Thursday, May 23, 2024

RB Leipzig 1-1 Manchester City: What Were The Key Talking Points As Pep Guardiola’s Suffer A Second-Half Collapse In Germany?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 23 Feb 2023

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While Manchester City might have hoped to open their Champions League knockout stage adventure with a first-leg statement on foreign soil, Pep Guardiola’s side eventually had to settle for a 1-1 draw away at RB Leipzig.

Although the Premier League giants might have got off to a perfect start at Riyad Mahrez powered home on the 27th-minute mark, the Sky Blues failed to replicate a similar level after returning from the half-time break.

Despite dominating the opening exchanges and firmly sitting in pole position to lay down an early Champions League marker, City will be worried by their second-half collapse at the Red Bull Arena.

Hanging on for the first-leg stalemate as central defender Josko Gvardiol headed home 20 minutes before the final whistle, Guardiola will be seeking a far more polished display when his side return to the Etihad on March 14th.

Missing out on what they would have billed as a golden chance on Wednesday night, we have taken a look at the key talking points.

City’s Champions League away issues continue

While Manchester City might have opened this year’s knockout stage tipped by many as a leading contender to get their hands on a first European crown, Guardiola’s side failed to make much of an impact on Wednesday night.

Although the former Barcelona boss might have seen his side breeze their way to a half-time lead without breaking much of a sweat, Guardiola will have concerns over his side’s second-half collapse.

Completely pinned back and failing to find their attack best after returning from the break, the Premier League giants have continued to show some extended Champions League issues away from the Etihad.

Eventually having to settle for a first-leg stalemate at the Red Bull Arena, Man City have now remarkably won just one of their previous seven European showdowns on foreign soil – a run that stems back to February 2022.

Making the trip out to Germany for their first-leg meeting after playing out another 1-1 draw at Premier League returners Nottingham Forest, Guardiola will know that stability on the road will be a crucial factor over the coming months.

Leipzig could be smelling the chance to spring a major upset

Although RB Leipzig might have known that they faced a real Champions League scrap when opening Wednesday’s first-leg meeting, the German outfit could now be smelling the chance to spring a major upset next month.

While Marco Rose’s side might have failed to lay any kind of blow on City during the first-half, Leipzig were more than deserving of their 1-1 draw at the Red Bull Arena.

Stunning the Premier League giants when they welcomed them to Germany during their Champions League run two years ago, Rose’s side will take plenty of positives away from an eye-catching second-half display.

Glad to see attacking talisman and Chelsea target Christopher Nkunku make a cameo appearance off the bench after dealing with a long-term injury issue, Leipzig have proven that they can cause City plenty of issues.

Certainly the better team after returning from the half-time interval and with some in their camp believing that they should have snatched a first-leg advantage, Leipzig will be relishing their trip to Manchester on March 14th.

Guardiola’s side struggle without KDB

While it might have been Erling Haaland’s return to Germany that stole many of the pre-match headlines on Wednesday night, fans around the Etihad would have been hugely concerned by Kevin De Bruyne’s absence.

Appearing to have found his best form since opening February and receiving a huge amount of praise from Guardiola, City certainly failed to fill De Bruyne’s void in midweek.

With it announced earlier in the week that the Belgium ace would miss out here after suffering from an illness, Guardiola will be desperate to get his midfield talisman back and firing on all cylinders.

With Haaland drawing a blank on Wednesday night and failing to find much attacking fluidity in the final third, their poor second-half showing only underlined how important the 29-year-old is to Guardiola’s plans.

Facing what is a crucial Premier League battle when they make the trip to relegation scrappers Bournemouth this weekend, the English heavyweights will be desperate to find some much-needed momentum.

Match Report

RB Leipzig: Blaswich, Klostermann, Orban, Gvardiol, Halstenberg, Laimer, Schlager, Szoboszlai, Forsberg, Werner, Silva

Subs: Haidara, Poulsen, Henrichs, Raum, Nkunku

Manchester City: Ederson, Rias, Akanji, Walker, Ake, Rodri, Silva, Grealish, Gundogan, Mahrez, Haaland

Subs: N/A

Goals: RB Leipzig: Gvardiol (70′) – Manchester City: Mahrez (27′)

Yellow Cards: Henrichs

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Serdar Gozubuyuk

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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