Santiago Bernabéu’s bright lights shine down on another great occasion between Real Madrid and Manchester City in the 1st leg of the UEFA Champions League Semi-finals on Tuesday night. The reigning champions cruised past another English club by the name of Chelsea in the previous round while Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City proved to be too strong for Bayern Munich.
Ancelotti’s men have just come out of a trophy win after defeating Osasuna in the Copa del Rey final to clinch the trophy that has been missing for 10 years. Unlike Manchester City, Real Madrid now have one title to play for and it is the UEFA Champions League as the league title is all but official for their rivals — Barcelona. Manchester City are expected to deliver with plenty of momentum heading in their way. Not to mention the motivation that they have following the heartbreak of last season’s tie when Rodrygo produced a magical scenario to send Real Madrid to the final. The match is expected to be a thriller with both sides having numerous superstars that can change the course of a game. For Man. City, the focus and hope will be placed directly onto Norwegian star Erling Haaland who has broken record after record in his first season with the Sky Blues. On the other hand, for Real Madrid, Viní Jr will be the shoulder Real Madrid fans lean on. The Brazilian is having a spectacular season that has not gone unnoticed by opposition managers. “Viní Jr will sink you when Real Madrid can get the ball to him” said Manchester City’s manager Pep Guardiola.
Manchester City are yet to achieve their dream of winning the UEFA Champions League. They came close on numerous occasions, the closest being in 2020/21 when they reached the final but were struck by a dagger from Chelsea.
Real Madrid and Manchester City have faced each other in the UEFA Champions League 2 times in the last 3 years with last year’s showdown being the most memorable. Man. City’s record at the Santiago Bernabéu is a negative record, the Manchester side have played 4 matches at the Bernabéu losing 3 of them. Adding Real Madrid’s magic in the Bernabéu, the 1st leg will be a task for The Cityzens. Real Madrid have failed to reach the final in only one of the previous 5 occasions where they were in the Semi-finals. It was against Chelsea in 2020/21, a club that went all the way to win the UEFA Champions League that season. Both Real Madrid and Manchester City will miss crucial players in the 1st leg. For the former, Éder Militão will miss the match due to suspension while for the latter, Nathan Aké will miss the match due to an injury. Man. City & Erling Haaland will want to capitalize on Éder Militão’s absence especially given The Merengues’ struggles in keeping a clean sheet domestically.
Predicted XI’s for both teams:
Manchester City: Ederson, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Ruben Dias, Akanji, Rodri, Kevin de Bruyne, Gündogan, Bernardo Silva, Haaland, Grealish.
Real Madrid: Courtois, Carvajal, Rüdiger, Alaba, Camavinga, Kroos, Modrić, Fede Valverde, Rodrygo, Benzema, Viní Jr.