Benzema has scored nine goals in the past four knockout matches. “It was hard to find words for what he’s doing – week after week,” said teammate David Alaba. “Especially this season, it’s incredible and we’re really happy that he’s with us.”

Karim Benzema

Image source: Getty Images

The first leg showed how heavy the Benzema factor is. City was about to dismantle Real into all of its individual parts. The score was 2-0 after just 11 minutes, and the hosts pressed for the third goal – until Benzema used a cold cross and hit it in the 33rd minute to make it 2-1. When City threatened to rush in again in the second half with a 4-2 lead, the 34-year-old fired a penalty kick into the net in Panenka style.

In the second leg, the goalkeeper announced that he would do “something magical” with the team. It cannot be excluded that the attacker will then take the full risk again. “I have great confidence in myself,” Benzema explained. This means that strokes of genius like Banenka’s penalty are crowned with success.

3.) Manchester’s hidden weakness

Is Manchester City suffering from real weakness? Better not. The English heroes are so dominant that it is hard to criticize them. Admittedly, unlike Liverpool (Mohamed Salah), Tottenham (Heung-min Son) and Manchester United (Cristiano Ronaldo), City don’t have the best player to read from the Premier League’s top scorer list.
However, the leaders in the league have the second best attack in the league with 84 goals, only because the burden of the goal is spread over more shoulders, notably that of Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez – or more recently Gabriel Jesus. Mahrez, City’s top scorer, is currently “only” sixth in the world rankings, but Manchester’s versatility in attack can certainly be interpreted as strength.

Manchester City-Real Madrid: Benzema in a duel with Cinchenko

Image source: Getty Images

Even more surprising was the statement of coach Guardiola, who revealed what may be the only weakness of his players shortly before Christmas. “We are not good defenders individually,” the Spaniard explained. In fact, it is noticeable that City did not perform well defensively in singles matches. Especially when the opponent was also looking for possession or was able to create counterattacks. Guardiola faces the problem with a ball-oriented style of play.

The 51-year-old said: “The ball is the only reason for your stability. When your midfielders have possession of the ball, you are stable behind them and you have good chances to move forward in the match.” With this, Manchester managed to hide the secret weakness in the defense. Only: Real Madrid also masters this system with their excellent midfield squad. The more possession the home team has at the Bernabéu, the more dangerous it is for the city’s defence.

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