The defence of Manchester City’s Champions League title continues as they travel to Copenhagen for the first leg of the last-16 match on Tuesday.
Manchester City finished at the top of Group G, while Copenhagen secured second place in Group A behind Bayern Munich.
Copenhagen had a slow start in the 2023-24 Champions League, only earning one point from their first three matches. However, a three-match unbeaten run from November to December helped them secure a spot in the last 16.
They achieved narrow victories over Manchester United and Galatasaray and managed a goalless draw against group winners Bayern Munich.
Copenhagen’s journey in European competition extended with a win against Galatasaray, ensuring a place in the Europa League.
This is only the second time Copenhagen has reached the knockout stages of the Champions League. In their previous attempt in the 2010-11 season, they were defeated by Chelsea in the last 16. Copenhagen lost 2-0 at home but managed a creditable away draw at Stamford Bridge.
However, Copenhagen’s form has been inconsistent domestically, with a three-match winless streak before the winter break.
They dropped to third place in the table due to losses against Viborg and AGF. Copenhagen participated in the mid-season Atlantic Cup earlier this month but finished in fourth place in the tournament.
Manchester City had an impressive performance in the group stage, winning all six matches and accumulating 18 points. They defeated RB Leipzig, Young Boys, and Red Star Belgrade comfortably.
Their eight-match winning streak in the Champions League is the longest for an English team in the tournament’s history. In their most recent match, Manchester City secured a 2-0 victory over Everton in the Premier League.
Copenhagen midfielder Lukas Lerager will be suspended for the first leg due to two bookable offences in the group stage.
Rasmus Falk, Viktor Claesson, and Oscar Hojlund are potential replacements for Lerager.
Copenhagen will also be without Davit Khocholava and Theo Sander due to injuries, while left-back Birger Meling is doubtful with a muscular injury.
On the other hand, Manchester City has no injured or suspended players for the match. Ruben Dias will miss the second leg if he receives a yellow card in this match.
Manager Pep Guardiola may make some changes to the lineup, with Kyle Walker, Bernardo Silva, and Kevin De Bruyne expected to return.
- Goalkeeper: Grabara
- Defenders: Ankersen, Diks, Vavro, Jelert
- Midfielders: Goncalves, Falk, Claesson
- Forwards: Elyounoussi, Bardghji, Achouri
- Goalkeeper: Ederson
- Defenders: Walker, Dias, Stones, Gvardiol
- Midfielders: Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne
- Forwards: Doku, Haaland, Foden
Prediction: Copenhagen 0-2 Manchester City
Considering Copenhagen’s previous encounters with Manchester City and their recent form, it is expected that Manchester City will come out on top in this match.
The absence of Lukas Lerager will be a significant blow to Copenhagen.
Therefore, we predict a 2-0 victory for Manchester City in the first leg, setting them up with an advantage for the return leg at the Etihad Stadium.