Zinedine Zidane’s side suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of City in the first leg, but will look to overturn that against a side who have been shaky defensively this season.
Here are five players to look out for when the two sides square off in the return leg at the Etihad.
Manchester City vs Real Madrid: 5 players to watch out for
#5 Kevin De Bruyne
Manchester City’s talismanic midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has been in imperious form for his team once again this season, and will be the most important player for the Sky Blues come Friday.
The 29-year-old plundered 13 goals and 20 assists in 35 Premier League outings, which is simply astonishing. Considering Real Madrid are behind, they could attack from the first whistle, which will leave spaces for De Bruyne to attack on the break.
De Bruyne is dangerous even in tight spaces, and with space to attack he could be even more potent.
The midfield battles between the two sides will be an intense affair and Casemiro could play a pivotal role in turning the tables in favour of his side.
The Brazilian destroyer has to intercept City’s attacks and drive forward to create chances. Needless to say, his biggest task will be to keep De Bruyne in check, and that is easier said than done, even for one of the best defensive midfielders.
Casemiro has done well in circulating possession, having registered an average pass success rate of 85.3% from 7 Champions League appearances so far this campaign, and will look to put a big performance against Manchester City.
#3 Aymeric Laporte
A major reason for City’s poor defensive performances during the 2019-20 Premier League season was Aymeric Laporte’s recurring injuries. The Frenchman is an astute defender but his spells on the sidelines hindered Guardiola’s ambitions in the league.
Against Real Madrid, Laporte will have be sturdy at the back as the Spanish side have an imperious attack.
Laporte is also good at playing the ball out from the back, and his passing will be crucial in the defence to attack transitions, something that could be City’s weapon against Real Madrid on Friday.
#2 Eden Hazard
The Belgian has admitted that the Real Madrid spell so far has been his lowest after a series of injuries, fitness and form issues, but he has the chance to put all that aside against Manchester City.
Hazard knows Manchester City better than any of his Real Madrid teammates, and with that could come a bit of comfort level, as he has done it against them in the past.
The Belgian has in patches that he still one of the best, and Real Madrid will hope he can combine well with in-form forward Karim Benzema to breach Manchester City’s defence.
#1 Karim Benzema
Real Madrid will have to score at least twice if they are to progress, and a lot will rest on their attackers, and Benzema in particular.
He scored 21 goals in the recently concluded La Liga campaign, and has perhaps been the most important player in attack since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure a couple of seasons ago.
Benzema might not be the quickest any more, but his intelligence, and awareness in attack are perhaps the best in the world.
If the Frenchman can combine well with the duo of Hazard and Marco Asensio in attack, Real could find it easy against Manchester City, who have defended shoddily at times this season.
Statistics Credits: Whoscored