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Barcelona winning again as Manchester City comes to town

17 March 2015, 21:17

Madrid - Barcelona is on another winning run, and that is bad news for Manchester City.

The Spanish team has overtaken Real Madrid at the top of the league standings, advanced to the Copa del Rey final and leads Man City 2-1 in the Champions League heading into the second leg on Wednesday at Camp Nou.

Also read: Dortmund’s improving defence boost chances against Juve

City defender Pablo Zabaleta, however, is hopeful that the Premier League champions can overturn the deficit and advance to the quarterfinals for the first time.

"You have to be ready for these moments. Things can change on games like this," Zabaleta said. "We need to recover well, go to Barcelona and see what we can do."

City manager Manuel Pellegrini's job could ride on the result.

Here are some things to know about Wednesday's match:

Steady build-up

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique is likely to keep Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez in attack as the four-time European champions look to secure a record eighth straight spot in the quarterfinals.

Barcelona has won 23 of its last 30 Champions League matches at the Camp Nou, and all of its home games in Group F this season.

After a shaky start to the season, Messi and Suarez are scoring regularly as the team heads into a tough week with Real Madrid to play on Sunday.

Tactical change?

Pellegrini vowed to keep playing 4-4-2 despite being outnumbered in midfield and outplayed in the first leg against Barcelona. And, true to his word, he has done so in the three league games since.

On Wednesday, the Chilean coach will be boosted by the return of midfielder Yaya Toure from suspension. Left back Gael Clichy is banned after his red card in the first leg, so Aleksandar Kolarov will play instead.

Last year, City had a player sent off in both legs against Barcelona in the last 16.

Daunting venue

The Camp Nou has been a tough place to play for visiting English teams, with Barcelona winning 16 of 29 matches and losing only two.

The home side has advanced 33 times from 35 occasions when it won an away first leg in Europe, with City its victim last season.

New Territory

With the Premier League trophy slipping away, City's chances of silverware this season are likely to depend on advancing in the Champions League.

Eliminating Barcelona would be the biggest European result in City's recent history and would likely keep Pellegrini in his job, at least for now.

- AP


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