Manchester City travel to the Serbian capital of Belgrade to finalise their UEFA Champions League group stage campaign with a contest against Crvena zvezda.
City come into the contest knowing that regardless of the result in Serbia, they will be in the draw for the last-16 of the competition as both a qualified outfit and as the winners of their group after a flawless opening five matchdays.
Successive 3-1 results in favour of the current holders of the competition in the opening three matchdays were followed by a 3-0 home victory over BSC Young Boys and a dramatic 3-2 comeback win over RB Leipzig last time out in the tournament.
A first-half Lois Openda brace had the Etihad Stadium fearing a late surge for first spot in the group from the Bundesliga side, before second-half goals from Erling Haaland, Phil Foden, and Julian Alvarez showed City’s title-credentials.
That victory was shrouded by flaws in City’s Premier League calendar, with three draws surrounding that European victory, only to be topped off by a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa in Birmingham last week.
Thankfully for Pep Guardiola and his Manchester City players, that streak in the Premier League was brought to an end through a 1-2 win over Luton Town at Kenilworth Road, in another comeback win for the reigning Champions.
The meeting with Crvena zvezda this week precedes one final Premier League outing on Saturday afternoon ahead of Manchester City’s maiden FIFA Club World Cup campaign in Saudi Arabia.
The Champions League winners will enter the competition at the semi-final stage, taking on either Club Leon or Urawa Red Diamonds in the last-four of the competition, whilst Fluminense will also embark from the same stage.
Manchester City take on Crvena zvezda at the Rajko Mitić Stadium in Belgrade, Serbia on Wednesday evening with kick-off scheduled for 17:45 (UK).
Pep Guardiola will be without four key first-team players for the trip to Serbia this week, with confirmation of such absences in the club’s 23-man travelling squad revealed on Tuesday evening.
Kevin De Bruyne remains ruled out for the European champions as he continues his recovery from hamstring surgery in the summer, with a return date currently pencilled in for early in the new calendar year.
Attacking duo Erling Haaland and Jeremy Doku also remain ruled out through respective injury problems, whilst the former is expected to return on Thursday before undergoing an assessment on his fitness before the weekend’s clash with Crystal Palace.
Ederson is a fresh absentee following the weekend’s victory over Luton Town, with the Brazilian withdrawing from duties in Serbia through illness, thus handing an opportunity for game time to number two choice Stefan Ortega Moreno.
Head to head
Manchester City and Crvena zvezda have only met once before in their histories, with that clash coming on matchday one of the ongoing 2023/24 UEFA Champions League group stage at the Etihad Stadium.
A second-half brace from Julian Alvarez alongside a strike from the hero in Istanbul Rodri turned around Crvena zvezda’s shock half-time lead through a counter-attacking goal from Osman Bukari.
- Crvena zvezda lost their only previous European meeting with Manchester City on matchday one of this season’s UEFA Champions League.
- Crvena zvezda have lost their last three games against English teams in the UEFA Champions League.
- English teams have won three of their last four major European visits to Crvena zvezda, with Bolton winning in 2007 (UEFA Cup), Arsenal in 2017 (Europa League), and Spurs in 2019 (Champions League). The exception was Liverpool who lost 2-0 in November 2018 in a Champions League group stage game.
- Crvena zvezda lost their last home UEFA Champions League match 2-1 against RB Leipzig.
- Crvena zvezda have not lost consecutive home major European matches since 4-0 and 6-0 defeats to Tottenham and Bayern Munich respectively in November 2019.
- Manchester City have won 100% of their UEFA Champions League games so far this season. The only English team ever to win all six group games in a season were Liverpool in 2021/22.
- Manchester City have won their last seven games in the UEFA Champions League (including two in 2022/23), and a win against Crvena zvezda would be a record for consecutive wins by an English team in European Cup/Champions League history.
- Crvena zvezda have shipped 49 goals in 17 UEFA Champions League matches, an average of 2.9 per game. The current fastest a team has conceded 50 goals is 18 games, set by Swedish side Malmo FF. By comparison last 49 goals Manchester City have conceded in the competition have come over a period of 60 matches.
How to watch
Crvena zvezda vs Manchester City will be available to watch live for viewers in the United Kingdom on TNT Sports 2, with radio commentary available on BBC Radio Manchester.
Residents in the United States can watch the game live on Paramount+.
Full global TV channel listings for Wednesday evening’s contest are available here.
City Xtra will also cover the game live on YouTube through our Live WatchAlong show below!
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