Manchester City need to snap out of their Champions League nightmare when they travel to Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday evening in the second round of Group D fixtures.
The Citizens suffered more European misery a fortnight ago as they surrendered the lead to lose 2-1 to Juventus at the Etihad Stadium courtesy of two goals in the final 20 minutes.
And Gladbach are finding the sort of form which could expose City’s Champions League insecurities and leave Manuel Pellegrini’s men facing another uphill battle to qualify for the last 16.
The dangerous Germans, who finished third in the Bundesliga last season, lost their first five league games of the campaign, but have scored seven goals in the process of winning their last two matches.
Summer signing Lars Stindl is stepping up as Gladbach’s talisman following the departure of Max Kruse to Wolfsburg, with this pearler against Augsburg one of his four goals in all competitions this term.
But Lucien Favre’s side have more than one threat and can be rampant when on song. They put four past Augsburg in the first 20 minutes, before brushing aside Stuttgart 3-1 away from home last week.
Granit Xhaka, Josip Drmic and ex-Chelsea player Thorgan Hazard are all capable of causing problems for a City defence which shipped four at Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend – their third defeat in four.
They may have lost 3-0 to Sevilla on matchday one, but any side that can knock off Bayern Munich on their own patch, as Gladbach did in March of this year, are worthy of City’s full respect.
Given their record in the competition, the Citizens cannot afford to take anyone lightly. They have not made it past the first knockout round in any of their four Champions League campaigns to date.
City failed to win any of their first four group games in last season’s edition and yet managed to recover to reach the last 16. Lose to Gladbach, and they surely won’t be as fortunate this time around.
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