The stage is set, as Real Madrid welcome Manchester City to Santiago Bernabeu for the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals. It is a repeat of last season, when Los Blancos came out on top in thrilling fashion, with Rodrygo scoring a brace in the final minutes of the second leg to take the tie to extra-time, where Karim Benzema won it.
This is a tie of huge importance for both teams. Real Madrid are looking to win their fifteenth Champions League title while Manchester City continue to search for their first European crown.
This feels like the biggest chance that they have had in a while to end that duck once and for all. Standing in their way are Real Madrid, who have been incredible in cup competitions in recent years. When was the last time they lost a two-legged tie?
And Manchester City have suffered a blow going into the game against Real Madrid. Nathan Ake has not even made the bench for the big game.
Manchester City blow confirmed for Real Madrid game
Pep Guardiola has named an unexpected line up and set up for the game against Real Madrid. And the absence of Ake certainly could have played a part in that.
Ake has been dealing with fitness issues lately. And he was forced off the pitch in a recent game, and has not recovered in time to take on Real Madrid.
Ake might not be the most glamourous of names when you take a look at this Manchester City team. But he has proven to himself to be a key part of Guardiola’s set up this season nonetheless. Thus, the Citizens will certainly feel his absence. It remains to be seen how they do against Real Madrid in the first leg without the Dutchman.