Ilkay Gündogan (l.) may be on fire for Manchester City, but Borussia Mönchengladbach's Nico Elved (r.) throws up a rather unique kind of problem. - © IMAGO / Sportimage
Ilkay Gündogan (l.) may be on fire for Manchester City, but Borussia Mönchengladbach's Nico Elved (r.) throws up a rather unique kind of problem. - © IMAGO / Sportimage

5 reasons Borussia Mönchengladbach will STILL beat Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League


Marcus Thuram and Lars Stindl have a habit of coming up trumps on the big stage, but they're not the only aces up the sleeve of Marco Rose going into Tuesday's UEFA Champions League last-16 second leg with Manchester City.

>> Click here for Man City vs. Gladbach team news! details five reasons why Gladbach can still oust the runaway English Premier League leaders despite the 2-0 first-leg deficit...

1) Thuram's European crusade

If Thuram can score twice in 90 minutes against record European champions Real Madrid, it stands to reason he can do the business against a Man City team that has only advanced beyond the quarter-finals once.

The France international took his chances with aplomb on Matchday 2 as Gladbach took a 2-0 lead, only to be pegged back by a pair of very late goals. He also contributed four assists across the Foals five other Group B encounters.

Marcus Thuram scored the first UEFA Champions League goals of his career against record champions Real Madrid. - INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images

Thuram has started six of Gladbach's seven European encounters in 2020/21, and already has twice as many Champions League goals as his famous father Lilian managed in his trophy-laden career. Expect the man nicknamed 'Little Marcus' to make an impact over the course of the two legs.

2) Stindl the man for the big occasion

Thuram is among the top four at Gladbach for taking and making chances so far this season. Captain Stindl heads the charts.

The 32-year-old has 10 league goals to his name and has also struck twice in the Champions League and once en route to the DFB Cup quarter-finals, whilst producing 12 assists - all from a deeper position as the second striker.

He's one of three surviving members of the Gladbach side that debuted in the Champions League in 2015/16, earning a slice of Borussia history as the club's first tournament goalscorer with his strike in a 2-1 defeat to City on 30 September 2015.

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It's one of 16 goals he's scored in 49 appearances in UEFA competition down the years. Three landed in one fell swoop against Italy's Fiorentina on 23 February 2017 as Gladbach overturned a 3-0 aggregate deficit to qualify for the Europa League round of 16.

Stindl's 14 assists in European fare, along with his 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup top-scoring exploits for Germany, to only enhance his reputation.

3) Pep's Kryptonite?

Guardiola was still in charge of Bayern Munich when Gladbach lost home and away to City in the 2015/16 groups.

He oversaw a 4-0 win and 1-1 draw at the same stage in the competition 12 months later in his debut campaign at the Etihad, but not before coming unstuck against the Foals in the Bundesliga.

Pep Guardiola won a trio of Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich but his worst win percentage in Germany came against Borussia Mönchengladbach. - Matthias Hangst/Bongarts/Getty Images

Despite coming out on top in his first two meetings with Gladbach in 2013/14, he failed to win any of the next four. In fact, he lost two, giving him a 37.5 win ratio against the five-time Bundesliga winners. That's his worst return of all 26 German clubs he's faced as a coach.

Only Liverpool and Manchester United have avoided defeat more often than Gladbach among Guardiola's league opponents to date.

History is also on the Foals' side, having won the only previous knockout tie between these clubs. They progressed 4-2 on aggregate in the 1978/79 UEFA Cup quarter-finals, winning the second leg 3-1 - a result that would see them through again this year. It's possible given City's scratchy record of four losses in 11 Champions League knockout home games, including three out of seven in this round.

4) City suitor Elvedi

Stindl, Oscar Wendt, Fabian Johnson, Raffael and Andre Hahn all scored against Guardiola teams in recent years, but it's current defensive stalwart Nico Elvedi who - if reports are to be believed - really caught the Catalan strategist's eye.

Past City links with Elvedi make a lot of sense considering the Switzerland international's elegance on the ball and ability to play centrally or wide in a three- or four-man defence.

He also boasts the best pass completion in this season's Bundesliga (93.6 percent), and is second only to central defensive partner Matthias Ginter (101) at Gladbach for aerial challenges won (92).

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5) The best not named Manuel Neuer?

Gladbach's last line of defence isn't too shabby, either.

Yann Sommer ranked among the Bundesliga's best keepers last term, repelling a league-high 75.2 percent of shots on his goal whilst conceding 40 times in 34 games - third only to RB Leipzig's Peter Gulacsi (37) and Bayern's Manuel Neuer (32).

Yann Sommer remains one of the best goalkeepers in the Bundesliga and has kept six clean sheets in all competitions this season. - Lukas Schulze/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images

His two penalty saves from Sergio Ramos in one UEFA Nations League game against Spain, meanwhile, coupled with City's spot-kick troubles, give Gladbach a distinct psychological edge in a two-legged contest that could still go the distance.

The English Premier League leaders have missed more penalties than any other side in the division since the start of last season (seven), with Sergio Aguero, Ilkay Gündogan, Gabriel Jesus, Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling the guilty parties.

Aguero's 12-yard blunder at league rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the 2018/19 Champions League quarter-finals was particularly painful as City were eliminated on away goals.