The UEFA Champions League kicks off with a blockbuster as Spanish champions Real Madrid host English champions Manchester City at the Bernabeu. Join us for live scores and commentary from 4.45am AEST.
After exiting the Champions League last season during the group stages, City once again faces a tough ask to qualify for the knockout stages this time around, given that they find themselves in what has been labelled the ‘group of death’.
City’s Champions League credentials will certainly go on the line early when they face Real at their Santiago Bernabeu fortress tonight.
If there was ever a time however to beat Real on their home turf, tonight’s the night.
Jose Mourinho’s men have had a shocking start to the La Liga season, winning just one of their first four matches.
Madrid is coming off a poor 1-0 nil loss to Sevilla which leaves them already eight points behind league leaders and eternal rivals FC Barcelona.
It is no surprise that Madrid’s lacklustre performances thus far coincide with Cristiano Ronaldo’s bad form and low self esteem.
The Portuguese superstar has stated that he is unhappy with his life as a professional footballer, raising huge concerns about his relationship with his other high profile Madrid team-mates.
City on the other hand has started the Premier League in solid fashion, registering two wins and two draws, with their most recent performance seeing them secure an unconvincing draw against Stoke.
With Sergio Aguero now recovered from injury, City certainly possess the firepower upfront and on the wings to really hurt Madrid tonight.
Madrid will press high up the pitch early in a bid to unsettle a City side that still possesses some question marks in defence.
City defenders Vincent Company, Jolan Lescott and Pablo Zabaleta are all solid at the back, but they will have a difficult time containing the likes of Ronaldo, Ozil, Di Maria and Higuain.
Ronaldo in particular will be desperate to fire tonight in a bid to win back the support of the Madrid faithful, who are surely questioning his commitment to the club following his recent comments.
Madrid however will need to be careful not to press too high up the pitch because City possess the firepower to burn the locals on the counter attack.
City attackers David Silva, Samir Nasri, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez are all world class forwards and will cause the likes of Sergio Ramos, Pepe and Marcelo huge problems if Madrid commit too many players forward in a bid to rattle City’s cage.
With some of the world’s finest players on display tonight, this should be an absorbing contest between two sides that possess realistic chances of winning the Champions League this season.
Although Madrid does possess home ground advantage, City certainly has the players necessary to attain a valuable draw in what should be a high scoring contest.
Tip: Real and City in 2 all draw