We look ahead to the second leg of this titanic UEFA Champions League semi-final with our Manchester City vs Real Madrid prediction and preview.
Manchester City vs Real Madrid: Quick Stats
- Manchester City given a 69% chance of qualifying for the Champions League final by the Opta supercomputer.
- Pep Guardiola’s side are unbeaten in their last 25 home Champions League games.
- Real Madrid knocked Man City out at this exact stage last year.
- Bet365 have a new account offer ahead of this UCL tie: Bet £10 and get £30 in bet credits.
It’s not an exaggeration to suggest this is the biggest game in Manchester City’s recent history. With the Premier League title all but wrapped up after Arsenal’s defeat to Brighton at the weekend, and a FA Cup final against Manchester United – where City will be heavy favourites – Real Madrid stand between them and the chance of going for an historic treble. Granted, Inter Milan will be no pushovers in the final should they overcome rivals AC Milan in the other semi-final, but Pep Guardiola’s team are sure to be overwhelming favourites in that final too, should they get there.
But this is the Champions League. And this is Real Madrid, a side that thrive in knockout competition. So much so that it can sometimes feel like they can channel black magic to drag themselves out of desperate situations.
We’ve been here before, too. As recently as last year, where these two sides met in the semi-final and Rodrygo’s injury-time brace took the tie into extra time. From that point on, Karim Benzema’s winning penalty seemed inevitable.
It was the second time that City had been eliminated from a UCL semi-final, after Real Madrid inflicted the same pain on them in 2015-16. Should they fail to progress here, it would be the first time that a team have been eliminated by the same side in the semi-finals in consecutive UEFA Champions League campaigns.
But there is one crucial difference from the trauma of Madrid last year. The second leg of this tie is at the Etihad Stadium, and Man City have made their home ground somewhat of a fortress in recent European competitions.
They are unbeaten in their last 25 home games in the Champions League (W23 D2), with Lyon in September 2018 the last away side to win there. Only two teams in the history of the competition have had a longer unbeaten home run: 38 games for Barcelona (2013-2020) and 29 games for Bayern Munich (1998-2002).
For their part, Real Madrid are winless in their previous four away games against Manchester City in the Champions League (D2 L2), losing each of the last two. The only team they have faced more times away from home in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League without ever winning is Milan (seven games – D2 L5).
Guardiola’s side are a skinny 3/5 to win the game on the night, but combining that with both teams to score boosts the price to a healthier 2/1. Despite conceding a joint league-low 31 goals in the Premier League, City have only kept 12 clean sheets in the competition, which is only good enough for tied-fifth, and the same tally as Aston Villa and Brighton. They don’t ship many, but you often do get a chance. Real Madrid’s attacking frontline is laced with firepower, and they’ll be a counter-attacking threat all night.
Manchester City: Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne was fully rested at the weekend as Man City comfortably swept past Everton, so he should come into this game fit and rearing to go. Once again, he’ll probably play just behind Erling Haaland, who was shackled in the first leg by an impressive Antonio Rüdiger.
De Bruyne enjoyed more and more space as the game went on last week, and his influence on Wednesday night should only grow as time ticks on.
The midfielder was crucial in linking Man City’s play together in the final third, with only Bernardo Silva (29) attempting more passes in that area of the pitch than De Bruyne’s 22.
And then, of course, his second-half rocket brought Manchester City level in the Bernabéu and the purity of his strike demonstrated just how technically good the Belgian is.
Seven of his 14 UEFA Champions League goals have now come from outside the box. Since he joined Man City in 2015-16, it’s the highest percentage anyone has scored from distance in the competition (50% – min. 10 goals).
Real Madrid: Vinícius Júnior
Vinícius Júnior was an absolute livewire in the first leg, and it took all of Kyle Walker’s speed and experience to just about contain him. And even then, Vini Jr still scored a thunderous strike of his own, cutting inside and unleashing past Ederson to open the scoring.
The Brazilian has been directly involved in 12 goals in 11 UEFA Champions League appearances this season, scoring seven goals and providing five assists. Such has been his importance for Los Blancos’ Madrid’s attacking output that he also leads all players in the competition this term for involvement in open play sequences that end in goals (14) and shots (76).
