2021 Champions League Round of 16 Predictions: Manchester City vs Borussia Monchengladbach
When Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach clash on Wednesday in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 matchup, this will be the seventh and eighth between the German and English sides. The most recent meeting between the two clubs happened in the 2016 Champions League group stage, where over two group games, Man City raced out to a 4-0 win and a 1-1 draw. You have to go all the way back to 1979 for the only time Monchengladbach has beaten Manchester City. Manchester City is into the round of 16 via first place in Group C with 16 points, just three points clear of Porto. Monchengladbach escaped the proverbial group of death by finishing second ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk. Both teams were level on eight points (three ahead of Inter Milan), but Gladbach won the head-to-head tie break.
Manchester City is one of the best teams in Europe, but they always seem to fall short when it matters most. They’ve been knocked out in each of the past three seasons in the quarterfinals and to teams that were inferior to them at the time. If ever there was a time for City to get over the hump, this would be the season as they are on a dominant run of form right now. As for Borussia Monchengladbach, they have tasted a bit of European success, but you’d have to go back in time to 1974/75 and 1978/79 to their UEFA Cup Winning seasons.
As it currently stands, Manchester City is a massive -1600 favorite to advance to the quarterfinals. That’s a crazy price in any sport regardless of which team you are backing. If you believe City can navigate their way past Gladbach, you can grab them at +250 to lift the trophy, which is better odds than each of the 16 remaining teams. If you believe that the German side has what it takes to pull off the upset, you can grab them at +850 or perhaps take it one step further and grab them at +15000 to win the entire tournament.
First Leg: Puskas Arena, Budapest; Wednesday, February 24 @ 3:00 pm
Second Leg: Etihad Stadium, Manchester; Tuesday, March 16 @ 4:00 pm
Manchester City Storylines
After a rather pedestrian start to the domestic league, Manchester City has exploded onto the scene in a massive way. They are currently top of the EPL table with 59 points, which is a clear 10 points better than second-place Manchester United and Leicester City. Manchester City have had a run for the ages as they’ve now won 18 straight games in all competitions and are unbeaten in 25 matches. That’s insane even for a City team that has the best players in the world filling out their roster.
They come into Wednesday’s clash with the German side having beaten Arsenal on the road by a score of 1-0. They looked every bit the part of a powerhouse but couldn’t quite find the second goal to extend the lead. Nonetheless, the offense has been booming as they’ve notched 14 goals in their last five games alone. In terms of injury news to pass along, City is fully healthy and will have a full complement of players to choose from.
Probable Starting XI: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Cancelo; Rodri, Silva, Gundogan; Foden, De Bruyne, Sterling
Borussia Monchengladbach Storylines
The German side is all but out of the Bundesliga title race and with just the Champions League competition left for them to contest, you can be sure they planned their lineups accordingly in the games leading up to this one. Gladbach comes into this contest in eighth spot on 33 points, which is just four points back of fifth spot and that coveted Europa League group stage spot. They still have plenty of time to push up the standings as they’ve got 16 games left on the schedule. In terms of form, Gladbach comes into this game on a 10-game run that’s seen them notch five wins, three draws and two losses. However, the last three games have featured two losses and a draw, so current form is not something to write home about. At home, Monchengladbach fare just as well as they do on the road, so not even playing the first leg “at home” (this is a neutral site game) is going to give them an advantage.
In terms of injuries, Borussia Monchengladbach are in the same boat as Manchester City as they have a fully fit squad to choose from, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Germans put out as many attackers as possible in hopes of winning the game and taking the lead back to the Ethiad or if they choose a more defensive lineup and hope, whatever happens, happens.
Probable Starting XI: Sommer; Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Bensebaini; Kramer, Neuhaus, Zakaria; Plea, Embolo, Hofmann
Manchester City vs Borussia Monchengladbach Predictions
It’s tough to bet against Manchester City at any point in the season, let alone when they have won 18 straight games. They are currently listed as -1.5 (-120) favorites on the Asian line and -325 on the standard moneyline. It’s tough to lay that much juice in a soccer match, but the price is somewhat warranted. The total is 3, which tells me this could very well end up 2-0 or 3-0. I’d lean to the “over” because I do think Gladbach is good enough to notch a goal.
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