The reigning champions look to maintain their winning start in the Champions League this Wednesday. We look ahead to the game with our data-powered Young Boys vs Manchester City prediction and preview.
Young Boys vs Manchester City: The Quick Hits
- Manchester City (77%) are big favourites to make it three wins from three in this season’s Champions League by beating Young Boys, according to the Opta supercomputer.
- If City avoid defeat in this match, Pep Guardiola will equal his longest unbeaten run as a manager in the Champions League (currently 15 unbeaten). He went 16 games without defeat in charge of Barcelona between 2011 and 2012, in a run which also included lifting the trophy (beating Manchester United in the 2011 final).
- Through the first two matchdays in the Champions League this season, Erling Haaland has the highest xG (1.95) of any player yet to score in the competition (12 shots, zero goals). Indeed, his current run of five games without a goal in the Champions League is his longest to date.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side take on 16-time Swiss champions Young Boys at Wankdorf Stadium on Wednesday looking to make it three wins from three to kick off the defence of their UEFA Champions League crown.
Last season’s final victory over Inter sealed a historic treble for City, and they have started this campaign in similarly impressive fashion, winning seven of their opening nine games in the Premier League and cruising to 3-1 victories in their first two UCL matches, against Crvena Zvezda and RB Leipzig, giving them a three-point lead at the top of Group G.
City have had 55 shots in their two Champions League outings this season, while only facing six opposition shots in return. That’s the biggest differential for any side across the opening two matchdays, while they also have the best xG (expected goals) difference between their own chances created and those they’ve conceded (+5.2 – 6.4 xG for and 1.2 xG against).
Julián Álvarez has played a key role in that strong European start, with the World Cup winner directly involved in four goals in two Champions League games this season (three goals, one assist), the most of any player in the first two matchdays. As well as being the joint-top scorer in this period (three), no player created more chances than him (eight) across the opening two rounds.
Young Boys could be the ideal opponents for City to flex their attacking muscles against. The Swiss side have played more Champions League games without keeping a clean sheet than any other team, conceding in all 14 of their games in the competition. They’ve conceded 29 times across those matches at an average of 2.1 per outing.
Young Boys are third in Group G ahead of Matchday 3, opening their campaign with a 3-1 home defeat to Leipzig before conceding an 88th-minute equaliser at Crvena Zvezda in an eventual 2-2 draw. Filip Ugrinic has starred for Raphaël Wicky’s team, directly involved in a goal in both of those games, and Wednesday offers him the opportunity to become the first ever Young Boys player to score or assist in three consecutive Champions League appearances.
Wicky’s team tend to press high up the pitch, with their average of 8.8 opposition passes per defensive action (PPDA) in this season’s competition the lowest of any side across the first two matchdays. That’s certainly a risky tactic against City, who have scored in 15 of their last 17 games in the Champions League.
In terms of team news, Kevin De Bruyne remains the only absentee for City, with their star midfielder not expected to be back until 2024 after undergoing hamstring surgery in August. Manuel Akanji will be available for the lineup despite receiving a red card in this weekend’s Premier League win over Brighton. Ederson was rested against the Seagulls but will likely return between the sticks for this trip to Switzerland.
For Young Boys, Kastriot Imeri continues to be out with a knee injury sustained in September, though Wicky will have close to a full squad available on Wednesday as his team look to pull off a shock against the holders. Jean-Pierre Nsame is tied for the most goals in the Swiss Super League this season with five but is yet to find the back of the net in the Champions League. He will likely play in attack alongside Cedric Itten, who scored from the spot against Crvena Zvezda.
Young Boys vs Manchester City Head-to-Head
This will be the first ever competitive meeting between Young Boys and Manchester City. The Swiss side did win their most recent home game against Premier League opposition, beating Man United 2-1 in the 2021-22 Champions League.
City’s only previous meeting with Swiss opposition came in the 2017-18 Champions League round of 16 – they won 4-0 away at Basel in the first leg before losing 2-1 at home in the second, progressing but ultimately succumbing to eventual runners-up Liverpool in the quarter-finals.
Man City returned from the international break by beating Brighton at the weekend, an important victory considering the run of three defeats in four games in all competitions that preceded the interruption.
Guardiola’s men are unbeaten in their last 15 matches in the Champions League (10 wins, five draws), with only Man Utd ever having a longer run without defeat among teams from England in Champions League history (two runs of 16, and a 25-game run between 2007 and 2009).
Young Boys, meanwhile, are second in the Swiss Super League, two points behind leaders FC Zurich but with a game in hand. They are unbeaten in four in all competitions, scoring in all but two of their matches this season, while a goalless league draw with Zurich at Stadion Wankdorf on Saturday was the first time they had blanked on home soil since August 2022.
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 Tuesday night, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
Young Boys vs Manchester City Prediction
The Opta supercomputer is backing Manchester City to tighten their grip on Group G by winning on the road at Young Boys on Wednesday.
An away victory is rated as by far the most likely outcome at 77%, one of the highest win percentages of the Champions League’s Matchday 3, with Young Boys only given a 9.1% chance of claiming all three points. A draw is given a 13.9% likelihood, and that would be a great result for the Swiss side considering the strength of the opposition.
Opta’s 10,000 simulations of this Champions League campaign has City as strong favourites to win the competition for the second straight season, with their chance of lifting the trophy standing at 32.6%. For context, the second favourites, 14-time European champions Real Madrid, are down at 11.4%, while Bayern Munich are given a 10.8% probability.
In contrast, Young Boys are not expected to make it out of the group stage, given just a 3.1% chance of doing so. Only Celtic (2.6%) are given a lower probability of progressing to the knockout phase, though Young Boys do qualify for the Europa League by finishing third in 53.4% of simulations.
Young Boys vs Manchester City UCL Squads
Young Boys: David von Ballmoos, Dario Marzino, Leandro Zbinden, Mohamed Camara, Aurèle Amenda, Loris Benito, Fabian Lustenberger, Ulisses Garcia, Noah Persson, Lewin Blum, Saidy Janko, Cheikh Niasse, Sandro Lauper, Miguel Chaiwa, Lukasz Lakomy, Darian Males, Donat Rrudhani, Kastriot Imeri, Filip Ugrinic, Ebrima Colley, Malik Deme, Meschack Elia, Cedric Itten, Jean-Pierre Nsame, Joël Monteiro, Silvere Ganvoula
Coach: Raphaël Wicky
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