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Three months on from their Champions League final heartbreak Man City start their new group stage campaign by welcoming RB Leipzig to the Etihad this evening.
City went into last season’s final in Porto - the first in the club’s history - as favourites to finally lift European club football’s biggest prize but instead were upset by Premier League rivals Chelsea as Kai Havertz’s goal earned a 1-0 win for Thomas Tuchel’s men.
Pep Guardiola said this week that City can use the pain of that defeat to spur them on to go one better this year and the long road to next year’s final in St. Petersburg starts against the German side tonight.
Leipzig have recent pedigree in the competition themselves, having reached the semi-finals two years ago and emerged from a tough group at Manchester United’s expense last season.
However, after losing star men Dayot Upamecano and Marcel Sabitzer to Bayern Munich this summer, they have endured a difficult start to the Bundesliga season and with PSG lying in wait in the group, City know the importance of getting off to a winning start.
You can follow all the action with Standard Sport’s LIVE blog below...
Kick-off: 8pm, Etihad Stadium
Grealish stunner restores cushion
Nkunku heads his second
Mahrez penalty restores two goal cushion
Calamitous own goal makes it 2-0
Ake with his first Champions League goal
TV channel: BT Sport 3
Man City team news: De Bruyne starts
Prediction: Man City 3-1 RB Leipzig
Full time: Man City 6-3 Leipzig
21:58 , Daniel Gallan
Full time: Man City 6-3 Leipzig
Madness. What a game. Defending was optional but you won’t see any complaints here. That was loads of fun. Crackers from Grealish and Cancelo, a ridiculous own goal, a hat-trick from Nkunku and a red card from Angelino.
This is a game that really did have everything.
Hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for hanging. Look out for the match report to come.
Four added minutes
21:51 , Daniel Gallan
90mins: This feels like a mercy. I’m breathless just watching.
Ah go on. Let’s have one more.
GOAL! Jesus makes it six
21:47 , Daniel Gallan
85mins: GOAL! Jesus makes it six
After a bit of VAR consultation the goal is awarded and Jesus makes it six. The ball pings around the box and squirts to the poacher who hammers home into the roof of the net from close range.
Grealish off, Jesus on
21:42 , Daniel Gallan
81mins: City’s B team would win most leagues in the world, wouldn’t they?
Off comes one of the goal scorers and on comes a goalscorer in the form of Jesus.
Nkunku is off as well. He’s done his bit becoming the first Leipzig player to score a Champions League hat-trick. He’s replaced by Gvardiol.
RED CARD! Angelino sent off
21:40 , Daniel Gallan
79mins: RED CARD! Angelino sent off
BINGO! That completes the set in a game that’s already had a hattrick, an own goal and several worldies.
Former City player Angelino lunges in on Cancelo and cuts him half as the ball rises to about belly height.
He can have no complaints and it really was a foolish thing to do given he was already on a card.
GOAL! Cancelo worldie!
21:38 , Daniel Gallan
75mins: GOAL! Cancelo worldie!
This is the eighth goal tonight and truth be told it’s come as no surprise given the bonkers nature of this tie.
Arguably the pick of the bunch as Concelo gets the ball around 25 yards from goal and on the angle towards the right. He sets himself and hits it with his laces. It’s not quite in the top corner but it explodes off his boot.
What a game, what a goal, what a sport!
GOAL! Nkunku hattrick!
21:35 , Daniel Gallan
74mins: GOAL! Nkunku hattrick!
Be honest, who had this as one of the all-time Champions League group stage classics?
The young French striker has just bagged a hattrick. He’s put through on a tight angle by Poulsen and he hammers it hard and high into the rood. Leipzig back in this.
De Bruyne off for Stirling as Foden also comes on
21:32 , Daniel Gallan
72mins: It’s a double switch from Manchester City and this really does underline the strength in depth this team has.
De Bruyne and Torres comes off and on comes Stirling and Foden.
Leipzig also make a switch as Brobbey replaces Olmo.
GOAL! Oh, but it’s off-side
21:27 , Daniel Gallan
66mins: It’s impossible to keep on top of this one. It’s another goal as Torres does brilliantly, rounding the keeper after collecting a beautiful ball from Gundogan but the striker is off-side. Just. It really couldn’t have been tighter.
21:22 , Daniel Gallan
59mins: A few subs here amidst all that fun.
Fernandinho is on for Rodri and Silva has been replaced by Gundogan.
Leipzig make three changes. Haidara, Poulsen and Szobaslai on, Forsberg, Andre Silva and Laimer off.
Oh, Angelino was booked shortly before for cutting down De Bruyne.
GOAL! Grealish stunner
21:19 , Daniel Gallan
56mins: GOAL! Grealish stunner
That’s why they spent £100million on him. He gathers the ball a mile from the Leipzig box near the left hand touchline and drives and drives and drives until he gets inside the area, cuts inside, shifts it onto his right boot and curls in a wicked ball inside the far post. Think vintage Ronaldo during his first stint at Manchester United and you’re not far off.
