ICYMI: Here's Everything You Need To Know About City's Champions League Play-Off On Tuesday

Unknown territory for Pep's men...


The Champions League is back and City are in it once more. Life is good. What's our group look like then?

Hold your horses there, mate. Due to City finishing fourth in the Premier League last season the club have to win a two-legged play-off in order to qualify for the group stage. 

Crikey. Who's standing in our way?

That would be Steaua Bucharest who got here by finishing as runners-up in the Romanian top division. 

City travel to Bucharest for the first leg on Tuesday August 16th while the return leg at the Etihad Stadium is scheduled for Wednesday August 24th. 

When and where can I watch it?

The game will kick-off at 7.45pm and will be broadcast live from the Arena Națională, Bucharest on BT Sport 2. 

Steaua Bucharest. I've heard of them...

You would have. Arguably Romania's most famous club, they have won their domestic league a record 26 times.  

On top of that, they have something City don't in the form of a European Cup victory. They shocked FC Barcelona by beating them on penalties in the final in 1986. 

They reached the showpiece again three years later but were hammered 4-0 by AC Milan. 

More recently, they beat Chelsea 1-0 in the 2012/2013 Europa League before going down 3-1 in the second leg.


So they've got some pedigree. How's the current squad?

Not bad. Guardiola will be wary of playmaker Nicolae Stanciu who Chelsea have reportedly been keeping tabs on. Adrian Popa is another creative outlet while the combative Mihai Pintilli takes no prisoners in midfield. All three represented Romania at EURO 2016. 

I see. What's our record like against these guys?

Never played them before. City's only previous encounter with Romanian opposition came in the 2010/2011 Europa League play-offs where they beat Timisoara 3-0 on aggregate. 

Unknown territory. Team news?

It's becoming quite apparent that goalkeeper Joe Hart's City career is coming to an end so Willy Caballero is set to keep his place in goal. 

Midfielder Yaya Toure did not travel with the team while Eliaquim Mangala, Samir Nasri and Wilfried Bony were not included in City's Champions League squad.

Pep's certainly been swinging the axe. Ruthless. So are we going to get through?

While Steaua won't be a walk in the park, it's highly expected that City will take their place in the Champions League group stage for the sixth successive season. 

Even though they struggled to break down a stubborn Sunderland side on Saturday, they are still very much feeling their way into Guardiola's preferred style of play. 

Overall, City should have too much for Steaua across the two legs. The worst they should expect is leaving Romania without a victory before turning things around in the second leg. 

Elimination would mean they would take their place in the Europa League. That would be an unwelcome turn of events for Guardiola in his first season at a club which he hopes to turn into Champions League winners.


The stakes are high, that's for sure. Thanks mate. 

They certainly are. No problem.  

Written By

James Fenton

Resident football writer, covering City, United and the rest of what the beautiful game brings to our city. I also moonlight in news, current affairs and emmm... burger reviews.