Manchester City’s exploits in this season’s Champions League begin this evening when they travel to Rotterdam to face last season’s Ere Divisie winners Feyenoord. The club which is managed by Giovanni Van Bronckhorst has tasted success in this competition before after victory in the 1970 European Cup Final over Celtic.
And what with Pep Guardiola at the Manchester City helm it will be a tale of two former Barcelona players going head to head on the touchline later this evening. The two players have both tasted personal success at this level with the Catalan giants.
Guardiola was a part of the ‘Dream Team’ that won the 1992 European Cup against Sampdoria while former Dutch international Van Bronckhorst was a member of the 2006 side that beat Arsenal in Paris. However it is the former that has the edge when it comes to managerial accolades.
The former Bayern and Barcelona boss Guardiola also led Lionel Messi et al to victory in 2009 and 2011 with both wins coming over Manchester United in the final, so it’s two trophies to his name while orchestrating from the touchlines but the aim is now to win one with Manchester City.
They come into this game off the back of a devastating win over Liverpool last Saturday. A win that was overshadowed by the fact that Sadio Mane was sent off for his high boot on Ederson and it arguably took the foucs off what was a very impressive performance from City.
A five goal haul was recorded on Saturday lunchtime and to be fair it could have and should have been more. They also had two goals ruled out and had plenty other opportunities in which to breach Simon Mignolet’s net. Scoreline’s like the one that was witnessed at the weekend always tend to ask a particular question.
That being whether the winning team was simply scintillating or the team that lost were just rank bad. Jurgen Klopp’s defensive lineup would have undoubtedly made life easier for Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus but there is no denying just how good they were that early afternoon.
That win sees them sit second in the Premier League behind cross town rivals Manchester United by virtue of goal difference. It perhaps comes as no surprise that these two are topping the pack even after just four matches, it’s going to take something special to split the pack when it comes to these two Manchester clubs this season.
However tonight they start on zero just like their opponents Feyenoord who themselves have got off to a solid start to their domestic campaign. Where City have dropped points, the Rotterdam based club have won all four of their opening matches and sit at the top of the tree in the Netherlands.
Feyenoord have lost six of the last nine games they have played against English clubs in all competitions and are making their fifth appearance in the Champions League. That said it is their first showing since 2002-03 when they were pitted against Bobby Robson’s Newcastle United.
That record against English opposition makes for slightly ominous reading if you are a Feyenoord fan and in all fairness I’m not sure it is something that will change tonight. With the wealth of talent that Manchester City have at their disposal I cannot see anything other than an away win.
Here is what social media thinks will happen
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) September 12, 2017