Real Madrid - Manchester City Preview: Citizens hoping to write more European history in Madrid

Off the back of a grim defeat at the hands of Ronald Koeman's Southampton, European football is back in the agenda as City are one game away from their first Champions League Final.

Real Madrid - Manchester City Preview: Citizens hoping to write more European history in Madrid
Image credit: VAVEL

Manchester City travel to the Santiago Bernabeú and Real Madrid on Wednesday evening in a bid to reach their first ever UEFA Champions League final.

The tie is finely poised at nil-nil after a draw at The Etihad, and City have every chance to take out the competition's most successful side.

Far from ideal build up for the visitors

It was a pretty forgettable weekend for all those concerned with City, as the Sky Blues were beaten 4-2 at St. Mary's by a Southampton side that would not lie down.

Despite training with the first-team there are still concerns as to whether or not Ivorian powerhouse, Yaya Touré, will feature in the Spanish capital - and the same goes for former-Valencia man, David Silva who also faces a fitness battle. Pablo Zabaleta has succumbed to a muscle injury following the weekend's action and will not be available either. Aside from these absences, City should name a strong eleven.

Real in fine form but have woes of their own

Zinedine Zidane confirmed that both Karim Benzema and Casemiro will miss tomorrow's tie in his pre-match press conference. The former is in with a chance of making an appearance should he pass a late fitness test, though the latter has a troublesome hip injury that Zidane doesn't want to aggravate any further.

However, perhaps the bit of news City didn't want to hear was the confirmation that Cristiano Ronaldo is 100% fit according to his manager and will be available for selection.

There have been plenty of game between the two sides before, but none will mean as much as this. | Image source: Indian Express
There have been plenty of games between the two sides before, but none will mean as much as this. | Image source: Indian Express

What they're saying

Manuel Pellegrini believes that both City and his former employers are equally matched: "I don’t think Real are favourites to progress. We have the same options."

He feels Real had "the advantage of playing away first" and that they "tried to manage the pace of the game".

However, the Chilean coach remained confident: "We play the same way away as at home and we came away from Sevilla and PSG with good results."

Gareth Bale, meanwhile, is well aware of the danger City pose but also has faith in both his and his teammates' skill: "I've also played against them before and they are a really strong team, but so are we. The semi-final is really nicely poised for the second leg."

He added: "I definitely think we are more mature as a team now [than the one that won the UCL in 2014]. We have more experience and that showed against City."

The verdict 

Given the knife edge this tie is on it is hard to select a clear winner. Both sides are crammed with quality and both are capable of overturning any team on the night; the 0-0 score line makes it increasingly precarious, especially when most thought Real would come out firing and record an away goal at the very least. Whoever does comes out on top will do so by the narrowest of margins.