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RB Leipzig vs Manchester City: Favorites Begin Knockout Campaign

Written by: Greg Lea
Updated February 20, 2023
12 min read
  • Manchester City are currently the favorites to win the Champions League this year
  • RB Leipzig are potentially tricky opponents in the round of 16 for Pep Guardiola’s side
  • Neither RB Leipzig nor Manchester City has been crowned champions of Europe before

RB Leipzig vs Manchester City Odds

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RB Leipzig vs Manchester City Pick

Back RB Leipzig or tie in the double chance market. The German outfit have not lost many games under Marco Rose, and Manchester City have been inconsistent in 2023.

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RB Leipzig vs Manchester City Prediction

RB Leipzig vs Manchester City Prediction

Manchester City Desperate to Break Champions League Duck 

Manchester City find themselves in a familiar position as they get set to resume their Champions League campaign this week. Once again, Pep Guardiola’s side are the favorites to win Europe’s premier tournament with the best online sportsbooks

The problem is, City are yet to make good on that status. They have continually fallen short in this competition before and during Guardiola’s tenure at the Etihad Stadium. Finalists in 2021, they were beaten in the showpiece game by Chelsea, who finished the Premier League season 19 points behind City.

Last year, they looked set to reach the final once more. Heading into the 90th minute of the second leg of their semi-final against Real Madrid, City were 5-3 up on aggregate. Somehow, they still lost. 

Madrid scored two late goals to tie things up, then notched the winner in extra time. It was a stunning turnaround that even the Blancos fans did not see coming. Indeed, many Madrid supporters departed the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu early after concluding their team had no chance of mounting a comeback.

By many measures, City have been the best team in Europe over the last half-decade. They have won the Premier League title in four of the last five years, setting multiple records along the way. 

Yet they keep finding new ways to fail in the Champions League. To be clear, it is a very tough tournament to win. But the quality of City’s soccer in recent seasons means they surely should have got over the line on at least one occasion. Were he to depart Manchester without having won this competition, Guardiola’s time at City would feel incomplete.

Perhaps this will be their year, but a last-16 tie with RB Leipzig is trickier than some might appreciate. City, who have been inconsistent so far in 2023, must not take anything for granted.

RB Leipzig Not a European Heavyweight but Still a Strong Side

RB Leipzig returned to winning ways in Germany at the weekend, breezing past Wolfsburg at the Volkswagen Arena. Their 3-0 triumph, together with Bayern Munich’s 3-2 defeat by Borussia Monchengladbach, has fuelled hopes that Leipzig could win their first ever Bundesliga title.

Marco Rose’s men are only fifth in the table at the time of writing. That might appear to suggest that finishing in the top four should be their principal objective. But the top of the Bundesliga is extraordinarily congested. Despite being fifth, Leipzig are just four points adrift of the summit of the standings.

Bayern, of course, are still widely fancied to claim what would be their 11th consecutive championship crown. But since Rose took charge in early September, Leipzig have been brilliant. Had the season started then, they would be top of the table right now.

The German side caught the eye in the group stage of the Champions League too. A 4-1 thrashing by Shakhtar Donetsk brought the curtain down on Domenico Tedesco’s tenure, after which Rose oversaw a 2-0 defeat by Real Madrid.

But after that, Leipzig won each of their final four matches to advance to the knockout rounds with relative ease. They even beat Madrid, the reigning European champions, 3-2 in a thrilling match at the Red Bull Arena.

All of which shows that Manchester City would be making a big mistake if they assumed this is an easy tie. Leipzig are more than capable of causing problems for Guardiola’s side, particularly in front of their own fans in the first leg.

Manchester City Should Advance but First Leg Could Be Tricky

Over the course of 180 minutes (and perhaps even more), Manchester City will probably prove too strong for RB Leipzig. The Premier League champions are a force to be reckoned with in big matches at home, and Leipzig would have to deliver a near-perfect performance to leave the Etihad with a victory next month.

In the first leg, however, things could be different. After a 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest on Saturday, City have won only one of their last four away games in the Premier League. As for Leipzig, they have been beaten in just one of Rose’s home league matches at the helm.

Leipzig’s chances of victory would be boosted by the availability of Christopher Nkunku after injury. The France international is hoping to be fit for Wednesday’s encounter, although he might have to settle for a place on the bench. Dani Olmo looks set to miss out altogether, however.

City have no major injury issues, but Guardiola still has plenty to think about before picking his team for the first leg. Leipzig are potentially awkward opponents, so it could be worth backing a home win or a tie in the double chance market.

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How to Watch RB Leipzig vs Manchester City

  • Teams: RB Leipzig vs Manchester City
  • Location: Red Bull Arena, Leipzig, Germany
  • Time: Wednesday 22 February 2023, 15:00 PM EST
  • How to Watch: Paramount+
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AUTHOR

Greg Lea

788 Articles

Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]

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