Buoy­ant City seek knock­out spot at strug­gling Glad­bach

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

MANCH­ESTER CITY, buoyed by the re­turn of Yaya Toure, will look to seal a spot in the Cham­pi­ons League knock­out stage when they travel to Borus­sia Moenchenglad­bach to­mor­row morn­ing to play a team strug­gling for form.

Toure, banned by coach Pep Guardi­ola fol­low­ing com­ments by his agent about the man­ager, re­turned from a three-month ex­ile to score both goals in City’s 2-1 Pre­mier League win at Crys­tal Palace on Satur­day.

Even though the Ivo­rian is not reg­is­tered to play in the Cham­pi­ons League, Guardi­ola’s de­ci­sion to re­store him to the do­mes­tic squad has fur­ther boosted spir­its, al­ready high with the team just a point be­hind lead­ers Chelsea League.

“His per­son­al­ity and his qual­ity are there to see,” Guardi­ola said. “He can play many po­si­tions. We now have one more man that can help us achieve our tar­gets this sea­son.”

“With this in­ten­sity, we’re go­ing to play in the Cham­pi­ons League,” said the Spa­niard, whose team will ad­vance with a win or a draw.

City, who crushed Glad­bach 4-0 at home in Septem­ber, are in sec­ond place in the group on seven points, three ahead of the Ger­mans, and can wrap up qual­i­fi­ca­tion with vic­tory in Ger­many.

A draw will be enough if Celtic lose at home to Barcelona in the other in the Pre­mier Group C fix­ture.

Barcelona are top on nine, with Celtic in last place on two.

The Ger­mans, who also lost at home to City last sea­son, will se­cure third spot and Europa League ac­tion if they draw and Celtic lose.

They still have an out­side chance for a top two fin­ish but their last group match is at Barcelona.

Glad­bach, how­ever, are stuck in a rut, hav­ing failed to win any of their last six league matches in which they have scored just one goal.

Their last vic­tory in any com­pe­ti­tion dates back to Oc­to­ber in the Ger­man Cup.

Coach An­dre Schu­bert, who still has the back­ing of club bosses but faced was jeered fol­low­ing Satur­day’s 2-1 home loss to Cologne, will be with­out sus­pended Christoph Kramer and Ju­lian Korb as well as in­jured Pa­trick Her­rmann.

“We are just not scor­ing goals,” cap­tain Lars Stindl said. “We are miss­ing the fi­nal touch up front and some luck. But we must for­get ev­ery­thing, put ev­ery­thing be­hind us and keep to­gether so that we can im­prove.”

“Wed­nes­day’s match is com­pletely dif­fer­ent un­der dif­fer­ent con­di­tions,” he said.

“We want to play a good home game, se­cure third place early. That is our big goal and we be­lieve in our chances. We know what we are ca­pa­ble of.” – Reuters

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