Manchester City take on Real Madrid in the Champions League at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night (8pm). The Citizens will be desperate to take an advantage back to the Etihad Stadium in three weeks’ time.
Pep Guardiola will know that this could be the last Champions League away day for City fans until 2023 due to UEFA sanctions.
The manager has an excellent record at the Bernabeu, however, and he’ll be hoping to extend that run.
Guardiola has only lost once as a manager against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, in eight visits.
He won five of those games against Los Blancos; all of which came as Barcelona boss.
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But, the Citizens will definitely be without Leroy Sane for the trip to the Spanish capital.
Sane has been out of action since the Community Shield in August, but fans were hoping to see the German’s return before the latter stages of the Champions League kicked off.
Sane was involved in training on Tuesday morning, in Manchester.
But the club revealed later in the day that he wasn’t included in the 22-man squad that travelled to Madrid.
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Elsewhere, there’s doubts over the fitness of Raheem Sterling, who hasn’t featured for City since the 2-0 defeat to Tottenham, before the winter break.
He’s been included in the squad, but it’s touch and go whether he’ll make the team due to his ongoing recovery from a hamstring injury.
Otherwise, there’s a full contingent available to Guardiola, including Aymeric Laporte.
Laporte has just come back from a lengthy spell on the treatment table, and is yet to play 90 minutes since his return.
But, Guardiola has confirmed that he thinks Laporte will be starting for City.
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Ederson will be continuing in goal for City, with Claudio Bravo on the bench.
Kyle Walker has been excellent this season, and he’ll start ahead of Joao Cancelo, while Oleksandr Zinchenko could start ahead of Benjamin Mendy.
Guardiola may choose to play John Stones against Real Madrid, as he’s usually called upon for the big games. He’s also usually reliable in those matches.
Stones will be partnered by Laporte, who is arguably City’s most important player.
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Rodri will start ahead of Fernandinho in the holding midfield role, while Kevin De Bruyne is expected to start slightly ahead of him.
The Belgian will be partnered by David Silva, who was rested against Leicester City on Saturday night.
Riyad Mahrez is likely to start, as Sterling and Sane fail to make the team.
Bernardo Silva may be forced into operating on the left-hand side of attack.
He’ll be supporting striker Sergio Aguero, who will be desperate to knock-out Real Madrid as a favour to his former team, and Los Blancos’ rivals, Atletico Madrid.
Man City predicted line up vs Real Madrid
(4-3-3) Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; Rodri, De Bruyne, D.Silva; Mahrez, B.Silva, Aguero
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