The Citizens will be hoping for a better showing under Pellegrini.
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| FC Viktoria Plzen
Manchester City’s fixtures:
September 17 – Plzen v Man City
October 2 – Man City v Bayern Munich
October 23 – CSKA v Man City
November 5 – Man City v CSKA
November 27 – Man City v Plzen
December 10 – Bayern Munich v Man City
The Germans are the holders of the Champions League and also won the treble last year of Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal as well – taking the league title with a record number of points and games in hand.
A 7-0 aggregate victory over Barcelona in the semi-finals and a 2-1 triumph against national rivals Borussia Dortmund in the Wembley final, concluded a hugely successful campaign for Bayern and the club certainly pose the biggest threat to City.
With Pep Guardiola now in charge and new young talent such as Mario Goetze and Thiago Alcantara having been bought in, the Bavarian side will be favourites to top the group.
The Russian champions are by no means pushovers and are certainly experienced at this level of European football.
Despite the spending power of Anzhi Makhachkala and Zenit St. Petersburg, it was CSKA that took the league title and with players such as Rasmus Elm and Keisuke Honda, the side pose a serious attacking threat.
Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev is another supreme talent and City will have to be wary of the club.
Plzen are certainly the least fancied side to progress from the group and with City, Bayern and CSKA also competitng it’s very difficult to imagine the Czech champions will get many chances.
That being said, Plzen have really developed over the past few years, winning the club’s first national title in 2010/11 and repeating the feat last year.
Vital experience in the Champions League as a result means that the Citizens would be foolish to assume it will be a walkover.
This is by no means an easy group for City, but then no side should really expect that in the Champions League.
It’s not as tough as last year’s draw of Ajax, Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid though and Bayern aside, the 2012 Premier League champions should well be targeting maximum points.
Plzen in theory shouldn’t cause too many problems, whereas CSKA have the potential to cause an upset by certainly don’t have the strength in depth of Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
Draws against Bayern should see City through for the first time in this competition.
Prediction: 2nd, Pellegrini should inspire progression by will miss out on top spot to the Germans.
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