Pep Guardiola’s team have lost two consecutive matches and now face another tough test, this time in the Champions League. We look ahead to the game with our data-powered RB Leipzig vs Manchester City prediction and preview.
RB Leipzig vs Manchester City: Quick Hits
- Manchester City (56.2%) go in as favourites against RB Leipzig (20.9%) with the Opta supercomputer.
- The holders are looking to bounce back from consecutive away defeats at Newcastle United and Wolves.
- Erling Haaland tormented Leipzig last season, scoring five goals in a memorable 7-0 win for Man City.
Pep Guardiola was banned from the touchline at the weekend and could only watch on in frustration as Manchester City suffered a second straight defeat.
A UEFA Champions League test away to RB Leipzig on Wednesday offers his team an immediate chance to respond after their stunning start to the 2023-24 season came to an abrupt halt in matches against Newcastle United and Wolves.
Man City had won six straight Premier League games, triumphed in the UEFA Super Cup and dispatched Crvena Zvezda to kick off their UCL campaign since losing the Community Shield to Arsenal.
But with Rodri suspended after the midfielder’s sending off against Nottingham Forest, the treble winners have shown some vulnerability just as many of their rivals were starting to wonder if there really was a way to stop them.
Newcastle battled to a 1-0 win to dump City out of the EFL Cup and three days later Wolves earned a shock 2-1 EPL victory over the defending champions at Molineux with Guardiola sitting in the stands.
Man City will look to put those losses behind them and move a step closer to a place in the last 16 with a positive result against RB Leipzig, though they could have done with an easier fixture to get back on track, as this looks like the toughest of the six matches they have in Group G.
It should be a difficult assignment away to the Bundesliga side – who are by now familiar foes – as Leipzig continue to impress under Marco Rose.
Since Rose’s appointment just over a year ago, Leipzig have only lost six of 30 matches in the Bundesliga, won a second straight DFB-Pokal crown and defeated Bayern Munich in the DFL-Supercup. They come into this contest having scored in 16 straight matches.
Bayern were again their opponents on Saturday, this time in league action, and Leipzig raced into a two-goal lead after strikes from Loïs Openda and Castello Lukeba, although second-half responses from Harry Kane and Leroy Sané for the German champions meant Rose’s team ultimately had to settle for an entertaining 2-2 draw.
Leipzig won 3-1 away to Young Boys in their UCL opener, so there has been no evidence so far to suggest pre-tournament predictions that these two teams would dominate the group will prove unfounded.
It is the German team who go into the contest with more of a spring in their step, though Erling Haaland will hope to torment Leipzig once again and get the English champions back to winning ways.
Haaland is the Premier League’s top scorer and Julián Álvarez is enjoying an impressive start to the 2023-24 season as well. The Argentina international struck against Wolves to make it three goals and three assists from his first seven EPL matches.
And Álvarez also scored twice in the 3-1 comeback win against Crvena Zvezda to kick off the continental campaign, attempting eight shots and creating seven chances in a standout showing.
He is expected to continue in the starting line-up with Haaland in attack at the Red Bull Arena, while in a relief to Guardiola, the influential Rodri should also return as his domestic suspension will not apply in Europe.
RB Leipzig vs Manchester City Head-to-Head
Man City have played RB Leipzig as often as they have faced most of their domestic rivals over recent seasons. This is the third consecutive campaign where the two teams will do battle in the Champions League.
Leipzig have fared well in the fixtures played on home soil, winning 2-1 two years ago and drawing 1-1 in the first leg of the two teams’ last-16 tie last season.
However, Man City did emphatically turn that tie around at the Etihad Stadium in March, romping to a famous 7-0 second-leg win with Haaland scoring five times in a remarkable 35-minute spell.
Kevin De Bruyne, who is injured for this encounter, was also on the scoresheet along with now-Barcelona midfielder İlkay Gündoğan.
Haaland’s record against RB Leipzig is sensational. The former Borussia Dortmund striker has scored 11 goals in just six career appearances against them, netting more times than he has versus any other opponent while playing for top-flight clubs.
In last season’s competition, the draw also saw Leipzig pitted against the Champions League holders. That time it was Real Madrid who were defending the trophy, and the 14-time winners fell to a 3-2 defeat in Germany.
So this match gives the hosts an opportunity to become the first team since Atletico Madrid in 2015 and 2016 to earn a win over the competition holders in consecutive continental campaigns.
