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City-Gladbach rescheduled for Wednesday

The postponed Champions League Group C match between Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach has been rearranged for 7.45pm local time on Wednesday.

It means the sides will kick-off 24 hours after originally planned at the Etihad Stadium due to a torrential downpour in Manchester shortly after 6pm that put paid to Tuesday’s fixture.

Standing water on the playing surface meant Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers and his team of officials struggled to move a ball along the pitch during an inspection less than an hour before the scheduled start, while City goalkeepers Claudio Bravo and Willy Caballero swiftly abandoned their planned warm-up.

However, it was flooding in areas around the stadium that City cited in a statement released to confirm a 7.25pm postponement on safety and security grounds

The decision was made by City’s safety inspection group in conjunction with UEFA officials and the two clubs, while the pitch drained impressively enough to appear in fine condition for top-level football.

Monchengladbach face Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga on Saturday and spokesman Markus Aretz told reporters his club were pushing for an earlier kick-off on Wednesday, with 6pm their preference on account of wanting to fly back to Germany earlier than Thursday morning.

However, the upshot of a meeting between representatives from City, Monchengladbach and European football’s governing body at 9.30pm – taking place after the two-hour window outlined as a resolution period for postponed fixtures in UEFA’s competition regulations – was a 7.45pm Wednesday start.

Practicalities in terms of matchday staffing and stewarding meant City were unable to make a 6pm start work, while the Premier League club offered Monchengladbach accommodation at their City Football Academy adjacent to the Etihad Stadium.

“We asked UEFA and Manchester City play at 6pm because, for sporting reasons we wanted to fly back to Germany,” Aretz explained.

“That was important for us but City could not make that possible. They said we had to play at 7.45 like today.

“So UEFA had to make the decision to play at 7.45. We are not happy with that. We have to take it like it is.

“A hotel is no problem. City offered us to spend the next night in the Academy. That was no help because hotel was not a problem.

“I think it is always a disadvantage when you have to stay one day longer than planned. I think, for the away team, it is a disadvantage without fans.”

Manchester city centre suffered flash flooding and the Metrolink tram service – a major commuter route to the ground– was suspended as a result of Tuesday’s downpour, with the majority of the 1,500 travelling supporters now facing hastily rearranged travel or a fruitless trip.

Monchengladbach midfielder Oscar Wendt said: “We are disappointed for the fans because 90 per cent of them will probably not be able to watch the rearranged game,” he said.

“But if the decision had to be taken for safety reasons then we understand it and respect it.”

Tue 13 Sep, 2016
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