A brilliant goal puts City back in command.
GOAL! Nkunku heads his second
21:14 , Daniel Gallan
51mins: Nkunku heads his second
Well then. This game takes another turn. Nkunku has his second goal thanks to a powerful header inside the City box, though Pep will wonder where the marking was.
It’s come from a counter attack that also included De Bruyne running into the referee and staying on the ground. The ball is worked left again - a perennial problem for City tonight - and Olmo puts it on a plate for Nkunku who leaps in the air and bulges the net.
Grealish draws another foul and Adams goes in the book
21:10 , Daniel Gallan
49mins: The American chops down Grealish (you know he was fouled more times than any other Premier League player last season?) and gets his name in the book.
Half-time: Man City 3-1
21:06 , Daniel Gallan
45mins: We’re back. But is there a way back for Leipzig who had done so well to score a goal themselves but now face a mountain up ahead.
GOAL! Mahrez penalty
20:52 , Daniel Gallan
45mins: GOAL! Mahrez penalty
Oh that seems harsh. The ball has hardly travelled a few yards as it makes contact with Klostermann’s arm after Torres’ header. But the ref, after consulting with the monitor on the touchline, has deemed it was dangling in an unnatural position.
Mahrez steps up and rifles/hammers/arrows it into the ‘keeper’s top right corner. even if he was standing there waiting it still would have gone in.
VAR! Is this a penalty?
20:48 , Daniel Gallan
45mins: What’s this? The ref is having a look at a possible hand ball inside the Leipzig box.
GOAL! Nkunku header
20:47 , Daniel Gallan
43mins: Nkunku headed goal
That was coming (at least for five minutes) and Leipzig are not out of this yet.
The ball pings about in front of the Coity box before it’s shifted left to Forsberg who requires no back lift to clips a wonderful ball to the far post.
Mukiele makes up for his howler earlier by keeping it alive and nodding it back centrally where Nkunku has a simple task heading it home.
City switched off after going 2-0 up and now need to switch back on before half time.
City maintaining high line
20:43 , Daniel Gallan
40mins: It’s interesting to Pep maintain this high line against a team that needs to chase the game. One might expect them to shift gear and look to counter but no, a man is nothing without his principles.
Leipzig are exploiting the gaps behind however and they get in again down City’s right. Cancelo looking a little isolated out there with De Bruyne not providing much cover.
Leipzig not giving up
20:41 , Daniel Gallan
38mins: A wonderful ball from inside Leipzig’s half beats City’s high line and unleashes Angeliño who marauds down the left and gets to the byline. He puts in a low cross that Ake steers over the bar.
20:39 , Daniel Gallan
35mins: Leipzig thought they’d pulled one back through Andre Silva but he’s rightly ruled off-side as Zinchenko held his line to perfection. A yard off in the end even though the flag went up late.
GOAL! Own goal from Leipzig
20:33 , Daniel Gallan
28mins GOAL! Mukiele own goal
My goodness. That was calamitous. I reckon you’ll see that one in a bloopers reel in the future.
It’s a brisk ball in from the right touchline by De Bruyne but it bounces short of its intended target and Mukiele has plenty of time to head this behind for a corner.
Instead he stoops low and bizarrely nods it into his own goal. He’s crestfallen as you’d expect.
We haven’t had half an hour and that’s probably the game.
Delicious ball in
20:29 , Daniel Gallan
27mins: Does anyone in world football kick a football better than De Bruyne. Maybe, but not many. He whips it, dips it and curls it into a tantalising position around the back post. But Ake can’t reach it even after arriving from an off-side position.
Grealish is fouled
20:27 , Daniel Gallan
25mins: In other news, water is wet.
City with another chance to put one in. Silva and De Bruyne stand over it from the the left.
No penalty! No corner?
20:23 , Daniel Gallan
21mins: Mahrez is looking at the ref and pointing to his arm as he takes aim with a shot that’s deflected away. No chance of a penalty to be fair, but how’s that not a corner?
Either way, City beginning to climb though the gears. A second looks imminent.
GOAL! Ake header!
20:22 , Daniel Gallan
16mins GOAL: Nathan Ake with a powerful header
It’s his first goal in the Champions League too. It comes off a Grealish corner from the left that’s curled in for the dreadlocked defender who can’t miss as he’s unmarked just a few yards from goal. I don’t think he had to jump!
That will force Leipzig out of their shell a little and might change the shape of this game.
20:17 , Daniel Gallan
14mins: As if governed by a script this match has settled into a predictable pattern. City are playing neat balls until they launch a diagonal to Grealish. Leipzig have transitioned well when they lose the ball cramping City in midfield while coiling themselves for a counter against City’s high line.
20:14 , Daniel Gallan
12mins: Wow. That’s a bit harsh. Zinchenko commits a foul, no question, but a yellow card for that? Seemed a bit soft. He’ll have to be cautious now for the rest of the match. Long way to go. Keep an eye on that one.
