Real Madrid v Manchester City
Having been crowned Copa del Rey champions on Saturday night, Real Madrid come into this rematch of last year’s Champions League semi-final on a high. In the same round of the competition last season, Real Madrid’s late heroics at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu sent them to Paris, but this time they welcome Manchester City to Spain for the first leg. The game will take place with kick-off at 8:00pm BST on Tuesday 9th May, shown live on BT Sport.
On the other side, Manchester City have regained top spot in the Premier League and secured a 2-1 win over Leeds on Saturday. Pep Guardiola will take on his 10th match at the Bernabéu as a coach, with only two defeats from his previous nine, but they both came in Champions League semi-finals.
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Carlo Ancelotti not stopping the hunt for silverware after Copa del Rey win
Real Madrid won the Copa del Rey on Saturday night as they beat Osasuna 2-1 thanks to two goals from Rodrygo Goes which won the trophy for the first time in nine years for Los Blancos. The Brazilian youngster took his tally for the season to 12 goals with that double and will be looking to add to that against Manchester City.
With LaLiga all but written off by Carlo Ancelotti, their domestic form has been inconsistent but should not lead to any conclusions given the rotations that the Italian has made to the team in LaLiga and leading to shock defeats to Villarreal and Girona in recent weeks.
Instead the likes of Karim Benzema and Vinícius Júnior are saving themselves for cup competitions and the latter of those two is in superb form. He has now scored or assisted 11 times in 10 Champions League games this season, only failing to do so in one out of those 10 matches, and has now been involved in a goal in 12 consecutive matches in all competitions. That makes him a worthy consideration for a Real Madrid bet builder.
Real Madrid Team News
When planning a Real Madrid bet builder, predicting Carlo Ancelotti’s selection choices will be crucial, and there is one major doubt for Real Madrid’s team which is the fitness of Luka Modrić. The Croatian was sidelined by a muscle injury recently but did come on and play the final 14 minutes of Saturday’s Copa del Rey final. That could suggest he’s fit to start, with Aurelién Tchouaméni likely to be the man to lose his spot in the team if the Croatian is fit.
Éder Militão is also suspended for this game, which will almost certainly see Antonio Rüdiger come into the defensive unit alongside David Alaba in the heart of defence. A worthy replacement, that change may not have too much influence on any Real Madrid vs Manchester City predictions.
Pep Guardiola hoping it’s third time lucky in UCL semi-finals at the Bernabéu
One of the most intriguing of all Real Madrid vs Manchester City stats is that this will be Pep Guardiola’s 10th match as a coach at the Bernabéu, with his only two previous defeats both coming in Champions League semi-finals, one with the Cityzens and another with Bayern Munich, and both against Carlo Ancelotti.
The 2-1 win over Leeds at the weekend was City’s fifth consecutive victory, but one curiosity to remember for a Manchester City bet builder is that Erling Haaland failed to score after a three-match scoring streak. You’d have to go back to mid-February to find the last time that he was not involved in a single goal in consecutive matches.
Manchester City Team News
Any Manchester City prediction would be influenced by the team selection and any injuries, including in particular, Nathan Aké. The Dutch defender was forced off against Leeds at the weekend and is a major doubt for this battle, with Kyle Walker likely to be the man to take his place in the Manchester City defence.
Julián Álvarez and Rico Lewis could be two of the other changes to the team with John Stones and Rodri replacing them, while Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez could be replaced by Bernardo Silva and Jack Grealish in the offensive midfield part of the team.
Real Madrid v Manchester City Cheat Sheet
Both Erling Haaland and Karim Benzema are near certainties for attempts on goal given their obvious goalscoring prowess, however further value could be seen with Federico Valverde. The Uruguayan ranks 4th on Madrid’s rankings for shots on target, as is known to play a more advanced role (at times being deployed as a right winger), and also has been known to feature on set-pieces.
