The champions of England and Germany meet at the Etihad on Tuesday, when Manchester City host Bayern Munich in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final.
While being near-faultless in Europe, both sides have struggled in defending their respective domestic titles this season.
Man City beat Southampton 4-1 at the weekend to stay in touch with Arsenal in the Premier League title race.
That was their eighth win in a row, as City’s annual late-season winning streak seems to be in full flow.
Another four goals at the weekend means they have found the net 31 times during this eight-game winning run.
With Erling Haaland up front and back to full health, it is no surprise to see, as another two goals at St. Mary’s took the Norwegian’s tally to 30 PL goals for the season.
The side’s top scorer has a further 10 in just six Champions League outings this season, but Haaland has never enjoyed much success against Bayern, losing all seven encounters during his time with Borussia Dortmund.
Haaland had a big hand in seeing them progress to this stage of the competition, scoring five in a dominant 7-0 thrashing of another German opponent, RB Leipzig, to confirm an 8-1 aggregate victory in the last 16.
City met Bayern frequently during their early Champions League years, winning two of their three meetings here at the Etihad, with their only defeat on home soil coming when their current boss Pep Guardiola was in the away dugout with the German giants.
Despite sitting top of the Bundesliga, Bayern have been even more unconvincing than City domestically, and a mixed start for Thomas Tuchel at the helm puts increased pressure on this tie.
His predecessor Julian Nagelsmann comfortably took care of a very difficult group containing Barcelona and Inter Milan, before they swept Paris Saint-Germain aside without much fuss in the last 16, with consecutive wins to nil.
Tuchel’s first game in charge saw Bayern comfortably beat title rivals Dortmund at the Allianz Arena, but they followed it up with a shock cup defeat to Freiburg, exiting the DFB-Pokal at the quarter-final stage.
They took revenge at the weekend, as Matthijs de Ligt’s screamer saw them beat the same opponents in the league to maintain their position at the top of the standings.
One of Tuchel’s main tasks will be to tighten Bayern up defensively, as they have kept just six clean sheets in their last 16 matches, conceding two or more on five occasions.
That is a concern as they prepare to face arguably the best attacking side in Europe who are on a hot streak of scoring goals with a certain prolific forward at the top of the pitch.
Tuchel has form in this competition though, reaching both the 2020 and 2021 Champions League finals.
The 2021 final saw him defeat Guardiola’s City side with Chelsea, just weeks after he also eliminated them in the semi-finals of the FA Cup.
Guardiola will be able to call upon a near-fully fit Man City squad for this clash, with Phil Foden the only absentee as he recovers from having his appendix removed.
The City manager has not tinkered with his lineup much in recent weeks, and it could remain largely unchanged from the side that beat Southampton.
Bernardo Silva may come in for Riyad Mahrez after the Portuguese midfielder played 90 minutes in both legs against Leipzig in the last round.
The back three should remain unchanged, meaning no place for Aymeric Laporte again, while John Stones continues to excel in a midfield role, being preferred to Kalvin Phillips.
Tuchel will take his Bayern side to Manchester without a fit natural centre forward, as Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting is set to miss out with a knee problem.
Serge Gnabry was used in a central role for the win over Freiburg, but Thomas Muller has also played in that position in the past.
With Leon Goretzka expected to come back into the side after being rested against Freiburg, Jamal Musiala may move further forward with Muller being utilised up top.
Sadio Mane’s struggles may see him replaced on the left-hand side by Kingsley Coman, who scored the all-important winning goal away in Paris in their last 16 first leg.
Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Akanji, Ruben Dias, Ake; Stones, Rodri, Bernardo Silva, De Bruyne, Gundogan, Grealish; Haaland
Bayern Munich possible starting lineup:
Sommer; Pavard, De Ligt, Upamecano, Davies; Goretzka, Kimmich, Sane, Musiala, Coman; Muller