Preview: Real Madrid vs Manchester City.

Real Madrid has been drawn to play Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League (UCL) knockout stages for the third straight season. The last two seasons have seen a 1-1 progression, but Real will be hoping for at least a strong start as they pursue a 15th European Cup/UCL title. They have a winning home record from those matches (W1, D1).

Los Blancos have won their last 11 UCL quarterfinal matches and have astonishingly eliminated English opponents at this stage in the previous three editions, so the signs point to them taking the next step on the path to glory! Their strong record of 16 victories from their previous 21 home games in Europe (D3, L2) suggests they’re a solid bet to start winning this time around, and they should be fired up after missing out on the weekend’s action.

In their Premier League match at the weekend, City defeated Crystal Palace 4-2 to reaffirm their claim to the title. They’re also playing in the UCL for the first time ever, but they have a losing record when playing in Spain (W4, D3, L8), so this could be the biggest threat to their crown yet. Still, with a 22-game winning streak in Europe under their belt, beating City will be a huge undertaking for anyone.

Strangely enough, Real Madrid defeated them in the 2021–2022 semifinals, primarily as a result of a disastrous away leg performance. Although City has only won once in their last five visits to the Santiago Bernabéu (D1, L3), there is extra spice in the mix for former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, who has defeated Real manager Carlo Ancelotti in six of his previous eight (D1, L1) head-to-head meetings.

Player to watch: Jude Bellingham, who is tied for the lead in assists in the UCL this season, has assisted on goals in four of his previous five games. Erling Haaland has scored six goals in the UCL this season, four of which have come after halftime. This makes him the joint top goalscorer on the charts.

Hot stat:  Man City has only given up once in six of their previous seven away UCL games.

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