Man City vs RB Leipzig Preview, Odds, Pick | Champions League Prediction

Man City vs RB Leipzig Preview, Odds, Pick | Champions League Prediction article feature image

Picture Alliance/Getty. Pictured: Timo Werner.

Man City vs RB Leipzig Odds

Tues., Mar. 14
4 p.m. ET

Man City Odds


RB Leipzig Odds

Over/Under2.5 (-155 / +122)
Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)(-115 / -115)
Odds via Caesars. Get the latest soccer odds here.

Man City and RB Leipzig head to the Etihad with everything to play for in the second leg after a 1-1 draw in Germany.

City still trail Arsenal by five points in the Premier League after their sleepy 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday. They must shift their focus to this Champions League second leg in a competition they have never won. They came out of the gates red hot against Leipzig in the first leg and applied a ton of pressure, but allowed Marco Rose's team to play their way back into the match in the second half.

RB Leipzig pounded Gladbach 3-0 over the weekend to move back into the top four in the Bundesliga. They have been flying ever since Rose took over in September and now have a golden opportunity to move onto the quarterfinals and take the Champions League betting favorite out of the tournament.

Man City in Odd Place

Manchester City are in really weird form right now. I say that because their underlying metrics are still some of the best in the world and they're deserving of being the favorite to win the Champions League, but they have shown some vulnerabilities when playing against top end competition.

Since we returned from the World Cup break, City only have a +1.8 xGD in matches against Manchester United, Tottenham, Arsenal, RB Leipzig and Newcastle.

In the first leg against Leipzig, Manchester City were in complete control in the first half. Their counter-pressing wouldn't allow RB Leipzig to play out of the back and eventually they turned a high turnover into a Riyad Mahrez goal.

They ended up outshooting RB Leipzig in the first half 7-to-1, but no other chances were of high quality.

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Everything flipped in the second half and suddenly Manchester City lost their game control and RB Leipzig played their way back into the match, resulting in an equalizer. Leipzig took advantage of a major weakness this season for Manchester City, which is their transition defense.

In the Premier League, City are unsurprisingly top-two in both box entries and final third entries allowed. However, when an opponent enters Manchester City's final third, 34.2% of the time it turns into a box entry. That is the second-worst mark in the Premier League.

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RB Leipzig Capable of Causing Problems

Since Rose has taken over for RB Leipzig on September 8th, they have a +1.22 npxGD per 90 minutes. Over that time span, Barcelona are the only team with a better npxGD.

As we saw in the first leg, Leipzig also have a style of play that can give Manchester City a lot of problems. In the first half, RB Leipzig continually were getting caught very deep in their own end of the pitch and were consistently trying to build out from the back, which wasn't working and eventually was downfall with the opening goal.

Then, Rose switched the tactics up at halftime and had Leipzig playing much more direct and pressing higher up the pitch to try and catch Manchester City out of position, and it worked. Leipzig ended up creating 0.74 xG to Manchester City's 0.66 in the second half.

They also brought on their best attacker, Christopher Nkunku, in the 66th minute. Nkunku has missed a ton of time due to injury, but is now fully healthy and back in the starting XI, so him playing a full 90 minutes in the second leg for Leipzig is going to be huge for their ability to attack Manchester City in transition.

While RB Leipzig possess a ton of attacking talent, the unsung hero of their squad has been their defense. Since we returned from the World Cup break, Leipzig are only allowing 0.78 npxG per 90 minutes in the highest scoring league among Europe's top five leagues.

Man City vs RB Leipzig Pick

The game script will probably be very defensive for Leipzig in the second leg and the approach in the first half will be very cautious not to let Manchester City open them up. However, Leipzig possess so much attacking threat in transition that it's hard to ignore the potential of them shocking the world and knocking the favorites out of the Champions League.

The other element in this is what Pep Guardiola has historically done in the Champions League, which is be uber-obsessive over game control.

For a long time, City have been one of the slowest build up teams in Europe because of their ability to put a stranglehold on possession and opponents' fear of making a mistake.

Therefore, if Manchester City go up 1-0 in this match, I have a hard time seeing Guardiola being aggressive and going for the second goal rather than trying to handle the rest of the match.

I love the value on RB Leipzig on the spread +1.5 at -125 and I would play it up to -135.

Pick: RB Leipzig +1.5 (Play to -135) 

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