As witnessed whenever Real Madrid played this season, Zinedine Zidane is a shrewd tactician, and could yet again devise a shocking plan to defeat Manchester City.
The time has come. We are just three days away from the much-anticipated Round of 16 second leg against Premier League runners-up Manchester City in what is tipped to be one of the sternest challenges of Zinedine Zidane’s managerial career yet.
Zidane, in all his UEFA Champions League knockout games since becoming Real Madrid’s manager in January 2016, has lost the first leg just once in nine knockout ties. That loss came against VfL Wolfsburg in the 2015-16 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, when Real slumped to a shock 2-0 defeat at the Volkswagen Arena.
The build-up going into this game is massive as Real, 13-time champions, face a daunting task ahead of their trip to Manchester. It is not going to be anything but a cakewalk when the players step on the Etihad Stadium pitch.
Although Manchester City do have the lead, they are under more pressure as they would go trophyless this season if they fail to get past the Real Madrid brigade. The players from Madrid, though, will play with full confidence, having won the La Liga on the back of a run that saw them win ten consecutive games.
What will Zidane’s plan be is anyone’s guess. But here are three big tactical predictions heading into the extravagant second leg clash.