Man City vs Hoffenheim preview: City look to bounce back and secure top spot
Last Updated: 12/12/18 7:55pm
Manchester City have only 15 fit senior players available for Wednesday's Champions League clash with Hoffenheim as they look to secure top spot in their group.
Pep Guardiola's side are back in action after their first Premier League defeat of the season at Chelsea on Saturday, and they need just a point to take the top spot, and with it a favourable seed in the last-16 draw.
Guardiola said: "We have 15 players tomorrow, it's a really tough game. We are in the next stage which is important but we have to try and win every game, to finish first.
"Last 16 is always tough but in general, next Monday when there is a draw, it's a success we are there and the team we will face will be tough."
City defeated Hoffenheim 2-1 in Germany in the corresponding fixture. The Germans, who have not been beaten in the Bundesliga since October 7, will finish bottom of the group if they fail to beat City - a finishing position that would be harsh on Julian Nagelsmann's team, according to Guardiola.
"They were incredible against Donetsk and they lost. It was incredible and fascinating to watch as a spectator," he said.
"My admiration for Hoffenheim has increased. I knew about Nagelsmann and his team but now I realise how tough tomorrow will be."
David Silva is the latest addition to an injury list that already includes Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Benjamin Mendy and Claudio Bravo.
Guardiola revealed that Silva could be out for "a few weeks" with a muscular injury.
Danilo is also sidelined but Aguero, who has missed the last three games with a groin problem, could return to face Everton at the weekend.
- Manchester City are unbeaten in their last six Champions League games against German opponents (W5 D1) since a 0-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in September 2014 - current Man City boss Pep Guardiola was in charge of Bayern that day.
- Hoffenheim have played away from home against English opposition just once before; they lost 2-4 to Liverpool in the playoffs of the 2017/18 edition of the competition, being eliminated in the process.
- After going 12 games without a loss at the Etihad in the Champions League (W9 D3), Manchester City have lost three of their last four there - though they did beat Shakhtar Donetsk 6-0 in their most recent such game.
- If Hoffenheim fail to beat Manchester City they will become the first to team finish bottom of their group despite scoring 10 or more goals since Olympiakos in 2002/03 (11 goals), and just the third side overall (also Monaco in 2000/01; 13 goals).
- Guardiola is looking to lead his side to first place in the group stages for the ninth time in 10 seasons in the Champions League, only previously failing to do so in his first season with Manchester City (2nd in 2016/17).
- This will be Manchester City boss Guardiola's eighth competitive meeting against Hoffenheim as a manager. He's yet to suffer a single defeat against them (W6 D1 L0), with six of those games coming in the Bundesliga while he was manager of Bayern Munich.
Guardiola was a little bit upset after the weekend so he'll want a response from his team.
He'll make changes but they'll still be too strong and Hoffenheim will play an open game which is right up Man City's street.
Charlie predicts: Man City to win 3-1 and Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane to score (Sky Bet odds)