Manchester City’s confirmed line-up vs Real Madrid in Champions League
Kyle Walker comes into the City side to replace the injured Nathan Aké and will be tasked with tacking the Brazilian winger.
Manchester City return to the Bernabéu in the Champions League semi-finals today, with Pep Guardiola’s men out to avenge their defeat to Real Madrid at the same stage of last year’s competition.
Los Blancos, who lifted the Copa del Rey at the weekend, eliminated City in dramatic fashion 12 months ago, thanks to a last-gasp comeback in Madrid. With that painful European exit still fresh in the memory, the Premier League champions go to the Spanish capital with Erling Haaland their chief threat, as they bid to draw first blood against a Madrid side targeting back-to-back continental crowns.
Walker in as Aké misses out for City
City have an important absentee in defence. The visitors will be without Nathan Aké, after the defender limped out of the Sky Blues’ Premier League win over Leeds at the weekend. The Dutchman hasn’t travelled to Spain, forcing City’s head coach to seek out a replacement for his three-man backline.
Kyle Walker has been confirmed as Aké's replacement. The Englishman, whose key characteristics are his pace and power, is set to do battle with Madrid’s effervescent winger Vinícius Júnior. Walker will occupy the right-back berth in defence, with Manuel Akanji switching to Aké's left-sided position and Rúben Dias in the centre. The question remains whether John Stones will play alongside the Portuguese in central defence of move forward into a midfield role.
A defensive or midfield role for Stones?
Ederson Moraes will play in goal, while Kevin de Bruyne is fit to take his place in City’s XI after returning from injury to start against Leeds.
Rodri, and possibly Stones, will be at the base of the midfield, with De Bruyne playing in front of the anchorman (or men) alongside Ilkay Gündogan. Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva are set to start on the wings, with Haaland spearheading a side which could set up in a 3-2-2-3 formation, but may switch to 4-3-3. Grealish’s fine form, and Silva’s versatility, are key factors in their likely inclusion in Guardiola’s line-up at the Bernabéu.
Manchester City’s confirmed line-up vs Real Madrid
City’s starting XI against Real Madrid is: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Akanji; De Bruyne, Rodri, De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Haaland, Grealish.