Real Madrid take on Manchester City today in their second Champions League qualifying match at 21:00 Spanish time (3:00 pm EST). Three days ago, Las Blancas defeated Sturm Graz 6-0 to progress to the “final” of their group. Should Madrid beat City, they will enter Round 2 of qualifying, where they will have to conquer a two-legged tie to make the group stage.
This is a rematch of last year’s qualification battle between the Sky Blue and the All White. On that occasion, both teams had automatically qualified for Round 2 and, thus, only needed to play two games vs. each other to progress to the Champions League proper. Madrid triumphed in a thrilling, closely-fought set of encounters. Caroline Weir, who opened the scoring for City in the first leg, has swapped sides and now plies her trade for Madrid.
Those aren’t the only changes City have made since then, losing Lucy Bronze to Barcelona while stealing some talent back from Spain (or Atlético Madrid, to be more precise) in the form of Laia Aleixandri and Deyna Castellanos.
Gareth Taylor’s forces were impressive in their R1 “semi-final,” mimicking Real Madrid’s scoreline vs. Sturm Graz to crush Tomiris-Turan 6-0. This will no doubt be another tight contest and Alberto Toril’s squad will need to give everything to emerge victorious.
GK: Misa, Méline Gérard, Sofía
DEF: Kenti Robles, Rocío Gálvez, Ivana Andrés, Olga Carmona, Kathellen Sousa, Claudia Florentino, Lucía Rodríguez, Sofie Svava
MID: Teresa Abelleria, Sandie Toletti, Maite Oroz, Caroline Weir, Claudia Zornoza
FWD: Nahikari García, Esther González, Caroline Møller Hansen, Naomie Feller, Athenea del Castillo, Paula Partido, Carla Camacho
Absences: Marta Corredera (maternity leave), Lorena Navarro
Lorena has been left out of the squad again and it remains unclear whether that is a tactical decision or a fitness one.