Premier League’s reigning champions Manchester City will take on RB Leipzig in the Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday, February 22, 2023.
The first leg will be held in Germany with the return leg to take place at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on March 14.
Here’s a look at the best players who could impact this game over two legs!
Surely the best striker in the world right now, Erling Haaland has been on fire in his debut season in the Premier League with Manchester City.
The Norwegian maestro has scored more goals than he has played for the Cityzens in the Premier League, netting 26 times in just 23 games in the season until City’s league game against Nottingham Forest on Saturday, February 18.
Haaland played four of City’s six Champions League group games and scored five goals. Leipzig have a humongous task ahead of them if they are to get anything out of this tie.
One of the most in-form players in the world currently, Riyad Mahrez has come up with inspirational performances for City off late.
The Algerian has scored five goals and provided four assists in 18 Premier League games this season.
He played all six of City’s Champions League group games, scoring two goals and providing one assist. If Leipzig can keep Mahrez quiet, they will gain a huge advantage in the tie.
Swedish winger Emil Forsberg might not possess flashy stats, but his technique and composure on the ball will be critical for Leipzig to hold off City in moments when they are under extreme pressure.
Forsberg is great at winning fouls in dangerous areas, allowing his time to win set-pieces and striker City at the most opportune moment.
In recent games, Forsberg has also played as an attacking midfielder, so it will be interesting to see which position he features in for Leipzig against City in both legs.
One of the most impressive players at the World Cup for Croatia, centre-back Josko Gvardiol has been a towering presence for Leipzig.
Although their league form hasn’t been that great, Leipzig have hugely benefited from a leader in their defence in the form of Gvardiol.
This season, Gvardiol has been incredible as he has contributed to nine of Leipzig’s Bundesliga wins.
Additionally, he famously scored a goal against Real Madrid in Leipzig’s 3-2 group stage win in October last year.
The Croatian has a “big-game” mentality and could prove to be a key factor for Leipzig to put up a fight against a relentless opposition in Manchester City.
Leipzig predicted starting XI:
Blaswich; Simakan, Orban, Gvardiol, Halstenberg; Laimer, Schlager; Szoboszlai, Forsberg; Andre Silva, Werner
Manchester City predicted starting XI:
Ederson; Walker, Ruben Dias, Laporte, Ake; Foden, Rodri, Gundogan; Mahrez, Haaland, Grealish
Leipzig vs Manchester City – What have the managers said before their Champions League clash?
Marco Rose, Leipzig coach:
“Manchester City have lots of world class players. I played there myself [as coach of Mönchengladbach] and the team have already faced them, so we know what we’re up against. We’ve shown that we can surprise a few people and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Pep Guardiola, Manchester City coach:
“Huge respect what they have done in German football and in Europe. They are a young team with a clear philosophy, the way they want to play. Box-to-box transitions, a good manager who we experienced when we played against [Borussia] Monchengladbach.”
Leipzig and Manchester City’s results in their last six games in all competitions as of February 21 (most recent first)
Manchester City: DWWLWW