Man City vs RB Leipzig – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Tuesday 14th March 2023
As part of our Champions League predictions, we take a look at the second leg of the round of 16 tie between Man City and RB Leipzig. Though City dominated the first half, the 1-1 draw was a fair result; can City finish the job? Read on with our Man City vs RB Leipzig prediction.
Man City vs RB Leipzig Match Preview
As we’ve just alluded to (and we correctly predicted in our RB Leipzig vs Man City prediction), Manchester City were able to dominate the first half of their first leg round of 16 Champions League encounter away to RB Leipzig. Unfortunately for Pep Guardiola’s men, they were unable to capitalise and score what might have been a crucial second goal, and in the second half, RB Leipzig were able to grow into the game. The Germans were able to fashion several excellent chances before Croatian defender Josko Gvardiol equalised with a free header from a couple of yards out. Overall, the match was a well-balanced one taking into account that, for much of the second half, the home side were the more dangerous team.
Domestically, since their first leg match, Man City have won all four of their matches in the Premier League and FA Cup, with differing degrees of dominance. City were clinical away to Bournemouth, who are in the midst of a general defensive improvement as they demonstrated at the weekend in their shock 1-0 victory over Liverpool. Three first-half goals made light work of the south coast side on the way to a 4-1 win.
A 3-0 away day victory in the FA Cup over Championship side Bristol City afford Guardiola the opportunity to rest a few players and provide opportunities to those on the bench needing minutes. This was followed up by a routine 2-0 victory over a Newcastle side who, although they have retained their defensive solidity, have scored just eight goals in their last 10 Premier League matches. A 1-0 victory over a Crystal Palace side who are winless in 10 games but generally well organised defensively was effectively more of the same. Therefore, we can say that City are in competent, but not excellent, form coming into this second leg tie.
RB Leipzig’s recent Bundesliga results have gone much as you might expect based on their quality relative to their opponents. A hard-fought 2-1 victory over reigning Europa League and fellow CL round of 16 side Frankfurt saw them produce a quality first-half performance before they were reined in during the second half. While Leipzig lost away to Dortmund 2-1, they outperformed their hosts on the xG stat by 2.52 to 1.26, as they pressed high up the pitch in search of an equaliser. 70% possession, 12 attempts to three and seven fouls to four (showing their determination to win the ball back high up the pitch) weren’t enough to bring the game level.
On the weekend, Leipzig ultimately dispatched Borussia Moenchengladbach with ease, but not before surviving a penalty scare early in the second half. Fortunately for Rose’s men, the penalty from French forward Alassane Plea was poorly struck and produced a routine save. From there, and with Leipzig having been the better team for most of the game, goals from Werner, Forsberg and Gvardiol ensured that they went ahead of Union Berlin in the standings, but also that they weren’t overtaken by Freiburg in what is now an exciting race for Champions League qualification for next season.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play:
Will Not Play:
Might Not Play:
Will Not Play: Diallo, Gulacsi, Nkunku, Schlager
Man City vs RB Leipzig Lineups (Predicted)
Man City (4-2-3-1): Ederson; Ake, Laporte, Dias, Walker; Gundogan, Rodri; Grealish, De Bruyne, Mahrez; Haaland
RB Leipzig (4-2-3-1): Blaswich; Heinrichs, Gvardiol, Orban, Halstenberg; Laimer, Haidara; Werner, Forsberg, Szoboszlai; Andre Silva
Man City vs RB Leipzig Analysis
City’s Recent Issues Against the Low Block
While RB Leipzig were much better in the second half of their first leg encounter, City were unable to build upon their 1-0 lead in Germany and frankly, though their goal was well finished by Riyad Mahrez, there was an element of fortune about Grealish’s ball through to him which took a kind deflection. A 1-1 draw with Forest in which City just could not put the ball in the back of the net for a decisive goal and a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace in which they eventually made the breakthrough via an Erling Haaland penalty (which we also correctly predicted in our Crystal Palace vs Man City prediction) shows that City are struggling at times to balance control and goal threat.
There has perhaps been something of an over-emphasis in football discourse about the importance of the possession statistic and the number of passes made in a particular match. While it is an effective way of maintaining control and ensuring that the opposition can’t hurt you, it can become sterile without the necessary creativity and flair to go with it. In short, it needs elite, and crucially in-form playmakers to work at its best. This due to the fact that when space is at a premium as the play is condensed into the opposition’s half, it becomes much more difficult to play a penetrating pass or to find a half-yard of space as the opponents can sit in and organise themselves.
This has been something of an issue for City in certain games lately and they’re perhaps a little fortunate not to have dropped a few more points. Perhaps somewhat ironically, City’s most impressive recent result was achieved with just 36% possession away to Arsenal. While we’re not suggesting that City will start to become a more reactive team or that Pep Guardiola will look to sign a raft of 6ft-plus physical presences, it does demonstrate that City’s coaching staff are aware of the need to balance control with goal threat, particularly with the investment they’ve made in Erling Haaland, and they will continue to refine this approach game by game until they feel it’s near optimal.
Leipzig Can’t Let the Game Get Away From Them
If we look at RB Leipzig’s matches against the three best teams they’ve played this season – Bayern Munich, Man City and Dortmund, in all three matches they found themselves down at half time having been second best for the most part. What do all these matches have in common? Leipzig were the better team in the second half and they managed to adjust each time. The problem is, while they rescued results at home to Bayern and Man City (two 1-1 draws), they ultimately left themselves with too much to do against Dortmund and fell to a 2-1 defeat.
It’s tempting to suggest that Leipzig will again fall into the same pattern of play and therefore the same trap, but we’re going to give their coaching staff credit in that they will identify this as a problem and will look to play more positively against City here. Their second-half displays in each of those matches should surely give them the confidence to avoid ceding 70% plus possession and territory as they did in their first-half performance in the first leg in which they were clearly second best and fortunate that City weren’t able to do more damage.
It’s an incredibly difficult balancing act which they did exceptionally well at achieving in the second half of the first leg tie. What we mean by this is that City now have an obvious goalscoring threat in transition to add to Kevin De Bruyne’s clear proficiency in getting the ball forward quickly and decisively. Therefore, Leipzig will probably have to rely upon their attacking quartet which is shorn of highly-rated second striker Christopher Nkunku, due to injury, to operate without the support they’d normally get from their fullbacks and central midfielders. We think Leipzig will look to play positively but without compromising their defensive shape. They will probably aim for between 35% and 45% of the ball as they look to move it quickly to catch City’s defensive unit out of position when they get forward as they inevitably do.
We’re backing City to progress; after all, they are the better team with mostly better players and with home advantage in their favour. While they weren’t able to add to Riyad Mahrez’s opening goal in the first leg, they were good enough in that first half to suggest that they can break down Leipzig a few times and create the necessary opportunities to win the game. With the caveat that they perform better than they did against Crystal Palace.
RB Leipzig for their part have proven that they can compete with this City team when they opt to play a more positive brand of football – just as they did against Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in the second half of those matches. We’ll give them some credit and suggest that they will have learned from the opening leg in which they were too passive in the first half. Therefore, we’re backing both sides to create dangerous situations throughout the match but that City will ultimately have the better of it and do enough to progress.
Man City 2-1 RB Leipzig
Man City vs RB Leipzig Betting Tip – Over 2.5 Goals Odds:
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