On Tuesday, Pep Guardiola will continue his quest to win the Champions League as Manchester City host RB Leipzig in the round of 16 second leg after a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Germany. In Champions League play, Guardiola can be prone to overthink things instead of letting his talented attack pass a team to submission which can make his lineup decisions interesting to see and even more interesting to ponder.
In that first leg, City played a 3-2-4-1 without a true left-back, pushing Kyle Walker into a midfield role but in following matches, the team have either reverted to a traditional 4-2-3-1 or a back three with Phil Foden on the wing which is where the focus for this match comes into play. Walker will likely come back into the lineup for John Stones who started at right-back against Crystal Palace which gives Foden more space to work on the wing.
Kevin de Bruyne was also rested during the weekend in the Premier League displaying Guardiola’s focus. The team should have been good enough at half-strength to get points off of Palace and thanks to a chance from the spot by Erling Haaland, they were. With everyone expected to come back in for this match, it will give Foden a chance to do what he does best in support of Haaland.
It has been an up-and-down season for the Englishman, coming in and out of the lineup. As of late, he has been a mainstay on the right wing with two goals and an assist in his last four starts. Not playing in the first leg against RB Leipzig, Foden is someone who can change the complexion of this match due to his directness.
RB Leipzig are a team that know Haaland well from his time in the Bundesliga and Josko Gvardiol is a talented center back that can keep up with Haaland’s movement. But returning to basics, Foden and City can unlock what has been a strong Lepzig defense. Jack Grealish draws pressure on one wing with his dribbles and ball retention while Foden and De Bruyne are great with quick switches and shooting to keep a defense honest.
Playing in front of Rodri, the attack doesn’t have to track back much and Walker will provide more support on the wing while pushing forward to keep RB Leipzig narrow en route to City likely marching on to the final eight in Champions League.
Manchester City: Ederson; Nathan Ake, Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji, Kyle Walker; Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan, Jack Grealish, Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden; Erling Haaland
RB Leipzig: Janis Blaswich; Benjamin Henrichs, Willi Orban, Josko Gvardiol, Marcel Halstenberg; Konrad Laimer, Amadou Haidara, Dominik Szoboszlai, Emil Forsberg; Andre Silva, Timo Werner
How to watch and odds
Date: Tuesday, March 13 2023 | Time: 4 p.m. ET
Location: Etihad Stadium — Manchester, England
Live stream: Paramount+
Odds: Man City -270; Draw +380; Leipzig +700 (via Caesars Sportsbook)