Manchester City travel to Gelsenkirchen to take on Schalke 04 in the Champions League Round of 16 on Wednesday evening.
City only lost one game in the Champions League group stages as they topped Group F to qualify for the knockout rounds. Pep Guardiola’s side have been in tremendous form since their dip in December. City’s busy schedule has seen them play 12 fixtures over various competitions since the New Year, winning 11 times and scoring 46 goals along the way.
Schalke, on the other hand, have experienced a painful Bundesliga season. Domenico Tedesco’s first year at the Veltins Arena was hugely successful, finishing behind Bayern in second place, but this year he finds his team lingering in the bottom half of the table. The Champions League however has been a welcomed relief for Schalke. Die Königsblauen finished second in a tough group and like Manchester City they only lost one game during the group stages.
City beat Newport Count 4-1 at the weekend while Schalke were held to a goalless draw with Freiburg as both sides warmed up for this exciting UCL tie.
Check out 90min's preview of the upcoming fixture below.
Where to Watch
|When Is the Match?||Wednesday 20 February|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||20:00 (BST)|
|Where Is it Being Played?||Veltins Arena|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||BT Sport 2|
The hosts are expected to be without Steven Skrzybski, Alessandro Schopf and former Spurs defender 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 visit of the English Champions.
Schalke have been boosted by the return of striker Guido Burgstaller, who made a late appearance during the goalless draw with Freiburg. Welsh winger Rabbi Matondo, who signed for Schalke after leaving Man City in January, made his first start at the weekend and could stay in the starting XI against his former employers.
City face no new injury news after the win over Newport. Guardiola made seven changes to the side that thumped Chelsea 6-0 in the Premier League and it should be expected that more changes will be made for Champions League duty. Phil Foden may have staked a claim to earn a starting spot following his brace on Saturday in the FA Cup.
|Schalke 04||Fährmann; Caligiuri, Sane, Nastasic, Oczipka; Bentaleb, McKennie, Harit, Konoplyanka; Kutucu, Burgstaller.|
|Manchester City||Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Gündogan; Sterling, Sane, Agüero.|
This will the fourth meeting between the teams in European competition.
The last time the sides met came back in the 2008 Uefa Cup group stages. Goals from Stephen Ireland and Benjani secured a 2-0 victory for Man City the last time they visited the Veltins Arena.
Schalke and City also contested the Uefa Cup Winners' Cup semi-finals in 1970. City progressed to the final with 6-3 aggregate scoreline and went on to lift the cup which, to this day, remains their only European trophy.
The Citizens have been in great form all season but have showed in recent weeks how they are capable of winning back to back Premier League titles. Guardiola's men have won all four games in February including two massive wins over Arsenal and Chelsea.
Schalke are currently experiencing another bad run of form in the league. Tedesco’s side have only one win in five league outings as they sit in 14th place in the Bundesliga. Schalke have favoured cup competitions this season though, as they beat Fortuna Düsseldorf 4-1 at the Veltins Arena earlier this month in the DFB Pokal.
|Schalke 04||Manchester City|
|Schalke 04 0-0 SC Freiburg (16/2)||Newport County 1-4 Manchester City (16/2)|
|Bayern Munich 3-1 Schalke 04 (9/2)||Manchester City 6-0 Chelsea (10/2)|
|Schalke 04 4-1 Düsseldorf (6/2)||Everton 0-2 Manchester City (6/2)|
|Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-0 Schalke 04 (2/2)||Manchester City 3-1 Arsenal (3/2)|
|Schalke 04 2-2 Hertha Berlin (25/1)||Newcastle United 2-1 Manchester City (29/1)|
Schalke were written off as soon as they were drawn to play City and will face a tough two-legged fixture. City are full of confidence at the moment and will head to Germany with the mindset of finishing the game off early in the first leg. Guardiola’s men have been scoring for fun recently and Schalke will be reliant on Ralph Fährmann to keep the damage to a minimum.
The Champions League always throws up surprise results and giant killings but expect a professional performance from the English champions over the two legs.
Prediction: Schalke 04 0-2 Manchester City