Manchester City come into this semi-final second leg in fantastic form. They are unbeaten in 22 competitive matches now (W18 D4), last tasting defeat on 5 February in a 1-0 away loss to Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League. Domestically they’ve won their last 11 consecutive Premier League games and a win against Chelsea on Sunday will wrap up their third successive Premier League title.
They’ve lost just one of their last 16 UEFA Champions League games (W9 D7) and remain unbeaten in 11 since losing 3-1 to Real Madrid at this stage last season.
Real Madrid laboured to a 1-0 home win against Getafe in La Liga at the weekend but had to watch on as fierce rivals Barcelona clinched the title with a victory away at Espanyol. With a Copa del Rey final already in the bag and the league beyond their reach, this game is now Real Madrid’s cup final.
Madrid are unbeaten in their last seven knockout games in the UEFA Champions League (incl. finals) – winning six and drawing one.
They simply do not lose when it matters most, so write them off at your peril.
Real Madrid 1-1 Manchester City: 09 May 2023 (Champions League)
The first leg between these two sides in Madrid ended all square, with Kevin De Bruyne’s strike cancelling out Vinícius Júnior’s opener.
Manchester City dominated possession in the first half (68.1%), completing 315 passes to Real Madrid’s 125 whilst assured and confident on the ball. But it was the home side who struck against the run of play, with Vinicius cutting in from his left wing and firing a bullet past Ederson in goal.
That goal really settled Madrid down, who enjoyed a strong period of control after half-time. Six of the first eight shots in the second half were from Carlo Ancelotti’s men. But then City found their moment of quality, İlkay Gündoğan’s sideways pass perfectly weighted for De Bruyne to smash the ball past Thibaut Courtois.
Real Madrid finished the game strongly, Ederson saving a back-post Benzema header and then palming away a stinging Tchouaméni strike.
On balance, both sides would have been reasonably happy with a 1-1 draw.
Real Madrid vs Manchester City Prediction
The Opta supercomputer loves Man City’s home form, giving them a 59.1% chance of winning the game in 90 minutes. Real Madrid have a 19.7% shot of winning the game on Wednesday night, while the draw – which would take the game into extra time – has a 21.2% likelihood.
The model backs City to progress even if the game goes beyond 90 minutes, giving Guardiola’s side a 69% chance of qualifying for the final. Madrid’s sit at 16.6%.
So often have Man City been the bridesmaid but never the bride in the UCL – could 2022-23 be their season? The Opta supercomputer thinks so, giving them the highest chance of winning the competition this year at 44.6%, with Inter Milan (36.8%) the supercomputer’s second favourite.
Real Madrid vs Manchester City UCL Squads
Manchester City: Stefan Ortega, Ederson, Scott Carson, Kyle Walker, Rúben Dias, John Stones, Nathan Aké, Aymeric Laporte, Sergio Gómez, Manuel Akanji, Rico Lewis*, Kalvin Phillips, İlkay Gündoğan, Jack Grealish, Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez, Máximo Perrone, Phil Foden, Cole Palmer*, Erling Haaland, Julián Álvarez.
Real Madrid: Thibaut Courtois, Andriy Lunin, Luis López*, Lucas Cañizares*, Diego Piñeiro*, Dani Carvajal, Éder Militão (suspended), David Alaba, Jesús Vallejo, Nacho, Álvaro Odriozola, Antonio Rüdiger, Ferland Mendy, Rafel Obrador*, Rafa Marín*, Alvaro Carrillo*, Vinicius Tobias, Marvel*, Toni Kroos, Luka Modrić, Eduardo Camavinga, Federico Valverde, Lucas Vázquez, Aurélien Tchouameni, Dani Ceballos, Mario Martín*, Carlos Dotor*, Sergio Arribas*, Peter*, Óscar Aranda*, Nicolás Paz*, Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio, Vinícius Júnior, Rodrygo, Mariano Díaz, Iker Bravo, Álvaro Rodríguez*.
*Player List B
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