RB Leipzig vs Manchester City: Champions League Preview & Potential Line-ups

by Marko Vrakela

Red Bull Arena forms the backdrop for the first leg of an exciting Champions League last-16 tie between RB Leipzig and Manchester City on Wednesday night. 

Back to the Champions League knockout stages after a season-long absence, Leipzig couldn't have asked for a more formidable test to kick off their springtime European fixtures.

Marco Rose's men completed the group stage campaign on a high, putting together four consecutive wins for the first time in the club's history to finish runners-up to Real Madrid in Group F.

Three of those four victories came by multi-goal margins, which was the case in a scintillating 3-0 romping of fellow Bundesliga rivals Wolfsburg at the weekend that kept Die Roten Bullen in contention for the title.

However, Leipzig will have to forget their domestic aspirations if they're to stand a chance against back-to-back Premier League champions Manchester City.

Erling Haaland had an inexplicable miss on Saturday as Pep Guardiola's charges slipped to an underwhelming 1-1 draw at newly-promoted Nottingham Forest despite facing just one shot on target.

That result saw the Citizens surrender the top spot in the Premier League to Arsenal, whom they now trail by two points, even though they've played a game more. 

Guardiola's attention swiftly switches to the Champions League, the competition he last won during his trophy-laden managerial stint at Barcelona, highlighting his great desire to land 'Big Ears' this term.

Match Preview

RB Leipzig

Leipzig ran out 2-1 victors against Man City in last season's Champions League group meeting at home, though it's worth noting the Citizens already qualified for the knockouts going into that fixture.

Worryingly for Die Roten Bullen, after winning their first three Champions League knockout matches, they have lost each of the last three without scoring, conceding 2+ goals each time.

Leipzig's only previous forays into the Champions League round of 16 saw them take on Premier League clubs. 

After ousting Tottenham Hotspur in 2019/20 by an aggregate score of 4-0, they lost both legs to Liverpool 2-0 the following year.

Manchester City

Man City strolled to a top-place finish in Group G without breaking a sweat, going unbeaten in all six games (W4, D2), though their last two continental travels yielded a tepid 0-0 scoreline.

But Guardiola knows in-depth about going the distance in Europe, boasting the highest win ratio of 63% among managers to have taken charge of 50+ Champions League games.

The Spaniard's tactical masterclass, combined with Man City's sublime record of 14 victories across their last 17 Champions League clashes against German sides (D2, L1), should inspire the visitors.

RB Leipzig vs Manchester City Potential Line-ups

RB Leipzig (4-2-3-1): Janis Blaswich; Lukas Klostermann, Willi Orban, Josko Gvardiol, David Raum; Xaver Schlager, Konrad Laimer; Dominic Szoboszlai, Emil Forsberg, Timo Werner; Andre Silva. 

Manchester City (3-2-4-1): Ederson; Kyle Walker, Manuel Akanji, Nathan Ake; Rodri, Bernardo Silva; Riyad Mahrez, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, Jack Grealish; Erling Haaland. 

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