Manchester City lineup
Starting XI: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Ake, Gomez, Rodrigo, Bernardo, Nunes, Foden, Alvarez, Haaland
Subs: Ortega Moreno, Carson, Phillips, Doku, Gvardiol, Akanji, Bobb, Lewis
Guardiola warns of tough Red Star Belgrade test
Few give Red Star a prayer of containing City at the Etihad tonight, but Guardiola has warned his side not to get complacent or underestimate an aggressive and counter-attacking opponent that he clearly believes won’t just be content to make up the numbers in Group G.
Guardiola was impressed with Red Star counterpart Barak Bakhar’s work with Maccabi Haifa in last season’s Champions League and his bravery when going toe-to-toe with the likes of Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.
“I remember Red Star. I remember when I was a young boy, [Diego] Maradona playing there and make a goal when he kicked the ball over the keeper,” Guardiola told reporters on Monday.
“I remember that fresh in my memory and the amazing squad. Always is a nice atmosphere. I remember perfectly well in Croatia. The culture for Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro this kind. Lovely countries and they have an incredible mentality.
“They are competitors. All the incredible athletes water polo, look now [Novak] Djokovic all the incredible athletes. All the competitors. I don’t know why but for the schools for the kids they have something special.
“[They are] so aggressive. In some moments they don’t defend man to man. Sometimes they defend man to man. We have to be ready. [They are] quick in the transitions, good runners.
“Typical system a 5-3-2 when they attack or a 5-2-3 with a lot of players in the final third. We have to be able to read well what we have to do.
“Well I saw last season [Bakhar was] with Maccabi Haifa in a difficult group against Juventus, Benfica and PSG.
“What I saw, because we saw a little bit, my staff analayse what he has done with Maccabi Haifa against Mbappe, Messi and Neymar for example. Very impressed with the courage and bravery to play against them. Doesn’t matter what happened. We think Tuesday is going to be quite similar.”
The Etihad Stadium is looking very dark and moody pre-match as the nights draw in with autumn upon us.
It doesn’t get much better than Champions League football under the lights.
We should be getting word of the official team news very shortly.
Guardiola hasn’t watched back last season’s final
Guardiola certainly made clear that he was not content with merely one Champions League title at City, with both club and manager having taken plenty of stick for their seeming inability to last the pace in Europe before their long-awaited maiden triumph in June.
Ex-Barcelona boss Pep has three in the locker now as a manager after failing to guide Bayern Munich to the promised land and is relishing the chance for another shot at glory with arguably the best club team on the planet.
Guardiola even admitted that he had not watched back last season’s final in Istanbul, when Rodri’s side-footed strike midway through the second half broke Inter hearts.
“People say we won it and it’s done. It’s not done,” the Spaniard said. “They’re happy, we’re happy. Every time we come here, people take pictures with the four trophies.
“That makes us so happy, you cannot deny, but if I wanted to live for the memories I wouldn’t be here. I’d be at home or on a beach.
“I didn’t watch the game, no. Not at all. The competition gives us a new challenge so let’s at least try – and I don’t have any doubt we will try.”
Guardiola wants back-to-back Man City titles
Manchester City would be joining an illustrious club if they did manage to win back-to-back European titles, with Real Madrid the only team to achieve the feat so far in the Champions League era – claiming an unprecedented three in a row between 2016-18.
Before that you have to go all the way back to the European Cup days and the great AC Milan side of Arrigo Sacchi, who won successive crowns in 1989 and 1990.
Guardiola said this week: “I’d like to say that for our club to win the Champions League is incredible – the first time in our history – but, in perspective, how many teams have won the Champions League once?
“A lot have won two, three, four, five. In perspective, we did nothing special. It’s just one.
“Let’s go. Let’s try to win tomorrow against a team so aggressive, so fast up front.
“It’s most difficult to win the first one. But every season we start the competition in the first game with the target to win the first game, then the group stage, then try to win the Champions League. Nothing changes from before.
“The same for Red Star. It depends on our performance and our level.
“We’re incredibly happy to defend this crown but this competition doesn’t allow you mistakes.
“But always we were so strong at home, nine points from nine. When that happens you can win just one game away and you qualify. This is the first step.”
Man City vs Red Star Belgrade prediction
Manchester City could not have wished for a kinder start to their title defence and this should be an opportunity for the lesser-used players to come in and impress.
Man City to win, 5-0.
Red Star Belgrade team news
The odds are firmly stacked against Red Star Belgrade tonight in what is their first ever competitive meeting with Manchester City.
However, Israeli boss Barak Bakhar – hired from Maccabi Haifa to succeed Milos Milojevic in May – does at least have no known injury worries to contend with for the most difficult of opening Group G assignments at the Etihad.
Red Star’s current squad includes the likes of former Leicester loanee Aleksandar Dragovic.
Man City team news
Manchester City’s 100 per cent start to the new season has certainly not been without its key setbacks on the injury front.
Kevin De Bruyne could miss the rest of the calendar year with a hamstring injury, while Pep Guardiola is also without the services of John Stones, Mateo Kovacic and Jack Grealish tonight.
Nathan Ake could return in defence, though, after coming on as a late substitute in the 3-1 comeback win at West Ham on Saturday.
The likes of Sergio Gomez, Rico Lewis and Matheus Nunes will also be pushing to start as Guardiola no doubt ponders changes for a game his team are expected to win heavily.
Where to watch Man City vs Red Star Belgrade
TV channel: In the UK, tonight’s game will be televised live on TNT Sports 2, with coverage beginning at 7pm.
Live stream: Subscribers can also catch the contest live online via the TNT Sports app and website.
Good evening and welcome to Standard Sport’s second LIVE coverage of the new Champions League campaign.
Tonight we are focused on events at the Etihad Stadium, where Manchester City begin their title defence at home to Red Star Belgrade – AKA Crvena Zvezda – in Group G.
Kick-off tonight is at 8pm BST, so stay tuned for all the latest match build-up, breaking team news and live updates from Europe’s biggest club competition.