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Real Madrid v Manchester City
This first leg is likely to be very different from the one that we saw in last year’s semi-final clash between these same two teams. That first leg ended with seven goals as the Citizens ran out 4-3 winners, but this time it’s likely to be a much more cagey affair. Both Liverpool and Chelsea have failed to score at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in knock-out ties this season, meaning that Riyad Mahrez was the last opponent to score in a knock-out match at the stadium in the Champions League.
Manchester City will also be keen to take this tie back to England with them in control, and that could mean a certain degree of risk management from Pep Guardiola. Experience from last year shows that City can’t afford to gamble offensively, even with the lead already in their favour. With only two conceded from five away Champions League games this season, and no side being able to put more than one past them, they will be confident of keeping the goal tally against them low.
Real Madrid’s defence has been inconsistent, with four clean sheets followed by nine goals conceded in the next four games, but remains solid. Éder Militão will be absent as he serves a suspension, but given his recent form, that could be a blessing in disguise for Real Madrid as it was his error that gifted Real Sociedad a goal last week.
Nobody’s confidence will be higher coming into this game than Rodrygo Goes after the Brazilian’s brace against Osasuna on Saturday night secured the Copa del Rey title for Los Blancos. That performance led to Carlo Ancelotti describing his development as “spectacular”, pushing on even from his heroics in this fixture a year ago.
With five goals in 10 appearances in the Champions League this season, including two against Chelsea last time out, he’s continued the fine form that saw him score twice in as many minutes last time the Citizens played at the Bernabéu. Back in his favourite competition, the young Brazilian will start on the right of the Real Madrid attack and look to cut inside and find himself in fox in the box positions just as he did this weekend.
This season, Rodrygo has averaged 1.16 shots on target per 90, but that jumps even higher to 1.59 per 90 in the Champions League. With an average of 3.04 shots per 90, and over half on target, the chances of him testing Ederson in the Manchester City goal are high. His compatriot may know him well from international duty, but his defence may struggle to contain the forward which makes him a great pick for this Real Madrid bet builder.
In defence, Real Madrid will be forced into changes due to Éder Militão’s suspension and that will mean that Antonio Rüdiger will come into the side in his place. The German international played 26 minutes in Saturday’s Copa del Rey final, and will be one of Real Madrid’s biggest defensive presences in this clash.
Rüdiger has averaged exactly 1 foul per 90 throughout his career, and committed a foul in eight consecutive Champions League games for Chelsea last season. This year, at Real Madrid, he has cleaned up his game a little, but now faces a Premier League side and a certain Erling Haaland, who will test him to the limit in what is bound to be a very physical battle between the two.
His central defensive partner David Alaba played 90 minutes on Saturday night after a spell on the sidelines and he has not played the full 90 in back-to-back games since mid-February. Now he’ll have to do it with less than 72 hours rest, which may mean that Rüdiger is even more vulnerable than usual, particularly late on as Alaba tires.
Just as Rüdiger might be keeping Portuguese referee Artur Dias busy on Tuesday night, Kyle Walker is likely to be doing the same for Manchester City. Operating on the right of the back three, he’ll bear the brunt of having to stop Vinícius Júnior and his dribbling as Real Madrid’s key attacking outlet down their left flank.
With 109 dribbles in the Champions League this season, no player has even come close to rivalling Vinícius as the most prolific dribbler in the competition. With 11.87 dribbles per 90, he will be entering into one-on-one battles and duels with Walker throughout the night, and is likely to add to his 21 fouls suffered in the Champions League this season, the second-highest number of any player in the tournament, with 2.27 fouls against him per 90.
That combined with the refereeing choice could make it a tricky evening for Walker. Dias has awarded 25 fouls per 90 on average this season in the Champions League, putting him joint fourth for fouls per 90 among 41 referees to officiate a game in the competition. 72% of tackles end in a foul under the Portuguese referee, and Vini has averaged 26.9 duels per 90 in Europe this season, so it could be a big ask for Walker to avoid conceding free-kicks.
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