Manchester City have consistently struggled in the Champions League. They have been unlucky to have been pitted in some of the most difficult groups ever since they started qualifying regularly for the elite European competition and have made a meal of progressing to the knock-out stage of the competition. For the last two seasons, they have come up against Barcelona at the round of 16 stage and have been eliminated by the Catalan giants.
This season, too, the Citizens find themselves in one of the toughest groups. They are up against reigning Italian champions and last season’s European Cup finalists Juventus, reigning Europa League champions Sevilla and Bundesliga giants Borussia Monchengladbach.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side started their 2015/16 Champions League campaign against Juventus at the Etihad Stadium and went toe to toe with the Italians in the first half of the game. They went ahead in the 57th minute courtesy of a controversial Vincent Kompany strike, but Mario Mandzukic brought the scores level minutes later. A late strike from Alvaro Morata sealed all three points for the Old Lady and left the Citizens with a sense of déjà vu as they again succumbed at home in a Champions League clash.
The Manchester giants are absolutely flying in the Premier League, having won all five of their league games. They have scored 11 times in their outings and are yet to concede a goal, such has been their domestic dominance, but in Europe they have encountered familiar failings.
Manchester City will be up against Borussia Monchengladbach at the Stadion im Borussia-Park on 30th September in their next Champions League encounter. And they will fancy their chances of getting all three points against a side that are sitting rock bottom in the Bundesliga standings, having lost all four of their games, and who also lost their opening game of the Champions League to Sevilla 3-0.
However, it is difficult to predict any Manchester City game in the elite European game considering the fact they always make it difficult for themselves. Their draw against CSKA Moscow away from home last season after dominating the early proceedings is a case in point.
There are also similarities between the form of Lucien Favre’s side and that of Juventus. The Old Lady have endured a torrid start to their league campaign in Italy and are yet to win a game, but against Manchester City they proved themselves to be the better side. Not many will count against the Foals doing the same on 30th September.
Sevilla, led by Unai Emery, will also prove to be a hard set of fixtures for Manchester City as the Spanish giants are led by an astute man at the helm. Emery has guided his side to successive Europa League triumphs and their home ground, Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, has proven to be a fortress where they went over a year unbeaten.
The Andalusians will be extremely difficult opponents for Manchester City and it remains to be seen if the Citizens have it in them to navigate successfully through this difficult group.