Buoyant City, desperate Gladbach

Citizens seek spot in last 16 while German side face must-win clash



(Tomorrow, 3.45am, Singtel TV Ch 111 & StarHub TV Ch 203)

Pep Guardiola takes his Manchester City side back to Germany hunting a win at Borussia Moenchengladbach tomorrow morning (Singapore time) to put the Citizens in the last 16 of the Champions League.

City, second in Group C behind leaders Barcelona, will book their place in the knock-out phase with another victory over Gladbach, having won the reverse fixture 4-0 when Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick in mid-September.

The 28-year-old striker revels in clashes against German clubs.

He also scored on his last visit to Borussia Park in September 2015, converting a 90th-minute penalty to earn City a 2-1 win, and netted a hat-trick in a 3-2 victory at home to Bayern Munich in November 2014.

This is the first time Guardiola has returned to Germany for a competitive game since he quit Bayern Munich in May after winning seven titles in three seasons.

This is a case of win or bust for Gladbach's Champions League aspirations.

An unlikely victory would lift them level with City on seven points before Borussia's daunting final group match away to Barcelona on Dec 6.

But Gladbach are not in good form. Their 2-1 defeat at home to Cologne on Saturday left them 13th in Germany's top flight. They have won just one of their last six home games - a German Cup victory over second-division VfB Stuttgart.

USA international Fabian Johnson has urged his Moenchengladbach team-mates to forget recent results.

"We need to try and clear our heads and look forward in a positive frame of mind," said Johnson.

"After all, it's not as if we've played badly in every game recently.

"We need to try to take the positives into the game against Manchester City.

"It's a different competition and everyone is looking forward to facing another top team with great players in the Champions League."

Guardiola's City arrive third in the Premier League table and fresh from Saturday's 2-1 win at Crystal Palace, when Yaya Toure marked his shock return, after three months on the sidelines with both goals.

But Toure is not eligible for Europe.

Guardiola rested Ilkay Gundogan against Palace and only used David Silva off the bench, a hint that both may feature at Borussia Park.

Gladbach coach Andre Schubert, who still has the backing of club bosses despite the jeers following Saturday's loss to Cologne, will be without suspended Christoph Kramer and Julian Korb as well as injured Patrick Herrmann.

"We are just not scoring goals," captain Lars Stindl said.

"We are missing the final touch up front and some luck.

"But we must forget everything, put everything behind us and keep together so that we can improve."

"Wednesday's match is completely different under different conditions," he added.

"We want to play a good home game, secure third place early.
"That is our big goal and we believe in our chances. We know what we are capable of." - Wire Services.

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