City came from behind to win the first leg 3-2, Raheem Sterling scoring in the last minute of normal time. They have never won the Champions League but City are one of the favourites to claim this year’s title. “We cannot deny how strong other teams are,” said Guardiola.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says his side are “teenagers in the competition” as they prepare for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Schalke on Tuesday.
“You have to dream, to point as high as possible and at the same time accept there are other teams thinking the same.” Last week, Manchester United produced a sensational comeback to knock out French champions Paris St-Germain – a day after holders Real Madrid were stunned by Ajax at the Bernabeu.
Roma, who were defeated in the semi-finals by Liverpool last season, were also knocked out by Porto thanks to an extra-time penalty. But Guardiola – who said City were “still not ready to fight for the latter stages” of the competition – believes qualification for the knockout stages constituted “incredible success”.
“All the clubs that are in the knockout stages want to win this title. It is difficult,” said Guardiola. “This competition is judged that when you are out of the last 16 it is a big disaster. My perspective is completely different.
“People say it is easy. Imagine getting into the last eight teams in Europe? Of course, we want to win it but the other teams also have this desire.
“People think that because Real Madrid are not there, this competition will be easy. Of course I thought they were the favourites but there still remains incredible clubs to beat.”
Schalke travel to the Etihad with head coach Domenico Tedesco being told he has two games to save his job by sporting director Jochen Schneider. The German side have let in 11 goals in three heavy defeats to leave them just four points above the Bundesliga relegation places.
Manchester City centre-back Aymeric Laporte could return from a hamstring injury but John Stones, who has had a groin problem, still needs to be assessed. The hosts are already without suspended pair Nicolas Otamendi and Fernandinho.
Schalke playmaker Daniel Caligiuri has been sidelined for four weeks with a leg injury and will not travel. Forward Mark Uth and midfielder Amine Harit have been left out of the squad again for disciplinary reasons but full-back Hamza Mendyl could play.
‘There is no decision yet’ – What they said
Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan on signing a new contract: “There is no decision yet otherwise I would have signed or rejected a contract. We are still in talks but I don’t feel there is much pressure. One day there has to be a decision but I am very happy here and playing under Pep.
“This is something everyone has to decide for themselves. I am 28 years old so my next contract will maybe decide where I will be for the end of my career. Maybe someone has an inner feeling to go for a new challenge or to change something.
“I am always open-minded for challenges but it is a personal situation. It is not obvious. Everyone has to make his own decision. At the moment I try to play as good as possible and after the season we are going to sit and talk again. My main target is to go for all the competitions.”
Pep Guardiola on what to expect from the game: “It is 90 minutes and still we have a job to do. One week ago we didn’t expect PSG or Real Madrid would happen. A lot of things can happen.
“Many things can happen in 90 minutes in this kind of competition. We are quite lucky because we played a long time with 10 men and 2-1 down. In normal circumstances, we would have to make an incredible effort to go through.”
- Of the previous 27 occasions of a side scoring three or more goals away from home in the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie, all have gone on to progress, including six after winning 3-2.
- Manchester City have won each of their past three meetings with FC Schalke in European competition, including a 5-1 win in the 1969-70 Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final in their only previous home match against the German club.
- City have only lost one of their 10 previous home meetings with German opponents in all European competitions (W7, D2), a 3-1 reverse in the 2013-14 Champions League group stages against Bayern Munich.
- Manchester City have lost both of their last two knockout matches in the Champions League at Etihad Stadium, both 2-1 defeats, by FC Basel in March 2018 and Liverpool in April 2018.
- City boss Pep Guardiola has never lost to Schalke as a manager in seven previous matches in all competitions, winning five and drawing two.
- Striker Sergio Aguero has scored in each of his past three Champions League games (three goals total) and is looking to score in four in a row in the competition for the first time.
- Leroy Sane has scored three goals in Manchester City’s past two Champions League games, as many as he had scored in his first 17 appearances in the competition for the Citizens and former side FC Schalke combined.
- Schalke have only won one of their past nine Champions League matches in the knockout stages (D1, L7), although this was their last such away match at Real Madrid in the 2014-15 competition (4-3).
- Three of Schalke’s past four goals in the Champions League have been penalties by Nabil Bentaleb, who could be only the second player to score a penalty in three straight Champions League appearances in the same season – after Thomas Muller in 2014-15 – should he score from the spot again here.
- Schalke have scored with each of their past three shots on target in the Champions League (Alessandro Schopf v Lokomotiv Moscow and Nabil Bentaleb twice v Manchester City), with all three coming via set-pieces (one free-kick, two penalties).
City have 98% chance of progressing
Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis, Gracenote:
Manchester City has a 98% chance of progressing to the Champions League quarter-finals after their 3-2 win in Gelsenkirchen. City is now up to second place in the Euro Club Index ranking and are second favourites to win the Champions League behind Barcelona.