With renewed vigour in the Premier League title fight, Manchester City return to Champions League play as they travel to Germany for the first of two Round of 16 legs against Bundesliga side RB Leipzig.
European play is finally back in action after three months on the sideline, and UCL title hopefuls City again look for Pep Guardiola’s first European crown at the club.
The Premier League side cut Arsenal’s gap atop the league table to just two points, briefly taking over at the peak after beating the Gunners at Emirates Stadium last week. While a disappointing, last-gasp draw with Nottingham Forest pegged them back again, the climb back into the fight will give City new life as they hit the road east.
The opponent will be energised as well, knowing that talisman striker Christopher Nkunku is back from his knee injury. RB Leipzig sputtered in his absence, winning just two of their five Bundesliga games with the Frenchman sidelined, but he picked up an assist in a 21-minute cameo over the weekend against Wolfsburg to mark his return.
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RB Leipzig vs Man City odds
Manchester City are favourites on the road, as one might imagine considering their status as the betting favourites of the entire competition, but it might not be by as much as one might expect. The setting away from home plays a part, as does Man City’s recent form, which has been inconsistent at best. They sit on minus moneyline odds but only just, with RB Leipzig at around 7/2.
The bookmakers believe that, because of the presence of Nkunku, both teams can find the back of the net, despite the defensive abilities of the two clubs. RB Leipzig have conceded the third-fewest goals in the Bundesliga, while Man City have conceded the fourth-fewest goals in the Premier League.
Odds via BetMGM (USA), Sports Interaction (Canada), SkyBet (UK), and Neds (Australia).
|RB Leipzig win
|Man City win
to score Y / N
|-154 / +110
||-167 / +107
||1.62 / 2.20
|Over / Under
|-147 / +105
||-143 / +112
||1.70 / 2.05
|Man City -0.5
|RB Leipzig +0.5
RB Leipzig vs Man City: 3 things to know
RB Leipzig vs Man City match facts
- Date: Wednesday, February 22
- Kickoff Time: 3:00 pm ET / 8:00 pm GMT / 7:00 am AEDT (Thu, Feb. 23)
- Location: Red Bull Arena (Leipzig, Germany)
- Official: Serdar Gozubuyuk (NED)
RB Leipzig vs Man City team news
The hosts in Germany have a few injury issues to concern them, but thankfully talisman Christopher Nkunku is not one of them, having returned from a month-long knee injury over the weekend. Playmaker Dani Olmo is the biggest player to miss out, sidelined since the end of January with a hamstring injury for another few weeks. Defender Abdou Diallo has dealt with knee problems all year and continues to see the bench, while Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi has been missing since October, out for the season with a torn ACL.
Man City were dealt a blow when it was confirmed on Tuesday that Kevin De Bruyne and Aymeric Laporte would miss the match. Defender John Stones, who has been missing with a hamstring injury since the end of January, is also out. Erling Haaland shook off his slight knock to start in the draw with Nottingham Forest over the weekend, and Pep Guardiola hasn’t had many other issues to worry about from a squad perspective for a while now.
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RB Leipzig vs Man City key stats
- RB Leipzig have played eight matches against English clubs in their history, with four wins, four defeats, and no draws.
- Despite missing the last month of action, Christopher Nkunku has the second-most goals in the Bundesliga with 13. He has collected the highest expected goals per 90 mins in the league with 0.75 xG/90.
- In four career games against RB Leipzig, Erling Haaland has scored six goals, with braces in three of his matches. In the only match in which he did not score, his Borussia Dortmund side lost 4-1, which was the last time he faced the club.
RB Leipzig vs Man City prediction
- Moneyline lean: Draw (+280)
- Against the spread lean: RB Leipzig +0.5 (+100)
- Score prediction: RB Leipzig 1-1 Man City
Manchester City have some truly wild home/road splits this year. In 17 home games on the season across all competitions, they have scored 56 goals on 39.55 xG and conceded just 15 on 9.46 xGA. Meanwhile, in 15 games on the road, City have scored just 23 goals on 28.86 xG while conceding 11 goals on 14.38 xGA.