20:13 , Daniel Gallan
11mins: Torres goes down in the box and the ref blows his whistle. But it’s for a late offside call on the City striker. Either way, didn’t look like a penalty.
De Bruyne painting a picture
20:10 , Daniel Gallan
8mins: It’s a relatively routine ball from the centre of the pitch out right for Mahrez, but even in the basic tasks De Bruyne makes this game look beautiful.
Mahrez chucks a few step overs but his cross is blocked and deflected for a throw near the right corner flag.
Grealish on the charge
20:08 , Daniel Gallan
4mins: Grealish demonstrates why he’s become an instant favourite of Pep’s. After City knock the ball around the England international gatheres and drives forward. Nothing comes of it but he’s showing intent.
Fans applaud the knee
20:06 , Daniel Gallan
They may have shown their disdain for UEFA, but at least there was unity for the anti-racist gesture of taking the knee before kickoff.
20:01 , Daniel Gallan
That’s not us, that’s a direct quote from the Manchester City fans boo the Champions League anthem. Apparently still reserve some hatred for UEFA ð¤·ð»âï¸
Guardiola explains the absence of two centrebacks
19:54 , Daniel Gallan
The City boss has just revealed that Aymeric Laporte and John Stones both picked up injuries while on international duty:
“The guys who played in the last three games are so important to us,” he said, “but everyone has to start being part of the group for this tough, tough and busy, busy schedule.”
Here’s what he had to say about tonight’s opposition: “They are so intense, with so many transitions. They are so aggressive the way they play. Hopefully we can play good with the ball and win the game. Leipzig are always very good. They have a strong philosophy - young players, dynamic, physical, strong, playing narrow in all senses.”
Leipzig players took a stroll around town
19:38 , Daniel Gallan
Nice to see the visiting team enjoy some of the sights of a Manchester in the sunshine.
There’s a sight for sore eyes
19:32 , Daniel Gallan
No matter which team you support, you have to feel a flutter in the corner of your heart reserved for football when you see Kevin de Bruyne with a ball at his feet. He’s back in the starting line up tonight.
Milestone for Pep
19:22 , Daniel Gallan
Tonight’s game is Pep Guardiola’s 300th in charge of Manchester City. He’s won a whopping 218 of them and lifted 10 trophies. Which is pretty good. Still hasn’t won this one though.
A (somewhat) familiar face for City fans
19:13 , Daniel Gallan
Angeliño was a Manchester City player between July 2012 and 2021, when he completed a permanent move to Leipzig having been on loan at the club since January 2020. He made only six Premier League appearances for City, all in the first half of that 2019/20 campaign.
Leipzig stack the midfield
19:03 , Daniel Gallan
In a clear attempt to combat City’s inevitable dominance of the ball, RB Leipzig have gone with a five man midfield and two dedicated defensive players.
4-2-3-1: Gulacsi, Angelino, Mukiele, Orban, Klosterman, Adams, Laimer, Nkunku, Forsberg, Olmo, Andre Silve
Subs: Martinez, Simakan, Haidara, Poulson, Szobozlai, Brobbey, Moriba, Gvardiol, Henrichs, Kampl
De Bruyne is back, Mahrez starts
18:47 , Daniel Gallan
4-3-3: Ederson, Cancelo, Dias (C), Ake, Zinchenko, Rodrigo, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Grealish, Torres, Mahrez.
Subs: Carson, Slicker, Walker, Sterling, Gundogan, Jesus, Fernandinho, Foden, Palmer, Lavia.
Malik doesn’t give the Germans a hope
18:40 , Daniel Gallan
Don’t all tag him at once, but Malik Ouzia reckons this will be a stroll for the English champions:
“Guardiola’s men will be desperate to get off to a good start in the group ahead of a huge trip to Paris to take on PSG on matchday two.
Man City 3-1 RB Leipzig”
You heard it here first.
Conditions are perfect
18:25 , Daniel Gallan
Fancy making a buck?
18:02 , Daniel Gallan
If you’re so inclined, you can put some dosh on the game. Here’s what Betfair has to say on the matter (subject to change of course).
Man City to win: 2/7
Leipzig to win: 9/1
New territory for both clubs
17:48 , Daniel Gallan
This will be the first time these two clubs will meet in a competitive fixture. Perhaps unsurprising given their new-money status in European football.
Where to watch Man City vs RB Leipzig
17:39 , Daniel Gallan
Pep Guardiola wants this trophy, and he wants it bad!
You’ve got some time yet but make sure you’re in front of a TV showing BT Sport 3. Alternatively BT Sport subscribers can watch the match online via the website or BT Sport app.
17:32 , Malik Ouzia
Hello and welcome to Standard Sport’s LIVE coverage of Manchester City vs RB Leipzig from the Etihad.
We’ll have all the team news and build-up ahead of an 8pm kick-off...