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Dublin: 7°C Thursday 22 October 2020

Is Pep Guardiola on the verge of failure and other Champions League talking points

Plus, can Sergio Agüero replicate his Premier League form in Europe?

Bayern Munich need to overturn a one-goal deficit against Atlético Madrid.
Bayern Munich need to overturn a one-goal deficit against Atlético Madrid.
Image: EMPICS Sport

1. Is Pep Guardiola one game away from his time at Bayern Munich being described as a failure?

DESPITE BEING ON the cusp of managing Bayern Munich to their fourth German title in a row, and his third with the German side, Guardiola’s legacy at Bayern may well be tarnished if they fail to get past Atlético Madrid and then go on and win the Champions League this season.

It was almost an impossible ask for Guardiola to repeat the success he had at Barcelona with Bayern Munich, after he inherited an incredibly functional team that lacked the individual quality of a Messi, Xavi or Iniesta.

His task became even harder when Jupp Heynckes’ side completed the treble, which included lifting the European Cup at Wembley – Guardiola’s task was now to win it again but win it better.

But Guardiola has failed to get past the semi-final stage in the Champions League with Bayern and is facing the prospect of going out at this stage of the competition for the third successive season against a Spanish team, having lost comprehensively to Real Madrid and Barcelona in the past two seasons.

Although he will be leaving for Manchester City in the summer, the pressure remains against one of the most resilient sides in Europe.

Germany Soccer Bundesliga Pep Guardiola may face his new team Manchester City in the final. Source: Matthias Schrader

2. Can Sergio Agüero raise his performance to the levels of Messi, Ronaldo and Suarez?

Undoubtedly Sergio Agüero is one of the best strikers in the Premier League despite being left out of the PFA Team of the Year for the fifth consecutive season, but the Argentine has only scored twice in his eight Champions League appearances this season compared to 16 goals in 10 games for Cristiano Ronaldo, eight in nine for Luis Suarez and six in seven for Lionel Messi.

Goalscoring chances could be at a premium at the Bernabeu if the first-leg encounter is anything to go by, and if Manchester City are to go through to their first Champions League final they may need the 27-year-old to show his Premier League form on the European stage and prove he is as good as the best in the world.

Manchester City v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League - Quarter Final - Second Leg - Etihad Stadium Sergio Aguero missed a penalty against PSG in the previous round. Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

3. Real Madrid’s imperious home form in the Champions League will be tested by a City side rejuvenated on the road in Europe

Real Madrid’s home record in the Champions League this season reads; played five, won five, scored 18 and conceded none. An impressive record that’s perhaps negated slightly by the quality of opposition they have faced, with PSG by far their toughest challenge.

City have been much more impressive on the road than previous seasons with important wins at Dynamo Kiev, Sevilla, Borussia Mönchengladbach while drawing 2-2 in Paris in the previous round.

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Although with a fit-again Cristiano Ronaldo in their side, it is hard not to see Real Madrid maintaining their 100 per cent home record.

Manchester City v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League - Semi-Final - First Leg - Etihad Stadium Zinedine Zidane is aiming to lead Real Madrid to their 11th European Cup. Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Originally published at 0630

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About the author:

Shane Costello

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