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Manchester City logo
Champions League | Round of 16 | 2nd Leg
Mar 6, 2024 at 8pm UK
Etihad Stadium
FC Copenhagen

Man City
3 - 1

Akanji (5'), Alvarez (9'), Haaland (45+3')
FT(HT: 3-1)
Elyounoussi (29')
Cornelius (84'), Mattsson (90')

Preview: Manchester City vs. Copenhagen - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Champions League clash between Manchester City and Copenhagen, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Fresh from their domestic derby triumph at the weekend, Manchester City resume their defence of the Champions League when they welcome Copenhagen to the Etihad Stadium for the second leg of their last-16 tie on Wednesday.

The Citizens boast a two-goal advantage heading into this contest after securing a 3-1 first-leg victory in Denmark three weeks ago.

Match preview

Manchester City's Erling Haaland celebrates scoring their third goal with Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva on March 3, 2024© Reuters

Man City registered their 17th victory of a impressive 19-game unbeaten run across all competitions after coming from behind at half time to beat rivals Manchester United 3-1 at the Etihad on Sunday to boost their Premier League title hopes.

The reigning champions were left stunned when Marcus Rashford scored a 25-yard screamer in the eighth minute to put the Red Devils in front, but they eventually prevailed in dominant fashion, as a superb second-half brace from Phil Foden - labelled the best player in the Premier League by manager Pep Guardiola - and a stoppage-time strike from Erling Haaland secured three important points and the bragging right for the jubilant hosts.

With 11 Premier League games remaining, Man City currently sit second in the table and only one point behind leaders Liverpool, who welcome the Citizens to Anfield for a mouthwatering, and potentially pivotal, top-of-the-table showdown on Sunday.

An FA Cup quarter-final tie with Newcastle United is also on the horizon for Guardiola and co, but the treble chasers must first shift their attention back to the Champions League as they endeavour to finish the job against Copenhagen and secure a safe passage through to the quarter-finals for the seventh successive season.

Goals from Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Foden helped Man City run out victors against Copenhagen on February 13, and the Citizens – who have not lost any of their five meetings with the Danish outfit – will fancy their chances of success on Wednesday, with victory enabling them to become just the third team in Champions League history to register at least 10 consecutive wins in the competition after Real Madrid (10 up to February 2015) and Bayern Munich (10 up to November 2013 and 15 up to November 2020).

FC Copenhagen's Magnus Mattsson celebrates scoring their first goal with Rasmus Falk on February 13, 2024© Reuters

Competing in the Champions League knockout rounds for just the second time in their history and for the first time since 2010-11, Copenhagen had reason to be optimistic heading into their last-16 first-leg tie with Man City after claiming eight points from six group-stage games – including victories over Man United and Galatasaray – to finish second behind group winners Bayern.

Parken Stadium erupted when debutant Magnus Mattsson cancelled out De Bruyne's opener with a sweet first-time strike midway through the first half, but their commendable efforts to compete with the holders were ultimately in vain, as Bernardo restored City's lead on the stroke of half time before Foden added a third in second-half stoppage time.

Head coach Jacob Neestrup acknowledged after the game that Man City "were a level or two above the opponents we faced in the group", and although his side now have a steep mountain to climb in Wednesday's second leg, they can travel to the Etihad knowing that they have nothing to lose, with the hope of at least taking positives from their ability to test themselves once again against the current European and world champions.

After losing in the first leg, Copenhagen responded well by claiming back-to-back Danish Superliga victories over Silkeborg and Nordsjaelland without reply, but they were dealt a blow in the title race last Friday as they suffered a 2-0 away defeat to leaders Midtjylland and have subsequently slipped three points behind the summit.

The Nordic outfit are bidding to create history on Wednesday as they have never won away from home against English opposition in European competition. However, success against Man City will be a tall order considering that they have not won a Champions League away game since December 2016, while they were thrashed 5-0 the last time that they visited the Etihad in October 2022.

Manchester City Champions League form:

Manchester City form (all competitions):

Copenhagen Champions League form:

Copenhagen form (all competitions):

Team News

Manchester City's Josko Gvardiol pictured on December 16, 2023© Reuters

Man City's only injury absentee is Jack Grealish, who is nursing a groin problem and may not be fit to represent England during the international break later this month.

However, the Citizens were boosted by the return of Josko Gvardiol to the matchday squad last weekend after six games out with an ankle injury, and the Croatian defender could be in a position to start at left-back, meaning that Nathan Ake may either drop out of the first XI or move over to centre-back.

Guardiola may be tempted to make a few changes to his starting lineup, considering their two-goal advantage over Copenhagen and also with one eye on Sunday's trip to Liverpool, so the likes of Manuel Akanji, Rico Lewis, Mateo Kovacic, Matheus Nunes and Julian Alvarez could be handed starts.

As for Copenhagen, Lukas Lerager is available to return from a one-match ban, but the midfielder is currently in the treatment room with an unspecified injury along with Theo Sander, Davit Khocholava (both knee) and Viktor Claesson (unspecified), the latter of whom was withdrawn in the first half of Friday's loss at Midtjylland.

All four players are set to miss the trip to the Etihad, while Emil Hojlund – the brother of Man United striker Rasmus Hojlund – is doubtful and will be assessed ahead of kickoff.

In the absence of Claesson, either Andreas Cornelius, Jordan Larsson or in-demand teenager Roony Bardghji could be tasked with leading the line, joining Elias Achouri and former Southampton winger Mohamed Elyounoussi in attack.

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Dias, Ake, Gvardiol; Kovacic, Rodri; Foden, Alvarez, Doku; Haaland

Copenhagen possible starting lineup:
Grabara; Jelert, Vavro, McKenna, Diks; Goncalves, Falk, Mattsson; Elyounoussi, Larsson, Achouri

SM words green background

We say: Manchester City 3-0 Copenhagen (Manchester City to win 6-1 on aggregate)

Complacency should not be an issue for Man City on Wednesday, and even if Guardiola opts to freshen up his side, the Citizens will be regarded as firm favourites to come out on top in the second leg.

Copenhagen can play without fear and will hope to implement some of their impressive spells from the first leg at the Etihad, but the hosts should ultimately have too much for the Danish outfit and we can see the holders securing a safe passage through to the last eight.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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