Manchester City defied the odds to reach the Champions League semi-finals, and they are now in a position to battle the most successful team in the competition for a place in the final. Los Blancos overcame a two-goal deficit to defeat Wolfsburg in the quarter-finals and they will want to prove they have what it takes to lift the coveted trophy.
For large periods of the season it looked as though Manchester City fans would not have much to celebrate this summer, apart from being able to welcome Pep Guardiola to Etihad Stadium, but the Citizens appear to have managed to turn things around. Man City first secured the League Cup trophy to ensure they do not miss out on silverware, before climbing back to third in the Premier League standings thanks to a very good run of results. But, it were team’s Champions League performances that had the biggest impact on the current season as the 3-2 aggregate win over Paris Saint-Germain in the quarter-finals proved everyone that this team have what it takes to fight for the CL trophy. There have been a lot of positives of late, as playmaker Kevin De Bruyne quickly rediscovered his form after returning from injury, which in turn helped Sergio Aguero find his goalscoring boots. Captain Vincent Kompany has returned into action and is in contention to start, while Man City kept three clean sheets in last four games without him, so it goes without saying that the Citizens head into the high-profile clash in very good spirits.
Captain Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho are expected to start after they were both rested in weekend’s win over Stoke City.
However, Yaya Toure and Fernando picked up injuries at the weekend and they will be assessed on match day, while Raheem Sterling is available for selection.
Mere few weeks ago, Real Madrid were well behind Barcelona in the La Liga standings and on the verge of Champions League exit after the disappointing 2-0 loss to Wolfsburg in Germany, but how things have changed since. Los Blancos produced an excellent performance to overcome a two-goal deficit and secure their place in the CL semis, whereas four successive triumphs in La Liga saw them close the gap behind their bitter rivals to a single point. This basically means that Real Madrid are still in contention for two major trophies, although the European campaign has the priority at the moment due to the fact that both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have the edge in the La Liga title chase. Los Blancos may have extended their winning run to five straight games, but they had to work hard for the win against Rayo Vallecano, coming from two goals behind, with Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo sorely missed in Vallecas. The good news is he should return for the Manchester City clash, while few more important players have overcome minor knocks and look set to start at Etihad Stadium.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Daniel Carvajal have recovered from injury and they are expected to be recalled to the starting line-up.
Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema both picked up knocks at the weekend, but they, too, should recover in time to face Manchester City.
Key Factors to Consider
- Real Madrid will contest their 27th CL semi-final (W13 L13)
- Both teams scored in teams’ only two meetings so far
- Man City won two of five home games against Spanish opposition (D1 L2)
- Los Blancos won three of five away games in this year’s competition
- Real have five wins in last six away fixtures on all fronts
Manchester City have seriously raised their game of late and with Sergio Aguero scoring goals for fun, they can be trusted to make life difficult for Real Madrid. However, los Blancos also boast amazing attacking potential, meaning that both teams to score looks like a good option here.
Verdict: Both teams to score
Best Odds: 4/7
Bookmaker: William Hill