Manchester City - Real Madrid should be an absolute classic in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 on Friday (start time 3:00 PM ET) at the Etihad Stadium.
Pep Guardiola and Man City have a 2-1 lead since the first leg in Madrid in late February before the coronavirus pandemic brought play to a halt, when Kevin de Bruyne put on a masterful display at the Santiago Bernabéu to give the City. Since then, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) overturned the ban on the Champions League and Real won the League, as Zinedine Zidane's team was in imperative form after the restart.
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With midfield and attacking stars dazzling both teams, this is not a match you will want to miss, as the quarter-final stage onwards will take place in Lisbon, Portugal. Manchester City are favorites to win the Champions League, their holy grail, but the most successful team in the competition's history stands in their way.
Check out the latest Manchester City - Real Madrid team news, betting odds, how to watch and broadcast, score prediction and more below.
Manchester City have no worries about further injuries, as Sergio Agüero remains their main absentee at the top after undergoing knee surgery in June. Guardiola hopes his star forward will be fit enough to play later this month if City reach the semi-finals and final in Portugal. Benjamin Mendy is suspended, so Joao Cancelo is likely to start as a left back.
Real Madrid have named their 24-man squad and Zidane has left Gareth Bale and James Rodríguez at home.Captain and legendary center Sergio Ramos has been suspended from the first round but will travel with the team to Manchester. Mariano Diaz does not appear after testing positive for coronavirus.
What are they saying
Manchester City midfielder Rodri is full of confidence before facing Real: “I am very confident. It's a great team and they can beat you, because it's Real Madrid, but we have to show them that we are a better team. We show them at his home, but we have to be prepared because you never know what will happen. We have to be focused. They are the best team in La Liga and they have shown it this year. We have to do everything we can to get to the next round. "
Raphael Varane speaks that the experience in the great game of Real is key: “We are aware of the excellent job we have done in recent years. It doesn't happen often. We try to remember those days to keep working hard and try to get something out of that experience. We know that little things can make a difference in games like this. We have a lot of experience in these big games so we can feel safe. We are as determined as before. Our goal is to win, and that is partly due to the DNA of this club. We always want to put the past aside, move on and win.
Odds and finals (full Champions League odds)
Bookmakers believe host Manchester City (-139) is the favorite, but watch out for Real Madrid (+320) with nothing to lose and plenty to gain, especially with Hazard, Benzema and Rodrygo looking so good in the last few weeks. The tie at +340 seems like the best bet here.
This is a really difficult one to call. Man City were excellent after the restart in the Premier League but lost to Southampton and Chelsea, plus they lost to Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final. Defensive woes remain the key issue for Guardiola and Real's star attacking lineup could expose that weakness. Real Madrid have been better defensively and have won handsomely on their way to La Liga, but Zidane's guys have to go for this and that will leave a lot of holes behind, especially without Ramos. I'm going to make a 2-2 draw that will only see Man City pass.
Stream Manchester City - Real Madrid
Date: August 7
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester - 1 second round (Man City lead 2-1 from first city)