Manuel Veth –
Manchester City vs Schalke – Tuesday, March 12, 20:00GMT/21:00CET – City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester, England
Manchester City’s first leg 3-2 come from behind victory means that the Blues are almost through to the next round. Furthermore, in the English Premier League Manchester City remain one point clear of second-placed Liverpool.
Nonetheless, there has been plenty of pleasure at Manchester City in recent weeks. Publications by the German investigative magazine Spiegel has suggested that City, for years, have circumnavigated UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations.
As a result, UEFA have now started an investigation into the club’s finances that ultimately could result with the club being banned from the Champions League in the coming years. If found guilty, which is possible given the wealth of evidence, City’s financial construct could come under pressure.
But the UEFA investigation is just the tip of the iceberg. City also face an investigation into illegal transfers of youth players, including Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho. Those investigations could result in a transfer ban. How real is that threat? Given that Chelsea have recently been hit with a transfer ban, the threat is very real.
Because of all those investigations, a recent rumour has suggested that Pep Guardiola could leave the club for Juventus Turin this summer. Rumours that have been shut down by Guardiola this week, “I am staying here until City kick me out.” But where there is smoke, there is fire.
Hence, the game on Tuesday against Schalke will be a welcome distraction. Schalke, in fact, did very well in the first leg and threw away a 2-1 lead in the last ten minutes. It was a typical turn of events for Schalke this season. The Royal Blues have been in a nose-dive all season and could even face relegation at the end of the season if results do not improve fast.
Against Werder on Friday Schalke lost 2-4 but overall played well. Well enough for Domenico Tedesco to keep his job for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, hope is always the last thing that dies Auf Schalke, and the club has been invoking the spirit of March 2015 when they beat Real Madrid on the road 4-3.
That game, in particular, was a fantastic result but also ignored the fact that Schalke, a) did not advance and b) could have advanced had striker Felix Platte not hit the crossbar in the closing stages of the match.
Going by Schalke’s current season, such a result seems unlikely on Tuesday against City. In fact, even with everything that is going on around the City of Manchester Stadium a clinical performance by the Blues from England can be expected as they will advance to the next round.
Manchester City vs Schalke – Players to look out for:
Leroy Sané #19 – Manchester City
Leroy Sané is returning home. For the first time since leaving Schalke in the summer of 2016, the winger will be playing in Gelsenkirchen. Born in Essen Sané has become an important member of Guardiola’s squad and this season has scored eight goals and ten assists in 23 EPL games. A fast and dynamic winger Sané is the sort of player that can make a difference in any game he is involved in.
Breel Embolo #36 – FC Schalke 04
The return of Breel Embolo from injury gives Schalke some hope ahead of the Champions League match against Manchester City. The Swiss striker has struggled with injuries ever since joining Schalke from Basel two and a half years ago but upon his return on the weekend managed two fantastic goals in Schalke’s 2-4 defeat to Werder Bremen.
Manchester City vs Schalke – Match Stats
- Schalke’s last three UEFA Champions League campaigns have all ended in the round of 16 and they will be keen to make the most of home advantage as they welcome Manchester City for the first leg of their latest knockout tie.
- City have won two of the teams’ three previous fixtures, most recently a 2-0 success in Gelsenkirchen in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage thanks to goals from Benjani and Stephen Ireland.
- Schalke are in the last 16 for the first time since 2014/15, when they lost 5-4 on aggregate to Real Madrid, going down 2-0 in the home first leg and bowing out despite a 4-3 success in Spain.
- The Citizens have won three of their last five games in Germany, losing only one; in contrast, they suffered five defeats in their first six visits, the exception that 2008 victory at Schalke.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Manchester City vs Schalke – 2-0
Manchester City vs Schalke – Lineups
Ederson – Zinchenko, Laporte, Kompany, Walker – Silva, Gündogan, Bernado Silva – Sané, Aguero, Sterling
Head Coach: Pep Guardiola
Fährmann – Nastasic, Sané, Stambouli – Oczipka, Rudy, Mascarell, McKennie – Bentaleb – Burgstaller, Embolo
Head Coach: Domenico Tedesco
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.