Manchester City have been below par in their last few games, losing to Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur (both EPL) and Chelsea (FA Cup). The Citizens will be keen to turn their fortunes around as they prepare for their Champions League first leg encounter against Dynamo Kyiv at NSC Olimpiyskiy, Wednesday.
City players will be under pressure to win as they have been knocked out of the FA Cup, following their 1-5 thrashing by Chelsea. Their star players need to stand up in the Champions League clash, else they might suffer their fourth straight defeat.
However, their Champions League form has been terrific in the group stages as they finished top of Group D, which included teams like Juventus and Sevilla.
City have not lost a single game in the competition so far and if players such as Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Yaya Toure stand up against Dynamo Kyiv, the visitors can emerge triumphant and take the all-important lead to Etihad stadium for the second leg.
Ironically, there has been a dip of form for Manchester City after the announcement of Pep Guardiola taking over as the next manager of the club from next season broke. However, present manager Manuel Pellegrini is not worried about his future and rather wants a solid performance from his players against Kyiv.
"I'm not thinking about the future, only about this match. The most important thing for me is our performance here. I want my players show all they can. We understand it's only the first game but we need to be at our best to make our task easier for the second leg," UEFA official website quoted Pellegrini as saying.
In Dynamo Kyiv, City face a tough opposition. Kyiv have been impressive in their domestic league, winning their last five games comprehensively, conceding a single goal only. Their performance in the group stages was good, finishing just above Porto and below Chelsea to qualify for the knockout stages.
But what needs to be taken note of is that Kyiv have not played any competitive football for some time, but have played some friendlies only in the winter break to prepare for such clashes. Kyiv must be aware of the City's poor run of games but Kyiv's manager Serhiy Rebrov is worried regarding the offensive threat City brings to the table with Aguero, David Silva and others.
The manager believes City's domestic record does not matter as they possess an array of world-class players.
"City have scored more than any other team in the Premier League [alongside Leicester] and their recent defeats mean nothing. Their squad, even without all the injury absentees, includes many top players. In fact, all their players are world class. Their domestic form doesn't matter as the Champions League is a completely different competition," Rebrov said.
Player-to-player wise City look very strong, but Kyiv also have an incredible star in the form of Andriy Yarmolenko, who is their key player. The player's fitness is a cause of concern, but the manager believes he is fit. The final call on the player shall be taken hours before the match.
"All our players are fit and ready to fight, including Andriy Yarmolenko. He's a very important player for us but if we see he's not 100%, we'll have to remember we still have the second leg," Rebrov said.
Where to watch live
Dynamo Kyiv vs Manchester City is scheduled for an 8.45 p.m. local time (1.15 a.m. IST, 7.45 p.m. GMT, 2.45 p.m. ET) start. Ten Action will broadcast the Dynamo Kyiv vs Manchester City match live in India, with the online live streaming option on Ten Sports Live.
Viewers in UK can watch the Dynamo Kyiv vs Manchester City game live on BT Sport Europe, while the match can also be watched via live streaming online on Watch BT Sport or by downloading the BT Sport app.
ESPN Deportes TV will provide the live coverage of Dynamo Kyiv vs Manchester City in the US, while the Champions league game can also be live streamed online on Watch ESPN .
Viewers in Ukraine can watch the game live on Kanal 5 Ukraina.