Everything you need to know about Manchester City’s Champions League qualifier against Steaua Bucharest
Manchester City begin their Champions League campaign tonight. Here’s everything you need to know…
Who are they playing?
City are in Romania to face Steaua Bucharest this evening.
Steaua are second in the Romanian Liga 1 and will not be an easy fixture for City after a flight of almost five hours to Eastern Europe. Some of City’s staff and members of the media were also delayed in their journey after their plane was evacuated at Manchester Airport.
Which of their players should we be looking out for?
Attacking midfielder Nicolae Stanciu may cause City some problems. Reportedly a Â£6 million transfer target for Chelsea, Stanciu scored 14 goals and created 11 assists for Steaua last season.
Stanciu also has four goals from seven international appearances for Romania this year, so City’s defence will need to watch him carefully.
What stage of the competition are we at?
This is the play-off round, and the winner over two legs will get a place in the Champions League group stage. Ireland's Champions League hopes lie with Dundalk, who play Legia Warsaw in the same competition tomorrow.
If City miss out on the group stage it would be the first time since the 2010-11 season.
Who’s made the squad – and who hasn’t?
Flight delays will not be worrying Ivorian international Yaya Toure, as he has not travelled with the squad. Nor have summer signings Ilkay Gundogan and Leroy Sane.
Toure’s omission has fuelled speculation he may be leaving the club. City boss Pep Guardiola told the BBC: “We travelled with two young guys and for the selection I prefer it to be the young guys than Yaya.”
Meanwhile England goalkeeper Joe Hart, who was dropped for City’s game at home to Sunderland over the weekend, is in the squad.
He will be hoping to get the chance to impress and stake a claim for a place in City’s Premier League fixture at Stoke next weekend.
What are the managers saying?
Guardiola, who twice won the competition with Barcelona, said to the BBC: “We are going to try to score goals and try to convince the players how important it is to play in the Champions League and how beautiful it is and we are going to try and win it.”
There is no doubt the fixture will be tough for Steaua and manager Laurentiu Reghecampf told the BBC: “Even if we face a big team, even if we face the best coach in the world with fantastic results, it is a huge chance for us to prove ourselves. I am very confident that we will qualify for the group stage again.”
Is it on TV?
Indeed it is – coverage starts at 7pm on BT Sport 2 and BT Sport 2 HD, with kick-off at 7.45pm.
When’s the second leg?
The second leg at the Etihad is next Wednesday August 24 at 7.45pm, with coverage over on BT Sport 2 as well.