Hoffenheim vs Man City: After losing 2-1 in their opening group F game against Lyon, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says his side will face “five finals” in their bid to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages.
City travel to Germany tonight to play Hoffenheim, who drew 2-2 in their group opener against Shakhtar Donetsk. Despite being the favourites to qualify from the group, the City manager warned his side to expect some difficult moments in this season’s Champions League.
- What: Champions League group F matchday two
- When: Tuesday 2 October
- Where: Rhein-Neckar-Arena
- Kick-off: 5.55pm (UK time)
- TV channel: live on BT Sport 3
“Maybe we need to live a [difficult] moment in the competition,” Guardiola told The Guardian. “The last two seasons when I’m here we qualified quite comfortably. Maybe you have to suffer in the group stage to realise and make a step forward.
“We have five finals to qualify, [there is] not time to lose a lot of games and we’ve lost the first one. We know the situation we are in. Five finals and this is the first one. Except Real Madrid, in the last three years nobody wins it [more than once] – it’s so tough [but] in the last five or six years we’ve made a step forward.”
Vincent Kompany agreed that it will be tough but the skipper is aiming to lead City to success in Europe.
He told BT Sport: “It’s the last step we haven’t achieved yet and the club is always aiming to progress. I’d love to win a European trophy with City but it’s such a tough competition to win. We’ve got to deal with the fact we lost to Lyon. We’ll worry about Hoffenheim first and if we get momentum anything is possible.”
In tonight’s other group F match Lyon are at home to Shakhtar Donetsk (8pm kick-off, live on BT Sport Extra 3).
Hoffenheim vs. Man City team news
The Manchester Evening News reports that the Premier League champions will be without Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph for the crucial clash in Germany. Oleksandr Zinchenko has deputised at left-back but Danilo could also be an option.
Despite playing with a foot injury in recent matches striker Sergio Aguero has travelled. Guardiola will decide if Aguero or Gabriel Jesus start the match.
Playmaker Kevin de Bruyne has returned to training, the BBC reports, but the Belgian will not play tonight.
Hoffenheim captain Kevin Vogt is expected to miss the match because of a thigh injury while defenders Ermin Bicakcic and Havard Nordtveit could also miss out.
Boss Julian Nagelsmann also has injury worries over Lukas Rupp, Dennis Geiger, Nadiem Amiri, Benjamin Hubner, Kerem Demirbay and Kasim Adams.
Possible starting XIs
How the two teams could line up at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena, according to Sports Mole.
- Hoffenheim possible starting XI: Baumann; Schulz; Posch, Vogt, Akpoguma, Kaderabek; Kramaric, Grillitsch, Bittencourt; Szalai, Joelinton
- Manchester City possible starting XI: Ederson; Zinchenko, Laporte, Kompany, Danilo; D Silva, Fernandinho, B Silva; Sane, Jesus, Mahrez
Matchday two group fixtures and TV guide
Tuesday 2 October (all times UK)
AEK Athens vs. Benfica (8pm, BT Sport Extra 5)
Bayern Munich vs. Ajax (8pm, BT Sport ESPN)
Hoffenheim vs. Manchester City (5.55pm, live on BT Sport 3)
Lyon vs. Shakhtar Donetsk (8pm, BT Sport Extra 3)
CSKA Moscow vs. Real Madrid (8pm, BT Sport Extra 2)
Roma vs. Viktoria Plzen (8pm, BT Sport Extra 4)