Jack Grealish on the pitch before kick-off
Manchester City are in Belgium this evening to take on Club Brugge in the Champions League. City sit third in Group A with three points from their opening two games, having thrashed RB Leipzig before being beaten by Paris Saint-Germain, and Pep Guardiola will be urging his team to earn another win here before the group stage’s midway point.
Brugge are second after drawing with PSG before beating Leipzig, and they are proving the surprise package of the group so far. The reigning Pro League champions are currently second in the Belgian table on goal difference behind Union Saint-Gilloise, and manager Philippe Clement can be pleased with a strong start to the season.
Asked if two-time Champions League winner Guardiola was an inspiration to him, Clement said at his pre-match press conference: “Of course he is. I have already indicated as much in many interviews. I like the way he makes his teams play and has done at different clubs. Maybe at some other point I will talk to him and I will also talk to him privately after the game.” Follow all the action below, live.
Club Brugge vs Manchester City
Match kicks off at 5.45pm BSTCity third in Group A behind Brugge and PSGClub Brugge: Mignolet, Mata, Hendry, Nsoki, Sobol, Balanta, Rits, Vanaken, Sowah, De Ketelaere, LangMan City: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo, Rodri, Bernardo, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Foden, GrealishShow latest update
Here come the teams
The players gather in the tunnel before kick off. Riyad Mahrez has good memories at this stadium scoring twice here on his Champions League debut for Leicester in September 2016.
Michael Jones19 October 2021 17:41
The warm ups
10 minutes to go until kick off at the Jan Breydelstadion in Belgium. The warm ups are all done and the teams are ready to go.
Michael Jones19 October 2021 17:36
Guardiola speaking to BT Sport
Pep Guardiola had a final say before kick off and answered the question whether this was a must-win game for Manchester City this evening. He replied:
This is a short competition, it’s not like the Premier League. It’s just six games [in the group], so when you don’t get results in one or two games it’s complicated. We know how tough this competition is, but we have four games left.”
Michael Jones19 October 2021 17:33
De Bruyne on Club Brugge
Kevin De Bruyne also spoke to BT Sport about Man City’s opponents this evening saying:
I know they’re a really good team. They’ve been champions for many, many years in Belgium. The way they’ve started the group shows their quality. It’s the first occasion that I’m going back home and playing a game over there, so it’s going to be weird.”
Michael Jones19 October 2021 17:30
Kevin De Bruyne ‘understands’ Raheem Sterling’s frustrations over lack of game time at Man City
Sterling made just his third Premier League start of the season in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Burnley but said before the match that he would be “open” to leaving the club and “go somewhere else for more game time”.
Michael Jones19 October 2021 17:27
De Bruyne’s homecoming
Kevin De Bruyne returns to his native Belgium tonight for the first time since in a club fixture since he left Genk for Chelsea in 2012. He said:
I’m excited to go back home. Obviously people will always set the standard higher and higher because of what we’ve won in England in the past five or six years. People expect us to win the Champions League. We’ve not won it but we are trying.
“Hopefully in my period here we can get one. It doesn’t define your legacy – maybe [it does] for people outside. I’m happy with what we’ve done as a club for the past six years.”
Michael Jones19 October 2021 17:23
City’s 2020/21 Champions League run
In 2020/21 City ended a run of three successive quarter-final eliminations by going all the way to the Champions League final only to lose 1-0 to Chelsea at Porto’s Estádio do Dragão.
City had beaten Borussia Mönchengladbach (2-0 away, 2-0 home), Borussia Dortmund (2-1 home, 2-1 away) and PSG (2-1 away, 2-0 home) en route to the final after they finished first in Group C with 16 points, keeping five clean sheets and conceding just one goal – equalling the Champions League group stage record.
City have already conceded the same number of goals in the 2021/22 Champions League as in their 13 games in last season’s competition.
Michael Jones19 October 2021 17:20
Fourth time’s the charm for Club Brugge
Club Brugge are making their fourth successive Champions League group stage appearance and ninth overall, three behind Anderlecht’s Belgian record.
In 2020/21, the Belgian side finished third behind Borussia Dortmund and Lazio but ahead of Zenit in Group F, picking up eight points to move into the Europa League.
But, they only lasted one round going out in the round of 32 to Dynamo Kyiv last season.
Michael Jones19 October 2021 17:14
Guardiola on Rodri
Pep Guardiola says that Spanish midfielder Rodri has really improved his consistency for Man City as is now a crucial part of their midfielder but points out that there are still areas in which the 25-year-old can improve. He said:
What is important to be a holding midfield is to be always stable: 7, 8, 7, 8. It’s not nice to have a big 10 performance and then a 2 or 3. Maybe wingers or strikers can do it but for a holding midfielder it’s not good.
“I think now he’s so stable, he’s always paying attention and he’s realising what we are looking for because sometimes you need time to understand what we are looking for.
“We are more than satisfied. We knew it when we went to him at Atletico, he’s growing and hopefully he can be a better player.
“It depends on him and if he opens his mind and understands what he has to do, because he still has the margin to be a better player and, hopefully, we can help him.”
Michael Jones19 October 2021 17:10
Man City’s European travels
Pep Guardiola’s team have won 12 of their last 18 away European matches with three draws and three defeats.
Before the loss in Paris on Matchday two the last away game they lost abroad came against Shakhtar Donetsk (1-2) on Matchday six of the group stage in the 2017/18 Champions League.
Michael Jones19 October 2021 17:05