Real Madrid (+177 @ BetOnline) take on Manchester City (+144 @ BetOnline) at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday, 26 February 2020, in the first leg of a mouthwatering Champions League round of 16 clash.
Surprisingly, there was just one goal scored in the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League semi-final tie between the clubs. After the first round in Manchester ended in a goalless draw, a 20th-minute own goal from Man City's Fernando at the Santiago Bernabeu proved enough to take Real Madrid into the 2016 Champions League final in Milan, where they beat rivals Atletico Madrid on penalties.
Real Madrid Betting Preview
Zinedine Zidane's men finished second in Group A of the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League, failing to convince us they're among the main favorites to lift the trophy this season. They have won only one point from the opening two games – losing 3-0 at Paris Saint-Germain and a disappointing 2-2 home draw with Club Brugge.
The 13-time European champions have won only three of their last nine Champions League matches at the Santiago Bernabeu (3 draws and 3 defeats) – yet they have been defeated just four times in their last 49 UEFA Champions League home matches (37 wins).
Having won just once in their last four domestic games, Los Blancos will take on Manchester City a couple of days before the upcoming El Clasico on Sunday, but Zinedine Zidane's men won't think about it until the final whistle on Wednesday.
Real Madrid were top of La Liga for several weeks but as a result of their shock defeat at Levante (their first La Liga defeat since mid-October), their rivals Barcelona leapfrogged them, which makes this weekend's El Clasico of even greater importance.
Marcelo and Ferland Mendy are in contention for the left-back position, while the other three in Zidane's defensive quartet are easy to predict – Dani Carvajal and Raphael Varane should stand alongside captain Sergio Ramos.
Eden Hazard suffered another injury setback in the ongoing campaign. The Belgian fractured his right distal fibula during the La Liga match against Levante on Saturday and will surely miss the upcoming clash against Manchester City.
With Hazard ruled out for the foreseeable future, Isco, Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior are all competing to take his place on the left flank. However, Los Blancos' boss could also field a formation with four midfielders, meaning that he could recall Federico Valverde into the starting lineup.
Gareth Bale could be another attacking option, even though the Welshman has failed to score since mid-October when he netted for Wales' 1-1 draw with Croatia in the European Qualifiers, while his last goal for Real Madrid was on 1 September 2019, when Bale netted a brace in the 2-2 draw at Villarreal.
Real Madrid's home record against English clubs is 8 wins, 6 draws and 2 defeats. Their last match against an English Premier League side was a 3-1 victory over Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool in the 2018 UEFA Champions League final in Kyiv.
Manchester City Betting Preview
Pep Guardiola's side collected 14 points to win Group C of the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League, finishing seven points clear of second-placed Atalanta, winning four and drawing the other two of their six group stage games.
The Citizens have scored 30 goals in their last ten UEFA Champions League matches (16 of them coming in this season's group stage) and their record since a surprising 2-1 home loss to Olympique Lyon on the opening day of last season's group stage is 11 wins, 3 draws and 1 defeat, with 45 goals scored and 14 conceded.
The Champions of England have failed to score in only one of their last 17 Champions League matches – in the 1-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur in the 2018-19 quarter-finals, which eventually cost them a lot.
Meanwhile, Manchester City's record against Spanish sides in two-legged knockout matches is 1 win and 4 defeats, including the aforementioned loss to Real Madrid in the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League semi-finals.
Furthermore, The Citizens have never won a knockout match away to a Spanish club in UEFA competition (1 draw and 4 defeats), with their most recent trip to Spain being a 4-0 defeat at Barcelona in the 2016-17 group stage, which is their heaviest defeat in Europe. All in all, they have won only twice in 10 visits to Spain (1 draw, 7 defeats).
Domestically, Manchester City remain second in the Premier League table, 19 points behind runaway leaders Liverpool (which could go up to 22 points if the Reds beat West Ham United on Monday) and seven points above third-placed Leicester City, while they also have an upcoming League Cup final against Aston Villa on Sunday, as well as a FA Cup clash against Sheffield Wednesday next week.
After the 1-0 victory at Leicester City over the weekend, Pep Guardiola suggested Raheem Sterling (5 goals in 6 CL matches) could return in Madrid, while Aymeric Laporte and David Silva should be fully fit to feature from the outset.
Leroy Sane still works on his match fitness as the German winger was injured in August's Community Shield triumph over Liverpool, but the lack of first-team football over the past couple of months means he won't be an option to start in Madrid, even if he travels with the squad.
Possible Starting Lineups of Real Madrid and Manchester City
Real Madrid: Thibaut Courtois – Daniel Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Ferland Mendy – Federico Valverde, Casemiro, Toni Kroos – Vinicius Junior, Karim Benzema, Isco. (4-3-3)
Manchester City: Ederson – Kyle Walker, Fernandinho, Aymeric Laporte, Oleksandr Zinchenko – Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, David Silva – Bernardo Silva, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling. (4-3-3)
Last season's setback against Ajax was the first time since 2009-10 in which Los Blancos failed to reach the Champions League semi-finals and Zinedine Zidane's side will be under great pressure here.
However, the same goes for Pep Guardiola's side and with the threat of a Champions League ban looming, this could be the last opportunity for many of the first-team figures to win a European trophy with the Sky Blues.
Real Madrid have suffered their first home defeat of the season less than three weeks ago – 4-3 to Real Sociedad in the Copa del Rey – and they have shown signs of vulnerability at the back, conceding six goals in their last two home matches. Nevertheless, we expect a completely different approach by Zidane here and we will likely witness Real Madrid's Champions League mentality.
Although Los Blancos have not been particularly impressive in the ongoing campaign, they still are a force to reckon with, especially when it comes to these lovely Champions League nights. This is their favorite competition and we don't see a reason why Man City are favored to win this match.