Manchester City’s Spanish coach Pep Guardiola. / AFP PHOTO / PAU BARRENA
On the eve of Wednesday’s Champions League game at Borussia Moenchengladbach, Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola revealed captain Vincent Kompany could ‘be out for weeks’ with a knee injury.
City are chasing a win in Germany to put them in the last 16, but they must do so without their skipper.Kompany, 30, went off with concussion during Saturday’s Premier League win at Crystal Palace, but also has knee-ligament damage.
“Kompany has a problem with his knee. He could be out for weeks. He’s sad and I’m sad,” said Guardiola.Kompany has had calf, groin and thigh injuries in 2016 and has started just two league matches this season.
City, second in Group C behind leaders Barcelona, will book their knock-out phase place with another victory over Gladbach having won the reverse fixture 4-0 when Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick in mid-September.
The 28-year-old striker revels in clashes against German clubs.
He also scored on his last visit to Borussia Park in September 2015, converting a 90th-minute penalty to earn City a 2-1 win, and netted a hat-trick in a 3-2 victory at home to Bayern Munich in November 2014.
This is the first time Guardiola has returned to Germany for a competitive game since he quit Bayern Munich in May after winning seven titles in three seasons.
He rested Ilkay Gundogan against Palace and only used David Silva off the bench, a hint that both may feature at Borussia Park.
Even without Kompany, Guardiola has plenty of options as City look to build on their stunning 3-1 defeat of Barcelona three weeks ago.
“We were so happy with beating Barcelona, but it was just one game,” said Guardiola, who dismissed notions City are amongst the favourites to win next June’s final in Cardiff.
“We cannot be considered favourites to win.
“Maybe in ten years, but we need time to achieve that.
“Barca and Real Madrid are there every year.
“I am trying to do a lot in the next few years to be there.”
– win or bust –
In contrast, this is a case of win or bust for Gladbach’s Champions League aspirations.
An unlikely victory would lift Gladbach level with City on seven points before Borussia’s daunting final group match away to Barcelona on December 6.
Moenchengladbach will be confirmed in third place — which means a passage into the knock-out phase of the Europa League — if they draw and Celtic lose at home to Barcelona, also on Wednesday night.
“We are the rank outsiders,” admitted Gladbach coach Andre Schubert.
“Manchester have the chance of reaching the semis or even the final.
“We have the chance of going into the (January) winter break in the Europa League. That’s our goal.” Gladbach are not in good form.
Their 2-1 defeat at home to Cologne on Saturday left them 13th in Germany’s top flight.They have won just one of their last six home games — a German Cup victory over second-division VfB Stuttgart.
But Schubert’s team led Barcelona at Borussia Park until two second-half goals dug Barca out of trouble for a 2-1 win in September.
Gladbach need another brave performance at home.
“Manchester are continually developing,” said Schubert.”They are now pressing defences even higher and we have to show we have learnt our lesson from the first game.”