Manchester City will not have it easy - and that's an understatement - if they are to make it all the way to Istanbul and to Champions League immortality by winning the competition, but was it ever going to be any other way? Here is everything you need to know:
Champions League quarter-final draw:
The Champions League quarter-final will see City face a team with so many implications, it's simply impossible to cover them all, but we will try. FC Bayern Munich await for the blues, with the first leg at the Etihad Stadium taking place on Tuesday April 11th and the second leg at the Allianz Arena in Germany being played on the Wednesday the 19th of April.
On-loan outcast Joao Cancelo WILL be eligible to play against City for the Bavarians should head coach Julian Naglesmann wish to call on the services of the Portuguese international. Former PFA Young Player of the Year Leroy Sane will be another returning face, having visited the Etihad Stadium numerous times this season as a spectator, he will now be visiting as an opposition player.
Pep Guardiola will be up against his previous club, where he won three Bundesliga titles in a row, as well as reaching the Champions League semi-finals three times in a row. In his three year spell at Germany's top club, Pep Guardiola came up against his future employers in Manchester City four times: all in the group stages and all facing his predecessor Manuel Pellegrini. Two wins a piece, with two memorable comeback wins for City, including a Sergio Aguero hat-rick.
City most recently took on Bayern Munich in a pre-season friendly before the start of the current campaign in the US. The game was marred by a thunderstorm, but saw Erling Haaland score his first 'non-official' City goal, and ensured Guardiola's team won the friendly by a single goal to nil.
Champions League semi-final draw:
Two very, very familiar faces await City if they are to progress past Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals and make it to the semi-final stages of the Champions League for the third season in a row. Chelsea or Real Madrid lie in waiting, with the first leg away taking place 9/10 May and the second leg at home will be played on 16/17 May at the Etihad Stadium, should City advance.
What can be said about Chelsea that hasn't already been said or seen? City have already faced the London outfit three times this season in three different competitions - the Carabao Cup, FA Cup, and Premier League - with City winning all three without conceding a goal, and could face them three more times yet. Infamously of course City lost their only Champions League final to date in 2021 against the two-time Champions League winners 1-0 thanks to a Kai Havertz strike.
City have faced Real Madrid more than any other team in the Champions League since first qualifying for UEFA's elite competition in 2012, with eight meetings between the two sides. The latest was a heart-breaking exit for the Citizens, conceding two late goals to level the tie and a Benzema winner in extra-time at the same stage last season. City's first semi-final in 2016 was against the thirteen-time winners, with Real progressing by a own goal in the second leg in Madrid.
An exciting prospect for City fans is that the semi-final second leg - for the first-time ever in front of a crowd - would be at the Etihad Stadium. City's previous two semi-finals with fans allowed were both against Real Madrid with the second leg away; the odd semi-final out during the Covid period in 2021 behind closed doors where City progressed against PSG did have the second leg staged at the Etihad Stadium, but with the fans missing out on what would have been a memorable night.
Champions League final draw:
Now, should City make it all the way to the Champions League final in Istanbul on the 10th of June, they will face whoever comes through the other side of the draw, which consists of two quarter-finals where Inter take on Benfica and AC Milan face Napoli. If City do participate in the final, against one of these four teams, the blues will be considered the 'home' team, and will wear their home strip (to the relief of many) in the showpiece event at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium.
Written by: @colgeocra
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