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Ready for round two

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Real Madrid vs Man City UCL preview

Who’s ready for round two? Manchester City will try to get over last year’s nightmare as they travel to Real Madrid for the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinal fixture.

Manchester City’s UCL dreams were crushed last season by Real Madrid as the Cityzens inexplicably conceded two late goals to the serial UCL winners. Real Madrid went on to win the title as Manchester City were again left wondering what could have been.

This time, the stakes are even higher. Manchester City are on the verge of making history by becoming only the second English side to win a treble. Looking close to sealing the league, they face archrivals Manchester United in the FA Cup final as well.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, are coming on the back of a Copa del Rey victory which they hope would provide a momentum boost for this fixture. Having already lost the league to Barcelona, UEFA Champions League is once again their primary focus.

Nobody does it better than Los Blancos in the UCL, but there is no team better in the world right now than Manchester City. Will Real Madrid’s history and UCL nous come to the fore once again, or will Manchester City finally get over the hump this time, armed with their Norwegian cyborg Erling Haaland?

Here’s the Real Madrid vs Man City UCL preview (first leg)-

Real Madrid vs Man City lineups

Real Madrid predicted lineup

Real Madrid are getting healthy and gaining form at just the right time. The football world has seen this tale before. As UCL’s crunch time begins, Los Blancos find that extra gear in their game.

With Ferland Mendy being the only long-term injury worry in the squad, Carlo Ancelotti has a nearly full contingent to choose from.

Ageless Wonder Luka Modric returned to action in the Copa del Rey final against Osasuna and is expected to start here. He will resume his role as the all-action counterpart to Toni Kroos’ metronomic playmaking abilities. Federico Valverde’s industriousness and experience might be preferred over Aurelien Tchouameni to complete the midfield. Tchouameni will look to come off the bench and have an impact against tired legs later in the game.

In the defence, the selection is clearer. Thibaut Courtois is the undisputed first-choice goalkeeper and Andriy Lunin’s performances in limited appearances have given no reason for Ancelotti to think otherwise.

Antonio Rudiger and David Alaba will start in the middle of the defence with Dani Carvajal and refashioned full-back Eduardo Camavinga on either side. Eder Militao is unavailable for this fixture, making Rudiger’s entry into the team seamless.

The attack picks itself as Karim Benzema will expect to continue his hot streak in front of goal, flanked by the ever-improving Brazilian pair of Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr.

Predicted Real Madrid lineup: Courtois, Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Camavinga, Modric, Kroos, Valcerde, Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr, Benzema

Man City predicted lineup

Predicting Pep Guardiola’s lineup in a UCL knockout game is a fool’s errand. We’ll try anyways.

Manchester City have recently changed to a three-at-the-back formation to accommodate their myriad of attacking talents. While Guardiola might rein in the attacking instinct for this fixture, chances are he will continue with what’s not broken.

If that is the case, Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias should start alongside Kyle Walker as the three CBs. Walker is a better choice than Nathan Ake due to his recovery speed in dealing with counter-attacks.

John Stones should start in the middle of the park alongside Rodri in a change from the previous fixture against Leeds, where Guardiola rested many key players.

The attacking quarter might consist of Jack Grealish, who Guardiola values for his ball-retaining and foul-winning skills, with Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez, and Julian Alvarez. Phil Foden hasn’t been trusted often in big games this season and that is not about to change.

One selection that is not in doubt is Erling Haaland up top. The Erling Haaland records book has seen numerous new chapters added to it this season. Now he will aim to end the season with the biggest prize of them all.

Predicted Man City lineup: Ederson, Laporte, Dias, Walker, Stones, Rodri, Mahrez, Alvarez, Grealish, Silva, Haaland

Real Madrid vs Man City prediction

The good old “black magic” of Real Madrid or the better team in Manchester City? That’s the question in this tie. Real Madrid haven’t looked at their best this season as they have relinquished the La Liga title to Barcelona.

On the other hand, Manchester City have clicked after an underwhelming start to the season and now resemble a well-oiled winning machine.

Man City created numerous chances last year as well but were undone by Real Madrid’s clinical sucker punches. However, this time, City have a clinical striker of their own. Expect Erling Haaland to make the difference again as City march towards their maiden UCL title.

FootTheBall predicts Real Madrid 1-3 Man City.

Vatsal Gupta
A die-hard Red Devil, who has straight up not had a good time since 2012. Lives on Korean dramas and books and can often be heard talking about armchair psychological stuff.

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