In what could be one of the biggest clashes of the Champions League Round of 16, defending Premier League champions Manchester City will take on 13-time winners Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night. With two of Europe's biggest heavyweights set to go head-to-head, the first leg of the fixture will be a hard-fought battle between the greatest players and two of the best managers in the world right now.
Following a disappointing CL campaign last season after three consecutive victories, Los Blancos will be looking to get back on top whereas the Citizens are still vying for their first-ever European trophy. Due to the stakes on the line combined with the quality on display, this game promises to be one we will remember in the future.
Real Madrid vs Manchester City Head-to-Head
These two teams have faced off only four times throughout history, with Los Blancos emerging victorious twice and the other two games ending in a draw. However, these matches took place in the group stages, with this being the first meeting between the clubs in the knockout stages.
After a great run during the middle of the season where Zinedine Zidane's squad looked like the Madrid of 2016-2018, the former La Liga winners have hit a mini rough patch. They most recently lost to Levante in the Spanish top-flight and lost hold of the first position. They also crashed out of the Copa del Ray after a 4-3 loss against Real Sociedad. Real Madrid has won just two of their last five games, and this contest could be a make or break for their season.
The visitors Manchester City will now solely be focusing on the Champions League, with their defence of the Premier League title all but done and dusted due to Liverpool's domestic dominance. Pep Guardiola's team have regained some of their consistency and form over the past few games, advancing to the finals of the League Cup and beating Leicester City away recently. However, it is this competition in which they need to step up, and Madrid will be their biggest challenge yet.
Real Madrid form (all competitions): LDWLWWW
Manchester City form (all competitions): WWLLWWD
Real Madrid vs Manchester City team news
Real Madrid - Zidane received a big blow as star summer signing Eden Hazard has been sidelined yet again, this time due to a hairline fracture. The Belgian will be a major loss against an opposition he knows so well thanks to his time spent in England. Marco Asensio remains absent for this game following an injury back in July, while centre-forward Mariano Diaz is also out. Gareth Bale is a doubt due to sickness but has not been officially listed as out for the game.
Injuries - Eden Hazard, Marco Asensio, Mariano Diaz
Doubtful - Gareth Bale
Manchester City - Long term absentee Leroy Sane is still out of action and will miss this game. Star players Raheem Sterling and Aymeric Laporte are currently listed as doubtful for this match but could play a part depending on their recovery leading up to this game.
Injuries - Leroy Sane
Doubtful - Raheem Sterling, Aymeric Laporte
Real Madrid vs Manchester City predicted line-ups
Real Madrid vs Manchester City prediction
Guardiola and Zidane are both masters of their craft with a lot of Champions League experience under their belt. It is really hard to pick a clear winner in this game due to the quality at display; however, given Hazard's absence, we can see this game ending in a draw with City getting a crucial away goal.
Verdict - Real Madrid 1-1 Manchester City
Published 24 Feb 2020, 15:28 IST