The UEFA Champions League has returned for our viewing pleasure and the Round of 16 tie has pitched us against Schalke 04. The German side had a magnificent season last year, finishing with 63 points in second place behind the champions Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.
Their boss Domenico Tedesco had his side playing free -flowing, attacking football last season which resulted in memorable victories against Borussia Dortmund and the highly-rated RB Leipzig. But this season has been completely the opposite with them sitting currently in 14th place. The Champions League will come as a welcome break for them and in fact they only lost one game in their tough group just like the blues.
In terms of Manchester City’s travelling party, it was announced that John Stones, Benjamin Mendy, Gabriel Jesus and Fabian Delph had not travelled with the team. However, Vincent Kompany has travelled following his return from injury.
The hosts are expected to be without Steven Skrzybski, Alessandro Schopf and Benjamin Stambouli. All three players have missed the past four games for Schalke with injuries. Breel Embolo has been a long term absentee with a fractured foot and will also miss the game.
Schalke’s top scorer Guido Burgstaller has been injured recently and this has unsurprisingly coincided with Schalke’s poor form. But a few minutes game time in their 0-0 draw with Freiburg at the weekend may mean he is set to return to the starting XI on Wednesday night.
Another player Manchester City will have to watch out for is the recently transferred winger Rabbi Matondo who made the switch to Germany in the January transfer window, following in the footsteps of Jadon Sancho. The blues will be well-aware of his capabilities, most notably his incredible speed.
City have faced Schalke only three times in our entire history. The most recent of them meetings coming in 2008 when we travelled to the Veltins Arena in the UEFA Cup. On that day, Manchester City ran out convincing 0-2 winners in an impressive performance which saw Stephen Ireland and Benjani get the goals.
The Blues will be hoping to secure progress in the quarter-finals as soon as possible and could do that with a convincing win in Germany on Wednesday night.
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