After a thrilling first leg in Gelsenkirchen, the onus is on the visitors to make something out of the tie, but in such a terrible run of form and losing three away goals, is there any hope for the German giants?
Schalke failed to capitalise
After conceding inside just 18 minutes to Sergio Aguero, two penalties from former Tottenham midfielder Nabil Bentaleb put the German outfit 2-1 up in Gelsenkirchen. After 68 minutes City were reduced to 10 men when Nicolas Otamendi saw red, it was looking like an excellent result for the hosts, but two quickfire goals turned the tie on its head. A stunning strike from Leroy Sane against his former employers paved the way for a winner, when a hopeful ball long found Sterling in behind to finish well and punish Schalke for not making their numerical advantage count.
Schalke were all to happy to sit in at 2-1, it’s understandable to some extent; leading against Man City is no mean feat. But after City went down to 10, that was the hosts opportunity to give themselves a real shot at progressing. They cannot be so short sighted as to believe they wouldn’t concede at the Etihad, so a one goal advantage was always likely to not be enough but the players saw the victory at hand and didn’t think about what was to come in the return leg and they allowed City to remain comfortable in the game. Had you tuned in after 68 minutes, you would’ve struggled to notice that City were a man down.
The visitors have now left themselves with an absolute mountain to climb. They need a minimum of two goals in Manchester to have any chance of going through, which is reflected in the bookies price of them to qualify; a massive 41.0.
City aren’t at full strength
As mentioned, Nicolas Otamendi was dismissed in the first leg so he misses this one along with Fernandinho who is also suspended. The Brazilian has been a star of city’s season so far and has an incredibly important role within the team, The Blues don’t have a like for like replacement. Ilkay Gundogan will come in to the line up and the defensive responsibility will be shared between him and the tireless Bernardo Silva. Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne need to be assessed but it looks likely that neither will start, which means Gabriel Jesus will lead the line and Leroy Sane will start after not featuring in the first 11 against Watford.
City also face a few issues in defence, John Stones is a doubt to start so Laporte will move in to his more natural central position with Zinchenko starting at left back. Vincent Kompany is the most likely to start at centre half alongside Laporte provided he his deemed fit enough to start.
With the potential changes and late selections be wary if you’re backing a goal scorer. Raheem Sterling anytime at 1.83 may be the safest choice.
City should be comfortable
I can’t see anything other than a City triumph here, even with a few injury issues they have such exceptional strength in depth it’s hard to see Schalke troubling them. The visitors are in a horrible run of form, they have no option but to try and get at City early on, which will only play in to their hands. In City’s last 12 Champions League matches there has been over 2.5 goals and they have scored at least two goals in their last six European games. Over 2.5 goals is available at 1.3, a City handicap is where you’ll find the most value with -1 at 1.36 and -2 at 2.0.
Man City WDW and over 2.5 goals @ 1.4
Raheem Sterling to score anytime @ 1.83
Man City -2 @ 2.0