Flatly put, this City team is the best side in Europe at the Etihad, and they’re bang average on the road. In their two travels east across Europe in Champions League group-stage play, they sputtered to a pair of 0-0 draws in Dortmund and Copenhagen.
This first leg comes at a good time for RB Leipzig, who are about to embark on a hefty run of games against top opponents. The fixtures come against Man City (2nd in Premier League), Eintracht Frankfurt (6th in Bundesliga), Borussia Dortmund (2nd), Borussia Monchengladbach (8th), and then the return leg at Man City. While the German side could be out of gas come that trip to the Etihad, this first leg looks in their favour, and they could get a result.
RB Leipzig vs Man City: best bet
- Pick: Over 3.5 cards
- Odds: -115 (BetMGM)
This is good value on a lower yellow card total, and there’s reason to believe this is reachable.
While Manchester City don’t typically rack up bookings, they still should contribute at least somewhat to this total. Pep Guardiola’s side have earned at least one yellow card in seven straight matches, dating back to the Manchester derby in mid-January.
RB Leipzig, meanwhile, aren’t a side that constantly aggravate the official either, but when they’re up against it, they tend to let go a bit. Since the restart following the 2022 World Cup, Leipzig have picked up just two yellow cards in their four victories, yet they have 10 in the three matches they failed to win. While we’re predicting a potentially positive result in this match for the German side at home, there’s no doubt it will be a tough test from which they are not favoured to emerge victorious, so this match has a great chance to fall in the latter category.
Finally, Dutch official Serdar Gozubuyuk doesn’t have much European pedigree yet under his belt, but in Eredivisie play recently he hasn’t been afraid to dish out punishment. He is tops in the league in fouls per match and yellows per match of the regular referees, and he’s gone over the four-card total in each of his last three European appearances as well.
RB Leipzig vs Man City prop bet
- Pick: Under 2.5 goals
- Odds: +110 (FanDuel)
I’m not confident enough in this counter-intuitive selection to make it a best bet, but still think it’s the right play. With the odds swung largely towards the over for understandable reasons, this has good value.
Man City, as stated above, are neutered on the road quite significantly, and with a longer than usual trip, this could play a significant factor. Additionally, while RB Leipzig have their goalscoring threat in Christopher Nkunku back, he could be lacking some fitness and may not be at his complete best. City’s talisman Erling Haaland, meanwhile, has hit a bit of a slump (at least by his standards) and questions are being asked about the team’s predictability with him up front.
Last week’s Champions League Round of 16 first-leg games all featured low-scoring affairs, as all four games hit the under and saw at least one side held scoreless. This indicates teams are biding their time and waiting for the second leg to open things up. With the “better” team on the road, that could also play out here.
RB Leipzig vs Man City flier bet
- Pick: RB Leipzig win 1H / Man City win 2H
- Odds: +800 (Caesars)
This longshot selection makes a world of sense, and at great odds is a wonderful play if you’re looking for a home-run bet.
RB Leipzig’s season-long half splits look about normal, but if you shrink it down to just 2023, they have slowly shifted towards an interesting first-half mentality. Since the World Cup break ended and club play returned, RB Leipzig have scored seven first-half goals compared to six in the second half, which may not seem like much of a disparity, but considering football matches are generally second-half skewed, that’s a noticeable difference.
It would also logically track that Leipzig will come roaring out of the gates at home and look to put Man City under pressure early, and maybe get a goal, forcing the visitors to claw back in the second half. That’s actually a situation City have been in before this season, and it shows in the numbers, especially in front of net. Guardiola’s group has bagged 35 first-half goals this season across all competitions while hitting 44 in the second half, but the finishing numbers based on xGOT suggest they are much better at taking chances after the break once they’re warmed up.
All in all, this game flow has a great chance of playing out.
RB Leipzig vs Man City live stream, TV channel
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