RB Leipzig vs Man City Odds, Pick: Cityzens in Champions League Trouble?

RB Leipzig vs Man City Odds, Pick: Cityzens in Champions League Trouble? article feature image

DeFodi Images/Getty. Pictured: Yussuf Poulsen.

RB Leipzig vs Man City Odds

Wednesday, Feb. 22
3 p.m. ET

RB Leipzig Odds


Man City Odds

Over/Under2.5 (-142 / +116)
Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)(-156 / +122)
Odds via FanDuel. Get the latest soccer odds here.

Another season in European football and another year where Manchester City are lined at the Champions League favorite. Pep Guardiola's side has seemingly invented new ways to get knocked out of Europe's elite competition every year.

In 2019, Spurs took them out after a VAR decision in the quarterfinal. In 2020, Lyon crushed them in transition and outscored them. City made the final in 2021 but couldn't create anything against Chelsea's elite defense in the final. Last year, Real Madrid pulled off a miraculous comeback deep into the second leg — City totally collapsed in the final 45 minutes of the tie.

The Cityzens are huge favorites to advance to the quarterfinals, but RB Leipzig will not be a pushover. City beat them 6-3 in the group stage last season, but both teams have changed quite a bit since then. Leipzig have gone through two managers in that time frame and City have changed a good amount of their squad.

Manchester City may well advance at home in Manchester in a month, but in my view, they're overvalued as a road favorite in this first leg on Wednesday.

RB Leipzig Have Punishing Defense

RB Leipzig are the best defense in Germany in terms of underlying numbers and they’re quite capable of playing out of possession against Manchester City. No defense has allowed fewer shots, fewer shots on goal or a longer average shot distance. They held Bayern Munich to 0.7 xG in the league meeting with them just after the World Cup break.

Leipzig will have star forward Christopher Nknunku back fit for this match, although it remains unclear if he will start. Nkunku is an elite dribbler and close control player that can link up effectively with Timo Werner running into the channels beyond City’s fullbacks.

You can also go back to the Champions League group stage to see why this team has so much upside. They went toe-to-toe with Real Madrid twice and played them even in both legs. They lost the away leg 1-0 and won the home won 2-1, but you could make a solid case Leipzig were the better side in both matches.

They've conceded just 0.94 xG per match at home in Germany this year. They've had their fair share of clunker performances, but they've only lost once at home all year — last week to Union Berlin. That's not really a comparable stylistic matchup to the one on Wednesday against possession-giant City.

The biggest weakness for Leipzig comes on set pieces — they're near the bottom of Germany at defending them. Fortunately, that's been a weak point for City this year. Guardiola's side is 13th in xG per set piece and just fifth in total goals despite having the second-most in the league.

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Man City Face Historic Struggle in Champions League

As good as the Cityzens are, we’ve seen time and time again that manager Pep Guardiola will opt for a more conservative approach in the Champions League.

He’s willing to sacrifice some win probability to make sure his side isn’t vulnerable on the counterattack. Manchester City may have Erling Haaland, but there is still a decline in the production and shot numbers of their wide forwards around him. The attack has dropped from 2.5 xG per match last season down to about 2.1 per match.

Their numbers are still elite, but the attack is more centrally focused and more prone to variance impacting their matches. City are dropping more points domestically and also didn't exactly dominate Borussia Dortmund back in the CL group stage. In two matches against Dortmund, City produced a total of 2.2 xG and conceded 1.9 xGA.

Considering that I have Dortmund power rated worse than Leipzig and Dortmund is generally worse out of possession than Leipzig, that makes Wednesday an interesting battle.

Guardiola has done a bunch of tinkering and tried a back three on multiple occasions. The clear weakness to this approach is the wide areas in transition and Leipzig have the pace and talent to exploit this weakness. Guardiola is more likely to take the cautious approach and take away Leipzig counters at all costs.

The result of that is City attacking with fewer numbers and lots of struggle to break down a great Leipzig defense.

RB Leipzig vs Man City Pick

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