Eight days after the most extraordinary Champions League semi-final first-leg tie, Real Madrid and Manchester City clash again at the Santiago Bernabeu for the second leg on Wednesday night.
REAL MADRID STATS, FORM, SQUAD.
Despite a Benzema’s brace on either side of Vinicius Junior’s solo goal, Real Madrid fell short in their visit to the Etihad as Pep Guardiola’s men struck four times through Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Kevin De Bruyne, and Phil Foden in the first leg of the semi-final of the Champions League. However, Carlo Ancelotti’s men put four goals without reply against Espanyol last weekend to confirm their status as La Liga champions with four games to spare. Despite the Los Blancos being no strangers to stunning European comebacks in the Spanish capital, they have never made it through to the final when losing the first leg of a semi-final. With David Alaba being a major doubt, a Militao and Nacho pairing is expected at the heart of the defense. The likes of Vinicius, Kroos, Carvajal, and Mendy are set to return to the starting lineup after being rested last weekend. Benzema with nine goals across his last four champions league games is set to lead the attacking line. Predicted lineup: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Nacho, Mendy; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius.
MANCHESTER CITY STATS, FORM, SQUAD.
Having outplayed, and dominated Real Madrid for almost the entirety of the first half at the Etihad, City will no doubt feel aggrieved to travel to the Bernabeu with only a one-goal lead. However, recent history certainly favors the Citizens ahead of their trip to the Spanish capital, with the Premier League leaders only being knocked out in one of their last 10 Champions League ties after winning the first leg. Man City are on a four-game winning streak in all competitions scoring a remarkable 16 times in that run. City’s first-leg victory over Real was their third consecutive win against the 13-time European champions with only Ajax and Bayern Munich ever winning four in a row against them. Head Coach Pep Guardiola is thin on options in defense as Kyle Walker is out injured, Nathan Ake and John Stones are major doubts. De Bruyne, Silva, and Riyad Mahrez are all primed to return to the first XI after being rested at the weekend. Gabriel Jesus prepares to spearhead the attack amid his hot goalscoring form. Predicted lineup: Ederson; Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko; Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Jesus, Foden.
ACCUMULATOR TIP: BTTS & OVER 2.5
ANYTIME GOALSCORER: KARIM BENZEMA