Man City vs Bayern Munich
Goreztka is an absolute monster, let’s get that straight. The German midfielder can certainly play, but he’s strong, aggressive, but perhaps sometimes a bit too aggressive.
Goretzka has a tendency to overexert himself in midfield duels, which isn’t exactly difficult when you’re as powerful an operator as he is. He commits 1.32 fouls P/90 domestically, and 1.70 P/90 in the Champions League. These are encouraging numbers, especially alongside the fact that he gave away 2 fouls in each leg of the last 16 tie against PSG.
Goretzka fouls in last 5 games (all competitions): 1, 3, 0, 2, 2
He’ll be battling in what I expect to be an incredibly congested midfield against true quality operators. De Bruyne and Gundogan are often elusive and are clever enough to find themselves in pockets of space. They’re fouled 0.77 and 0.66 times P/90 in Europe, and 0.98 and 1.02 times P/90 domestically.
The quality of the pair is enough to suggest that Goretzka should have a tough time on Tuesday evening, but the stats double down on that notion. His 4 cards in the league, coupled with another in the Champions League highlights his tendency to foul. With just the 1 foul in the Champions League as well, he’s completely free to pick up another booking without the risk of suspension.
Haaland has been sensational for City this season. Perhaps the stats don’t necessarily suggest that he’s that much of a physical presence when it comes to holding up the ball and bringing others into play, but his goalscoring exploits have been second to none. Still, he’s fouled 0.70 times P/90, and Matthijs De Ligt faces the unenviable task of marking him tonight.
It’s less Haaland’s stats, and more De Ligt’s tendency to overexert himself and jump into tackles that makes this such a tantalising selection. The Dutch centre back commits 0.91 fouls P/90 domestically, and a much more encouraging 1.46 P/90 in the Champions League.
3 fouls away to PSG in the first leg of their last 16 tie highlights the trouble that De Ligt could face when under pressure against a quality side. And let’s be clear, Man City are perhaps a step above even that.
He’s been booked 4 times in the Bundesliga, and much like Goretzka, De Ligt has just the 1 booking to his name in the Champions League, meaning that he has nothing to worry about with regards to a suspension, he can take a yellow if needs be.
One factor that could well play its part here is that of Mahrez. De Ligt tends to occupy the left hand side of the centre back partnership or trio, and could well have to deal with the Algerian as he glides way inside onto his left foot. He’s fouled 2.16 times P/90 in the league, and 1.45 times P/90 in Europe, enough to make De Ligt sweat for sure.