Manchester City host Real Madrid in the first leg of their maiden Champions League semi-final at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side edged past Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 on aggregate to reach the last four, and are competing at this stage of a major European competition for the first time since the 1970-71 European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Kevin de Bruyne scored the goal that sealed City’s progression against PSG, but Sergio Aguero has been the stand-out performer since then, adding five Premier League strikes in three games to take his tally to 101 in England’s top flight.
The Argentine’s last effort came on Saturday in a 4-0 win over Stoke City, though young striker partner Kelechi Iheanacho was the star with a brace.
Despite claiming the Capital One Cup in February, the Citizens have slipped way off the pace in the league – currently sitting 12 points behind leaders Leicester City – leaving the Champions League as Pellegrini’s final opportunity to win another trophy before being replaced by Pep Guardiola in the summer.
The English side could potentially set up a San Siro date with Guardiola’s Bayern Munich, but opponents Real Madrid will instead be hoping to again face rivals Atletico Madrid in the final.
Zinedine Zidane’s outfit are chasing an 11th success in this competition, having beaten their neighbours Atleti in Lisbon two years ago for La Decima.
Like City, Madrid sit third in their domestic league, though the Spanish giants are just a point behind Barcelona at the top of La Liga.
In Cristiano Ronaldo, Zidane can also call upon this season’s top scorer in the Champions League – the Portuguese has fired an incredible 16 goals in 10 matches, including a hat-trick against quarter-final opponents VfL Wolfsburg.
Yaya Toure will miss the first leg, having hobbled off at the end of City’s victory against Stoke at the weekend.
In more positive news, however, captain Vincent Kompany is fit, while David Silva returned from injury on Saturday.
Madrid, meanwhile, will welcome back Cristiano Ronaldo after he sat out a 3-2 success at Rayo Vallecano.
Fellow forward Karim Benzema was also withdrawn in the first half of that game with a knock, but Zinedine Zidane is expecting both players to be available for selection.
League Position: Man City – 3rd (Premier League – 64 pts); Real Madrid – 3rd (La Liga – 81 points)
Previous Meeting: Man City 1-1 Real Madrid – November 21, 2012 (Champions League)
Form: Man City – DWWWDW; Real Madrid – LWWWWW
Key Men: Man City – Sergio Aguero; Real Madrid – Cristiano Ronaldo
Shoot Says: Man City 1-1 Real Madrid