Steaua Bucharest vs Manchester City – Tuesday 15th August 2016 – 19:45 - BT Sport 1
Steaua Bucharest host Manchester City in the first round of qualification matches for the Champions League.
This is a huge match for both sides given the riches at stake but it is also Pep Guardiola's first European match in charge of Manchester City.
Laurențiu Reghecampf is the man charged with beating last years semi- finalists and they face a huge task to beat Manchester City over the two legs.
He has enjoyed an excellent start to life in the Romania First Division, he finds his side top of the league after three matches and they have gained the maximum nine points.
This is an excellent start and testament to the players but Manchester City will be a different proposition altogether.
However Steaua have the added advantage of being more advanced in their seasons preparations than Manchester City.
They come into the fixture having won 2-0 away at FC Botosani and will also be looking to add a second home win this season as well, having narrowly beaten Concordia 1-0.
Romania side Steaua will also be looking to improve upon their recent record in Europe, they have been ever presents in the Europa League but their best finish of the modern era has been reaching the group stages of the Champions League.
Their record against English teams will need to improve, in 18 fixtures they have won five, drawn four and lost nine and in City they face a side who were the Champions League semi-finalists last year.
Steaua Bucharest come into this match as underdogs at 11/2 with Nicolae Stanciu the favourite to score first at 10/1.
Manchester City kicked off the new season with a 2-1 win against Sunderland, with City leaving it late to find the winner, with a McNair own goal in the 87th minute settling the tie in City's favour.
Pep Guardiola will be looking to put his own stamp on this squad and on their playing style but recent history suggests that they only need to improve their consistency from last season and they will be challenging on all fronts.
They have signed a number of young players in the last few weeks to counter act the ageing squad of players. The likes of Yaya Toure, Vincent Kompany and David Silva have been there a while and the freshness of youth will provide Guardiola with an excellent squad going forward.
City managed to progress to the Semi- finals of the competition last for the first time in their history and a narrow 1-0 loss to Real Madrid was enough to knock them out of the tournament before the showpiece event in Milan.
Guardiola will have a huge job on his hands to challenge for the Champions League, with Barcelona looking to return following their disappointing exit to Atletico.
Both Real and Atletico will continue to challenge and the German sides Bayern and Borussia Dortmund will be very difficult to beat as well.
Manchester City come into this match as favourites at 4/9 with Sergio Aguero is at 5/2 to opening the scoring.
Tip 1 – Aguero to score first @ 5/2 and a 1-1 draw @ 7/1