How Man City should line up vs Borussia Monchengladbach

Pep Guardiola has every player available to face Borussia Monchengladbach bar Nathan Ake tonight.

Manchester City are in Hungary to take on their Bundesliga opponents, in a Champions League last-16 away leg which has been moved to Budapest due to Covid-19 restrictions in Germany.

Guardiola will be looking to land a first leg lead against a Monchengladbach side who progressed from a group containing Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Only Nathan Ake is absent, with the Dutchman back in individual training but still not ready to return. Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero are both available, as is Ilkay Gundogan – the trio have missed recent games with different injuries, but all featured in the matchday squad in the last game at Arsenal.

Read how our writers think City should line up below and use the interactive team selector to pick your own starting XI:

Stuart Brennan

City are in one of those phases where they can rotate without significantly changing the quality, and have options queuing up on the bench.

But they cannot take the hosts lightly given recent experiences in Europe, and that means front-line stars need to play.

Kevin De Bruyne showed his enduring quality early in the Arsenal game, and he can be balanced by Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan for a classy midfield.

Phil Foden seems to have been held in reserve for this game, and with Raheem Sterling on the other flank, Gabriel Jesus should get the chance to show his form against Real Madrid last season was no fluke.

Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker can both be accommodated, while picking two from Dias, Stones and Laporte comes down to who has the fitness readings.

Pick our own starting XI here:

Simon Bajkowski

Ilkay Gundogan has been a Champions League specialist for Guardiola but they won without him in the group stages and may be best taking a seat on the bench in order to be in top condition for West Ham at the weekend.

City play at half 12 on Saturday so the turnaround will be extremely tight. Kyle Walker can come in for Joao Cancelo to allow City’s wildcard to rest up.

That said, Stones and Dias look like a pair that could play every day at the minute.

I’d stick with Mahrez too after his decisive contributions in the last few games and bring Jesus back into the starting line-up to give the Blues that presence up front.

Joe Bray

If Kevin De Bruyne is fit, he should start and try and put City in control of this tie early on. His return makes it difficult for Bernardo Silva to fit in the side, despite some brilliant form, and the way for Guardiola to accommodate both was to play Bernardo as the false nine at Arsenal.

I’d give Bernardo a deserved rest, with the intention for him to replace De Bruyne in the second half. Ilkay Gundogan is always the first name on the teamsheet in Europe, and that should be no different – especially against Bundesliga opposition.

In defence, Kyle Walker should come back on the right,…

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