Facing a side who had held Paris Saint-Germain to a draw and defeated RB Leipzig may have led to some apprehension within the City camp, but Guardiola’s side asserted their dominance in Europe with a crushing 5-1 win over Club Brugge last month.
Cole Palmer, Joao Cancelo, Kyle Walker and Riyad Mahrez (2) were all on the scoresheet while Hans Vanaken pulled one back for Brugge, but the Premier League champions have posted a pair of worrying domestic results ahead of this encounter.
After their perennial reign of dominance in the EFL Cup was ended by West Ham United, City failed to produce the goods in front of their own fans and slumped to defeat against Crystal Palace in the Premier League, with Wilfried Zaha and Conor Gallagher netting at the Etihad.
Now at risk of losing three games in a row across all competitions – something they have not done since April 2018 – City remain in the top two of Champions League Group A behind PSG, although Brugge would leapfrog Guardiola’s men with all three points here.
While that defeat to Palace had alarm bells ringing for Guardiola, the Citizens can take confidence from their seven-game winning run on home soil in the Champions League, during which they have never failed to score at least twice in a game.
Despite pitting their wits against PSG and Leipzig and coming away with a respectable four-point haul to show for their efforts, attempting to get one over the rampant Guardiola machine proved a step too far for Club Brugge.
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However, the Belgian outfit have done remarkably well to hold their own in a group that many expected them to finish dead last in, and with Leipzig yet to claim a point in Europe this term, Brugge are guaranteed to sit in the top three by the close of play on matchday four.
Philippe Clement’s side were indebted to an old head in Bas Dost during their league encounter with Sint-Truiden at the weekend, as the 32-year-old netted the opener after 40 seconds before repeating the trick in the second half in a 2-1 success.
Brugge have strung together a five-game unbeaten run away from home in all competitions ahead of their trip to the Etihad, but they have also conceded in each of their last four on the road, while their last clean sheet in the Champions League on rival territory came all the way back in August 2019