Evening. When the draw for the group stage was made, the feeling among some was that of the English clubs, perhaps it was Manchester City who had landed the toughest assignment. One would expect Club Brugge to prop up Group A, but PSG were finalists in 2020 and Leipzig were semi-finalists that year too. But the departure of manager Julian Nagelsmann, Dayot Upamecano and Marcel Sabitzer to Bayern Munich and Ibrahima Konaté to Liverpool has hit Leipzig hard. They’ve managed just one win and lost three of their opening four Bundesliga matches and were hammered 4-1 last weekend by Bayern. Manager Jesse Marsch’s promotion through the Red Bull stable of clubs hasn’t worked out yet, though he has had to reshape his squad and André Silva, who was prolific at Frankfurt, should prove a threat when he settles in.
So a home win for City should be on the cards tonight. Leipzig have struggled for goals and Pep Guardiola’s side have kept three clean sheets since their 1-0 defeat at Spurs, plundering 11 goals on their way despite not having a proper striker. They’ll also be motivated by the pain of losing to Chelsea in last season’s European Cup final. “We reached the final of the Champions League, so, yeah, it’s a motor [driver],” said Guardiola. Meanwhile, Rodri wants to win it so his family don’t have to tread eggshells around him. “You have three shit days the next days, you cannot even talk to your families and friends,” he revealed. “They are there to support you but your face is not as you want.”
For what it’s worth, I think his family will have a light and breezy Rodri in the house after this particular match. Rúben Dias and Aymeric Laporte have formed a solid defensive partnership (spare a thought for John Stones), Jack Grealish is slowly finding his best form and Bernardo Silva is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance after being given the cold shoulder for large parts of last season. If Leipzig do cause City problems, it will likely come down the left with flying wing-back Angelino, who signed from City on a permanent contract in the summer after a successful loan last season. Kyle Walker beware.