Champions League: Key Manchester City star set to start against Real Madrid

The first leg between the two sides ended 3-3 at Santiago Bernabeu

By Web Desk
April 17, 2024
Kevin De Bruyne (L) and Kyle Walker (R) didn't feature in the first leg against Real Madrid. — Reuters

Manchester City is set to host Real Madrid in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday and their star player, Kevin de Bruyne, is likely to start.

De Bruyne, 32, sat on the bench in the first leg at Santiago Bernabeu which ended 3-3 as goals from Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Josko Gvardiol helped the visitors end the game on a high note.

City’s boss Pep Guardiola had a full squad at his disposal during the last training session as the European champions prepare to host the 14-time Champions League winners at Etihad, a stadium where The Whites have never won and the Cityzens last lost a UCL match in 2018.

While there are still doubts about Kyle Walker’s, who missed the first leg, participation in the second leg as according to multiple news outlets he is still recovering from the injury he picked in the international break, De Bruyne is certain to start and will partner with Silva and Erling Haaland at the front.

Guardiola benched Rodri in City’s last Premier League match against Luton Town after the Spaniard complained of playing too much without rest. The defensive midfielder is on a 66-match unbeaten streak with the Cityzens.

On the other hand, despite having a nine-day rest ahead of their first-leg clash against City, Madrid players looked tired as their energy dropped during the match and they conceded two goals in a short time span from outside the box.

Madrid’s head coach Carlo Ancelotti decided to rest key players during their La Liga match against Mallorca on the weekend. Los Blancos clinched a narrow 1-0 win courtesy of Aurelien Tchouameni, who is suspended for the second-leg, strike from outside the box.

While Madrid’s lineup is likely to be the same as they have used in big matches this season with the formation of 4-4-2, it will be interesting to see whether Guardiola decides to start Walker to counter the threat Los Blancos’ attacking duo of Rodrygo and Vinicius possess as they struggled greatly in the first leg against them.