Despite losing stars like Christopher Nkunku in the summer, Leipzig are in good form, with six wins and that draw with Bayern last time out to show from their last seven matches in all competitions since their defeat to Bayer Leverkusen in August.
Starting with a 5-1 win over Stuttgart, Rose’s side have netted 20 times in total during that sequence, boosted by fast starts. They have scored the first goal in each of their last six fixtures, netting eight goals before half-time and conceding just twice prior to the break.
Leipzig had two wins, one draw, and one loss in the four Champions League contests played at Red Bull Arena last season and against City they will attempt to prolong an eight-match home unbeaten streak in all competitions. They will also bid to start a UCL campaign with two straight wins for the first time.
Openda has impressed in reaching four Bundesliga goals so far, while Xavi Simons has been key for Leipzig too with three goals and four assists in seven top-flight matches.
Manchester City, meanwhile, have lost two straight away games but will take comfort from the fact they were unbeaten in their six European contests on the road last season.
Group games rarely cause Man City a problem, with only two defeats in their last 30 such matches, although they have been held to 0-0 draws in three of their last seven away contests at this stage.
German teams have not proven overly problematic either, as Man City have only lost one of their last 21 UCL games against Bundesliga opponents (which was the defeat to Leipzig in December 2021).
City were a superb attacking force against Crvena Zvezda, setting a record for shots inside the box since Opta statistics have been recorded in that category from the 2003-04 competition onwards.
They had a record 28 shots from inside the box and racked up 82 touches in the opposition penalty area, which was the most in a UCL game for a decade, since Bayern had 83 against Viktoria Plzen in 2013.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off on Wednesday, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
RB Leipzig vs Manchester City Prediction
The Opta supercomputer is backing Manchester City to get back on track by defeating RB Leipzig.
A Man City win is not a foregone conclusion and there are multiple other Champions League teams with higher win percentages than them on Matchday 2, but at 56.2% an away win is seen as the most likely outcome.
RB Leipzig recording a victory is rated as a 20.9% chance, with the draw given a 22.9% likelihood in what could be a great contest between two of the top eight teams in the Opta Power Rankings.
Looking at our predictive model’s tournament projections as whole, it is looking good for both teams.
Manchester City are still strong favourites to win back-to-back UCL crowns, with their chance of lifting the trophy being 32.2%. For context, the next most likely winners, Bayern, are down at 13.1%.
Guardiola’s men reach the final in almost half of our simulations (47.5%) and successfully emerge from Group G 99.1% of the time, beating Leipzig to first place in the pool at a rate of 78.3%.
Leipzig were already dark horses to win the tournament in our system when we ran our pre-season predictions, rated as having a better chance than heavyweight clubs like Manchester United, Barcelona and Paris Saint-German after the group-stage draw was made.
And their odds have only improved since then after a fine start to the season. With a 5.9% chance of going all the way, Leipzig are now fifth favourites and only rank behind Man City, Bayern, Arsenal (9.3%) and Real Madrid (7.3%), having jumped ahead of Napoli and Inter Milan.
Leipzig make the last 16 in 93.9% of simulations and the last eight at a rate of 54.0%, so Man City should be prepared for a stern examination.
RB Leipzig vs Manchester City UCL Squads
RB Leipzig: Péter Gulácsi, Janis Blaswich, Moritz Ae, Timo Schlieck, Mohamed Simakan, Christopher Lenz, Willi Orbán, Lukas Klostermann, David Raum, Castello Lukeba, Tim Köhler, Lenny Hennig, Benjamin Henrichs, Tim Meyer, Amadou Haidara, Nicolas Seiwald, Christoph Baumgartner, Fabio Carvalho, Xaver Schlager, Winners Osawe, Kevin Kampl, Lennart Johanns, Simon Schierack, Dani Olmo, Yussuf Poulsen, Emil Forsberg, Timo Werner, Loïs Openda, Xavi Simons, Benjamin Šeško, Tino Kaufmann.
Coach: Marco Rose
Manchester City: Stefan Ortega, Ederson, Scott Carson, Kyle Walker, Rúben Dias, John Stones, Nathan Aké, Sergio Gómez, Joško Gvardiol, Manuel Akanji, Kalvin Phillips, Mateo Kovačić, Jack Grealish, Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Matheus Nunes, Phil Foden, Erling Haaland, Jérémy Doku, Julián Álvarez.
Coach: Pep Guardiola