MADRID, March 13 (EUROPA PRESS) –
Manchester City welcomes RB Leipzig this Tuesday (9:00 p.m.) with the mission of unblocking their Champions League round of 16 tie, with their strength as a local in Europe as a great argument to beat the enthusiasm and German verve, while that Inter Milan will travel to Portugal (21.00) to defend their short advantage over Porto forced to turn it around to stay alive.
Pep Guardiola’s team, which is looking for its sixth consecutive quarterfinal, completed a dominating first 45 minutes in the first leg in Germany with Riyad Mahrez’s 0-1 draw, but with very little ‘punch’, something that ended up paying with a draw that demands more in this round.
The Premier League champion did not know how to make the most of his superiority and dominance against a Leipzig that was patient and showed its best version in the second half to sign the final draw (1-1) of the match with a goal from Josko Gvardiol and leave everything open for duel at the Etihad.
However, the impregnable ‘citizen’ feud is a guarantee of success in Europe, unbeaten in their last 23 games in the top continental club competition. Those of the Catalan coach link 21 wins and 2 draws at the Etihad, without losing since the opening of the group stage of the 2018-2019 season against French Olympique de Lyon, the last team that beat Manchester in the Champions League.
Only Brentford, in November last year and in the Premier League, has come out with the three points from the feud of a City that continues to hunt Arsenal in their league. The English team has gone eight games unbeaten, with four victories in a row, the last one against Crystal Palace (0-1) with a goal from Erling Haaland, more necessary than ever in a Champions League where he has not scored since October.
Leipzig, who already fell to the Etihad 6-3 last season in the group stage, will try to weaken the solidity and robustness of the ‘citizens’ at home, appealing to their spirited character and courage that has generated them so well . And it is that, since the return of German football after its winter break, Marco Rose’s men have only lost in two of their last 11 games, against Dortmund and Union Berlin, two rivals from the top of the Bundesliga table .
In the domestic championship, the club is third, 7 points behind the leader Bayern Munich, after winning (3-0) in their last match against Mönchengladbach. With illusion as the flag, the demanding exam at the Etihad will measure the potential of a team that already knows what it is to rub shoulders with the greatest in Europe, with the semifinals of the competition in the year of the pandemic, when they were eliminated by the psg. While last year they also touched the final in the Europa League.
However, the visitors arrive ‘touched’ by the casualties with the entity’s infirmary close to collapse. The most sensitive will be those of Xaver Schlager, who will be away from the pitch for about two months due to an ankle injury, and Christopher Nkunku, whose absence will last until April, although the good news is that he has already recovered the Spanish Dani Olmo , which returned the weekend after more than a month stopped.
INTER TRAVELS TO O DRAGAO WITH A MINIMUM INCOME AND WITH DOUBTS
In the other duel this Tuesday with the pass to the quarterfinals at stake, Porto in shape and on a roll will host Inter Milan, after the 1-0 win for the Italians in the first leg held at the Giuseppe Meazza, with a goal from Romelu Lukaku in the final stretch. The Portuguese came out very ‘touched’ from that match and their ‘sorrow’ carried over to the next domestic duel, when they fell at home (1-2) against Gil Vicente.
But, with the need to follow the trail 8 points behind a Benfica leader in Portugal, Sergio Conceiçao’s men knew how to get up on time, winning their last two domestic duels against Chaves (1-3) and Estoril (3-2). . Two hard-fought victories that give them morale to fight to overcome the tie and advance to the quarterfinals for the third time in the last 10 years. For this they will need a better version of Mehdi Taremi, who has only scored two goals in the last 11 games.
O Dragao’s team will receive an important loss due to the suspension of Otávio, sent off in the first leg, an Inter Milan with doubts and that has not entered the quarterfinals of the competition since 2010-2011. Like the Portuguese, they are second in Serie A, although their chances of winning the ‘Scudetto’ are slim, 18 points behind Napoli with 12 games remaining. A distance that increased this weekend after the surprising and painful defeat (2-1) against Spezia.
The three-time European champion is living a roller coaster that makes him unable to foresee what face he will offer in O Dragao this Tuesday. A duel that presumably, if they manage to defend their short advantage, could be the turning point and much-needed push for the final stretch of the course. Although Inter have only enjoyed one win in their last eight visits to the Portuguese country, against Porto, they have only lost in one of their last five duels.