Champions League preview: Man City get set for another European adventure

By Michael Cage, Thu 07 September 2017 16:57


Champions League preview: Man City get set for another European adventure 

Manchester City head into this season's Champions League eager to prove they can mix it with Europe's top clubs.

City start their Group F campaign on Wednesday, September 13, with a visit to Dutch champions Feyenoord. Italian side Napoli and Ukranian's Shakhtar Donetsk complete the group.

The Blues have faced Napoli before when they were drawn against the Italians during the group stage of their Champions League debut back in 2011.

Feyenoord and Shakhtar are new opponents for the Premier League side, but City will be confident of qualifying from the group.

We take a look at City's three opponents ahead of the start of the group stage.

Feyenoord

Former Arsenal midfielder Giovanni van Bronckhorst led Feyenoord to their first Eredivisie title in 18 years last season, but their squad has suffered some high-profile departures this summer.

Rick Karsdorp and Terence Kongolo and have joined Roma and AS Monaco respectively, while ex-Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt has retired.

However, the addition of Sweden international Sam Larsson from Heerenveen looks a shrewd move, while ex-Watford midfielder Steven Berghuis has previously shone in Dutch football.

Feyenoord beat Manchester United in the Europa League on home turf last season, meaning City can't afford to underestimate the threat posed by van Bronckhorst's team, even if bookmakers in Sweden, Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe haven't given the home team much of a chance.

The Dutch side have won eight and drawn five of their previous 25 meetings with English teams.

Napoli

The Italian side progressed to the round of 16 last season and they will have high hopes of going further this time around.

Napoli scored 94 goals on their way to finishing third in Serie A last term and they are widely recognised as one of the most entertaining teams in Europe.

Manager Maurizio Sarri has strengthened his squad this summer, signing Serbian defender Nikola Maksimovic on a permanent basis from Torino and Dinamo Zagreb's promising midfielder Marko Rog.

Captain Marek Hamsik remains an influential figure in Napoli's midfield, while striker Dries Mertens is a big threat having scored 34 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions last year.

Napoli recorded a win and a draw when the teams met back in 2011, although they have only picked up four victories from their 13 meetings with English sides.

Shakhtar Donetsk

This will be the Ukranian side's seventh group stage campaign in the last eight seasons and their 12th overall.

They have progressed to the last 16 on three occasions, reaching the quarter-finals just once back in 2010/11.

Shakhtar dominated the Ukrainian Premier League last year, losing just twice and picking up 80 out of a possible 96 points.

Brazilian playmaker Bernard is undoubtedly Shakhtar's biggest star, while compatriot Marlos is another player with the talent to unlock defences.

Shakhtar have faced English opposition on 12 previous occasions, winning three, drawing four and losing five.

Man City Champions League schedule

Wednesday, September 13: Feyenoord (A)
Tuesday, September 26: Shakhtar Donetsk (H)
Tuesday, October 17: Napoli (H)
Wednesday, November 1: Napoli (A)
Tuesday, November 21: Feyenoord (H)
Wednesday, December 6: Shakhtar Donetsk (A)

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