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City’s stars must shine in Germany
Manchester City surrendered top spot of the EPL at the weekend but their focus now is getting their Champions League campaign on track following their (customary) opening defeat in the Group stages to Juventus last time out.
That defeat to the Italian champions heralded the start of a poor run of form epitomised by Saturday’s crushing 4-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.
Tomorrow they take on Borussia Mönchengladbach in Germany and Manuel Pelligrini will be looking for his all-star line-up to live up to their billing and have the results match the massive out lay spent on signings and wages.
Sterling has plenty to prove
Raheem Sterling is one man with plenty still to prove following his £49 million move to Man City from Liverpool. The young England striker said his want to win trophies was the reason for wanting away from Anfield and City fans will be wanting Sterling to replicate the form that earned him the title as Europe’s top-rated teenager while at Liverpool.
Sterling was substituted 20 minutes from the end of his first Champions League game for City against Juventus, and many fans are wondering if his finishing matches his price tag.
The 20-year-old was twice thwarted by Juve’s legendary keeper Gigi Buffon at the Etihad and online football tipsters may see Mönchengladbach as the perfect opponents given their start in the Bundesliga that has cost Lucien Favre his job as boss.
New boss makes big difference
Favre quit following five straight league defeats and a hammering in the Champions League opener against Sevilla but have bounced back since and won their last two under new boss Andre Schubert, who stepped up from managing the club’s under-23 team.
Pelligrini and online football bettors will note that under Schubert, Mönchengladbach have scored seven in their last two Bundesliga games, having managed only two in their opening five fixtures.
Schubert and online football tipsters will note Spurs’ thrashing of City and Gladbach’s tendency to soak up pressure and hit teams on the break.
City captain Vincent Kompany is still out through injury and they are further weakened by Yaya Toure’s absence following a hamstring injury picked up against Spurs and Eliaquim Mangala’s continuing muscle problem that leaves him sidelined.
They are expected to welcome back goalkeeper Joe Hart but the game looks too early for David Silva and Wilfried Bony who are still recovering from injuries.
The last time City took on Gladbach was in the 1979 UEFA Cup quarter finals and following a 1-1 draw in Manchester, the Germans advanced thanks to a 3-1 win in the second leg.
Juventus v Sevilla
The other Group D fixture sees Italy against Spain as Juventus host Sevilla in Turin. Both sides won their opening matches and Sevilla sit top of the group thanks to goal difference after their 3-0 demolition of Mönchengladbach. Last season’s Champions League finalists Juventus came back from a goal down to beat Manchester City 2-1 and their European pedigree will be tested by reigning Europa League champions Sevilla.
By: Joe Cahal