Manchester City will be a buoyant side as they lie in wait for Borussia Monchengladbach against whom they will be starting off their European campaign. The celebrations will continue in Manchester from the City supporters for a long time after the derby win but Pep already has his boys sweating it out on the training ground as he looks to banish even an iota of complacency which might have crept into his side after a thumping start to the season. Undefeated in 6 consecutive matches, the Catalan genius has already started to rewrite the history books at the Etihad after becoming the only manager to win their first 6 games in charge of the team.
They will be up against the sprightly and fearless Borussia Monchengladbach side who have, over the course of Pep’s 3 seasons in Germany, proved to be his bogey team. Guardiola won only 33% of his Bundesliga games against Borussia Monchengladbach with Bayern Munich (2 out of 6), his lowest ratio against any side he has faced at least twice in his career in the league as manager. But his personal record against Gladbach conflicts with the club’s record against City and overall against English teams. Borussia Monchengladbach have won only one of their six away games against English clubs in all competitions, it was against Arsenal in the UEFA Cup in September 1996 (3-2). They faced City in last season’s group stage as well but ended up losing both the matches despite putting up a strong show.
MANCHESTER CITY (4-1-4-1)
Bravo- Zabaleta, Stones, Otamendi, Clichy- Fernandinho- Silva, De Bruyne, Sane, Nolito- Aguero
BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH (3-5-2)
Sommer – Elvedi, Christensen, Vestergaard – Herrmann, Dahoud, Kramer, Wendt, Stindl – Raffael, Hahn
Manchester City have a plethora of match winners in their ranks and all of them have the ability to change the course of the game at any point of time. But Silva has the ability to sustain his masterful displays and City need him to be in form as he has been throughout this season. Gladbach will be at the home team’s face from the off and will be fearless in their approach and Silva’s ability to find pockets of space and utilise the room in the midfield and advanced areas will be key for the likes of Aguero and De Bruyne to feed on.
The striker was mentioned by Guardiola in the press conference leading up to the match and he is on a hot streak at the moment. In his last 4 Champions League matches including the qualifiers, he has scored 6 goals. And the Gladbach team will be dependent on his ability to press from the front in addition to his goal scoring prowess. His energy and determination to close down defenders will be key and something the slightly fatigued Manchester City backline will have to be wary of.
It will be a high-intensity affair with both the teams known for their pressing but City are expected to keep the ball for longer periods of time and taking the chances they carve out will be the key. Pep knows Gladbach are going to hit them and the way his blossoming team responds will have an influence on the outcome.